Bladder Stones

What are Bladder Stones?

Bladder stones, or vesical calculi, are small, hard deposits that form in the bladder and can range from the size of a grain of sand to that of a golf ball. They are usually made of minerals like calcium, magnesium or ammonium. Bladder stones can cause severe pain, bleeding and an inability to urinate. The occurrence of bladder stones is closely linked to the presence of chronic bladder infections.

What Causes Bladder Stones?

The underlying cause of bladder stones is often a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or an obstruction of the urinary tract. Other potential causes can be long-term dehydration, food allergies, enlarged prostate, certain medications or dietary changes.

Symptoms of Bladder Stones

The major symptom of bladder stones is pain while urinating, as the stones rub against the bladder lining. Other symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent or difficult urination
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Sensation of incomplete bladder emptying

Diagnosis & Treatment of Bladder Stones

If you suspect you have bladder stones, you should visit your health care provider to be properly diagnosed and treated. Bladder stones are usually diagnosed with imaging techniques such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and an intravenous pyelogram. Treatment options for bladder stones include:

  • Medication to break down the stones
  • Ureteroscopy to remove the stones through the urinary tract
  • A diet rich in calcium while avoiding highly acidic foods
  • Surgery to remove the stones

Preventing Bladder Stones

You can help prevent bladder stones by drinking plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, as well as limiting your intake of highly acidic foods. You can also take certain medications and supplements, such as citric acid and vitamin B6, to help prevent the formation of the bladder stones.