Bladder stones information: causes, diagnosis, treatments and more

Bladder stones The urinary bladder is a part of the body that stores urine and contracts to pass it out when required. However, it can get affected by certain disease pathologies and one such condition is bladder stones. In this article, we shall take a close look at this condition.

What are bladder stones?

Bladder stones are a clinical condition in which small stones of different sizes may be formed within the urinary bladder. These stones can cause a small amount discomfort of the patient and can also obstruct the flow of urine out of the bladder.

What causes bladder stones?

The most common cause of bladder stones is the inability of patients to completely empty the bladder when they pass urine. If one were to look at the normal physiology, the blood is filtered by the kidneys to produce urine which then passes through small tubes into the urinary bladder where it is stored. When patients wish to pass urine, the bladder contracts and urine is passed through the urethra. However, in certain conditions, there is incomplete emptying of bladder. The presence of urine within the bladder results in the formation of small crystals and clumps of chemicals which can eventually form stones.

In men, the most common cause is an enlarged prostate gland. Enlarged prostate gland can result in incomplete bladder emptying. Another condition that can cause bladder stones is in neurogenic bladder. In neurogenic bladder is one where the nerve fibers that control the contraction and relaxation of the bladder are not functioning properly. Neurogenic bladders can be seen in conditions such as spinal cord injury and motor neuron disease.

Other conditions that can cause bladder stones include diverticulae within the bladder (the formation of a small pouch within the wall of the bladder) and cystocoele (a condition in women where the bladder prolapses towards the vagina).

Clinical features

Most patients with bladder stones do not have any symptoms. However, in those who do, symptoms can include lower abdominal pain, difficulty passing urine, cloudy urine on the presence of blood and urine. The presence of any of the symptoms warrants clinical investigation and treatment.

Diagnosing bladder stones

The diagnosis of bladder stones is usually made through a simple ultrasound scan the bladder.

Treatment

In the event that the patient only has small bladder stones, treatment options are conservative and primarily include attempts at flushing out the bladder completely. This can be done by consuming large quantities of water every day. However, in those patients who have larger stones, surgical treatment options may need to be considered.

Surgical treatments

Surgical treatment includes shattering the stones using ultrasound waves. The surgical approaches can vary and can be performed either through the urethra, through the anterior abdominal wall or through a large incision made in front of the bladder. Most patients recover fairly well but it must be borne in mind that surgery places the patient at risk of developing urinary infections which may require antibiotic treatment.

Conclusion

Bladder stones are well recognized clinical condition that can occur due to a number of different factors. Treatment options begin with conservative measures but often patients to require some form of surgery.


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