Bladder stones also known as vesicles calculus, refers to deposition of minerals (or salts) in the bladder in the form of hard masses or stones. The pathogenesis of bladder stones generally revolves around incomplete evacuation of bladder that may lead to crystallization of minerals within the bladder cavity.
These accumulated minerals usually pass through the urinary tract successfully without causing any difficulty however; if they grow in size, they may get trapped in the bladder and causes infection and other negative complications.
Sometimes these stones continue to grow and results in the inflammation and complete blockage of urinary tract.
Symptoms of Bladder Stones:
The bladder stones are not always symptomatic especially if they are small in size; however, when these stones grow in size, they may irritate the wall of bladder and disturb the urinary flow, the patients experience following symptoms.
- Pain in lower abdomen.
- Cloudy or dark color urine.
- Blood in urine.
- Burning sensation or pain while passing urine.
- Pain in the testes or penis in males.
- Frequent urine with irregular flow.
As discussed, the bladder stones occur due to the incomplete emptying of the bladder, which results in crystal formation in the urine. There are certain disorders that results in the inability to empty the bladder completely. Sometimes certain infections can also cause the bladder stones.
Common causes include:
- Enlargement of prostate gland:
The enlargement of prostate gland obstructs the smooth flow of urine in men resulting in the incomplete emptying of bladder.
- Neurogenic bladder:
There are many diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson, stroke, injuries in spinal cord etc. that may damage or distort the working of nerves that controls the bladder function.
- Bladder inflammation:
Sometimes bladder gets inflamed due to urinary tract infection or a pelvic infection which also results in bladder stones.
- Catheter or other medical devices:
Certain medical devices like catheter, slender tubes etc. that are used to remove urine from bladder may also results in the development of bladder stone.
- Kidney stones:
The kidney stones are different from bladder stones but sometimes kidney stones that are smaller in size can pass from the urethras into the bladder. If not wipe out, they can grow into the bladder stones.
- Bladder diverticulitis:
Sometimes pouches develop inside the bladder that can further grow to a larger size. Urine detained in these pouches, stopping the bladder to drain completely.
Sometimes women bladder lining become weak and drop towards the vagina, obstructing the flow of urine from bladder
After physical examination, depending upon the person’s sign and symptoms following tests can be conducted.
- Urinalysis: to determine crystal, blood and bacteria in urine.
- CT scan.
- Intravenous pyelogram.
If bladder stones are small, they can easily be remove by large amounts of fluids intake. But if they become too large it is necessary to break them or remove these through the surgery.
It is the procedure through which bladder stones are broken into smaller pieces through laser and ultrasound and then increase the fluid intake to remove them through the urine naturally.
- Surgically remove:
If stones are unable to remove through cystolitholapaxy then surgery is required to remove the stones.
If bladder stones are not treated in time, following complications may occur:
- Urinary tract infection.
- Chronic bladder dysfunction.
The following risk factor increases the risk of developing bladder stones.
- Age and gender.
- Prostate enlargement.
- Bladder augmentation surgery.
The best way to prevent bladder stones is to drink plenty of water and other fluid and completely emptying your bladder while urinating.