Bladder stones simply put are stones inside the urinary bladder. They are also called vesical calculus. Like other stones in the urinary tract, bladder stones are composed of minerals excreted in the urine. They most commonly form when the bladder is not able to completely empty and some residual urine remains behind. Over time this urine gets concentrated which can also happen in periods of dehydration. As a result of urine concentration, the minerals get deposited which in turn form a nidus for stone formation. Over time these mineral deposits increase in size to form large stones.
Most of the times bladder stones are silent i.e. they do not cause any trouble. They are incidentally discovered on getting an ultrasound or an X-ray for some other problems. But at times they can cause problems such as:
In most cases, bladder stones are, to begin with, small kidney stones. These stones pass from the kidney through ureters and enter the bladder. When such stones are unable to come out from the urine passage they grow in size over time due to further mineral deposits around the stone. In other cases whenever there is an obstruction to the outflow of urine from the bladder there is some amount of residual urine in the bladder at all times. This urine tends to get infected and also there is a concentration of urine leading to deposition of mineral crystals which form stones. The causes of outflow obstruction/incomplete emptying of the bladder are many such as;
Your treating urologist after listening to your symptoms and physical examination may suspect the presence of bladder stones and may order a few tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Once diagnosed the bladder stones can be dealt with endoscopically or by open surgical methods.
Bladder stones are caused by a myriad of medical conditions. But some general precautions should be followed to prevent the formation or recurrence of bladder stones such as;