Bladder stones, also known as vesical calculi, are hard mineral deposits that form in the bladder. They typically develop when minerals in the urine crystallise and clump together over time, forming solid masses. Bladder stones can vary in size and composition, ranging from small, gravel-like particles to larger, golf ball-sized stones. These stones can cause significant discomfort and disrupt the normal functioning of the urinary system.
Bladder stones can be classified into different types based on their composition. The most common types include:
These stones are primarily composed of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. They often form due to excessive calcium levels in the urine or a diet rich in oxalate-containing foods.
Uric acid stones result from increased levels of uric acid in the urine. Individuals with conditions like gout or those who consume a diet high in purines are at an increased risk.
Struvite stones are typically caused by urinary tract infections (UTIs) and are composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate. These stones can grow rapidly and may require prompt medical intervention.
Cystine stones are relatively rare and occur due to a genetic disorder that causes an excess of cystine in the urine.
The symptoms of bladder stones can vary depending on the location and size of the stone. Some common symptoms include:
Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvic region.
Difficulty or pain during urination.
Frequent urination or an urgent need to urinate.
Blood in the urine (hematuria).
Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
Inability to completely empty the bladder.
Lower back paіn.
Bladdеr stonеs can cause damagе to thе bladder or kіdneys, urinary tract infections, urinary tract blockages, and other complications іf thеy are not treatеd.
Many factors can increase the risk of developing bladder stones, including:
Gender: Due to anatomical variations іn thе urinary system, mеn arе gеnеrally more susceptiblе to bladder stonеs than womеn.
Age: Older adults, especially those above 50, have a higher risk of bladder stones.
Diet: Eatіng a dіet high in salt, anіmal protеіn, or foods high in oxalate (lіkе spіnach, rhubarb, and chocolatе) can causе thе formation of stones.
Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake can result in concentrated urine, which promotes stone formation.
Urinary tract abnormalities: Structural abnormalities or obstructions in the urinary tract can increase the likelihood of stone formation.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Certain bacteria can promote the formation of struvite stones in individuals with recurring UTIs.
Underlying medical conditions: Conditions like gout, hyperparathyroidism, and certain metabolic disorders can predispose individuals to bladder stone formation.
Bladder stones can develop due to various causes:
While bladder stones can be distressing, several preventive measures can help reduce the risk of their formation:
When it comes to treating bladder stones, a personalised approach is essential. Treatment options may vary based on the size, composition, and location of the stones. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following:
Your healthcare provider will assess your individual situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment option based on the specific characteristics of your bladder stones.
At CritiCare Asia Hospitals, we offer a range of procedures to effectively treat bladder stones:
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) utilises high-energy shock waves to break down bladder stones into smaller fragments that can pass through the urinary tract naturally.
This minimally invasive procedure involves the insertion of a cystoscope through the urethra into the bladder to crush and remove stones. It allows for faster recovery and minimal scarring.
For larger or more complex stones, open surgery or minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic or robotic-assisted) may be necessary. These procedures provide direct access to the bladder for stone removal.
Our skilled urologists and medical team will assess your condition and advise the most suitable procedure based on factors such as stone size, composition, and overall health.