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Alternative Names Return to topStones - bladder; Urinary tract stones; Bladder calculi
Definition Return to top
Bladder stones are hard buildups of minerals that form in the urinary bladder.
Causes Return to top
Bladder stones are usually the result of another urologic problem, such as:
Approximately 95% of 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 and materials crystallize. Symptoms occur when the stone irritates the lining of the bladder or obstructs the flow of urine from the bladder.
Symptoms Return to top
Incontinence may also be associated with bladder stones.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Treatment Return to top
Drinking 6 - 8 glasses of water or more per day to increase urinary output may help the stones pass.
Your health care provider may remove stones that do not pass on their own using a cystoscope (a small tube that passes through the urethra to the bladder). Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses ultrasonic waves to break up stones.
Some stones may need to be removed using open surgery.
Medications are rarely used to dissolve the stones.
Causes of bladder stones should be treated. Most commonly bladder stones are seen with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or bladder outlet obstruction.
For patients with BPH and bladder stones, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) can be performed with ESWL.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most bladder stones are expelled or can be removed without permanent damage to the bladder. They may come back if the cause is not corrected.
If the stones are left untreated, they may cause repeated urinary tract infections or permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of bladder stones.
Prevention Return to top
Prompt treatment of urinary tract infections or other urologic conditions may help prevent bladder stones.
References Return to top
Ho K-LV, Segura JW. Lower urinary tract calculi. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 84.Update Date: 5/22/2008 Updated by: Scott M. Gilbert, MD, Department of Urology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.