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Bladder stones

Stones - bladder; Urinary tract stones; Bladder calculi

Bladder stones are hard buildups of minerals. These form in the urinary bladder.

Causes

Bladder stones are most often caused by another urinary system problem, such as:

Almost all bladder stones occur in men. Bladder stones are much less common than kidney stones.

Bladder stones may occur when urine in the bladder is concentrated. Materials in the urine form crystals. These may also result from foreign objects in the bladder.

Symptoms

Symptoms occur when the stone irritates the lining of the bladder. The stones may also block the flow of urine from the bladder.

Symptoms can include:

Loss of urine control may also occur with bladder stones.

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This will also include a rectal exam. The exam may reveal an enlarged prostate in men or other problems.

The following tests may be done:

Treatment

You may be able to help small stones pass on their own. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water or more per day will increase urination.

Your provider may remove stones that do not pass using a cystoscope. A small telescope will be passed through the urethra into the bladder. A laser or other device will be used to break up the stones and the pieces will be removed. Some stones may need to be removed using open surgery.

Drugs are rarely used to dissolve the stones.

Causes of bladder stones should be treated. Most commonly, bladder stones are seen with BPH or blockage at the base of the bladder. You may need surgery to remove the inside part of the prostate or to repair the bladder.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most bladder stones pass on their own or can be removed. They do not cause permanent damage to the bladder. They may come back if the cause is not corrected.

Left untreated, stones may cause repeated UTIs. This can also cause permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have symptoms of bladder stones.

Prevention

Prompt treatment of a UTI or other urinary tract conditions may help prevent bladder stones.

References

Ganpule AP, Desai MR. Lower urinary tract calculi. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 95.

Germann CA, Holmes JA. Selected urologic disorders. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 89.

Review Date: 4/26/2020

Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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