About the disease
Bladder stones are buildups of minerals in the bladder, which develop if a person does not empty his/her bladder completely after they urinate. If there is urine left in the bladder after urination, it can become concentrated, especially if the urine is left in bladder for continuous periods of time. Concentrated urine turns into minerals, which then can become crystal-like substances, that is why they are called stones. According to Medical News Today, this condition mostly affects men who are over 50 years of age.
In most cases bladder stones dissolve and pass on their own if they are of little size. In some cases, however, they can stay on the wall of the bladder and cause unpleasant sensations. Stones that stay on the wall of the bladder can grow in size and in some cases need to be removed surgically to avoid complications.
A person feel pain because of bladder stones only if they irritate the bladder. In most cases, though, this condition is not painful. Pain can appear only during urination. Also, if bladder stones grow to big sizes, a person can urinate for longer periods of time. It can also take more time to start the urination. In severe cases, there can be blood in the urine, which is a medical emergency and need to be resolved as soon as possible. Also, in severe cases, when bladder stones are multiple and grow to big sizes, urine can become dark in size. There are many causes why bladder is not emptied fully, which can lead to accumulation of stones. The most common reasons are different infections, kidney stones, which can move down to the bladder, and also enlargement of the prostate.
- Pain in the bladder
- Pain during urination
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Discomfort during urination
- Urination lasts longer and can be intermittent
- Dark urine
- During a physical examination, a doctor palpates the abdominal area to see if the bladder is enlarged or if the area is painful. In men a doctor can check the prostate as well, as its enlargement can very often be the cause of bladder stones.
- A urinalysis is one of the most effective test for diagnosing bladder stones, as it can detect crystallized minerals, which form into the stones. It can also detect blood. In case bladder stones were caused by bacteria, signs of infection can be detected by this test as well.
- An ultrasound and other imaging tests are used to detect the bladder stones if they are present and also determine their size and amount.
- Transurethral resection is a minimally invasive surgery used to remove the bladder stones without making a direct open incision which precipitates the recovery time.
- Transurethral lithotripsy is a surgery, which uses shock waves to destroy the bladder stones and disseminate the crystallized minerals. In most cases either mechanical or light energy are used.