Bladder stones, often termed as vesical calculus, are the result of crystallised minerals in the bladder due to stagnant urine. While they often pass when small, they can adhere to the bladder or ureter, grow, and result in considerable discomfort and urination issues.

Why Do Bladder Stones Occur?

  1. Incomplete Urination: Often, bladder stones begin forming when urine doesn't fully evacuate from the bladder. Over time, leftover urine can cause minerals to crystallise into stones.
  2. Dietary Choices: Consuming stone-inducing foods like asparagus, specific leafy greens, and offal can increase risk.
  3. Hydration: Insufficient water intake might contribute.
  4. Recurring UTIs: Chronic inflammation of the urinary tract can trigger stone formation.
  5. Gender Factor: Men are more prone due to their longer urinary tract, allowing for sediment retention.

Recognizing Symptoms of Bladder Stones

  • Urinary Discrepancies: This includes symptoms akin to cystitis such as frequent urination, painful urination, or blood in the urine.
  • Urination Difficulties: Issues include struggling to urinate or experiencing a disrupted urine flow.
  • Visible Signs: Presence of small stone-like particles in urine.
  • UTI Indication: Stone scrapes against the bladder or urethra may cause infections leading to fever.

Detecting Procedures for Bladder Stones

Medical professionals will initially undertake a physical examination and evaluate medical history. This might involve inspecting the lower urinary tract, undergoing urine tests, and having abdominal x-rays. An ultrasound and cystoscopy might also be advised.

Bladder Stone Treatment Options

Bladder stone treatments are mainly classified into two categories:

Bladder Stone Removal:

  • Hydration: In the case of very small stones, the doctor may start by having the patient drink plenty of water, so stones can be passed naturally.
  • Cystolitholapaxy: Using a cystoscope to fragment the stones and subsequently extract them.
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): Leveraging sound waves to break down kidney stones to minuscule fragments.
  • Surgical Intervention: Essential for specific stones like jackstone calculi or abnormally large ones that are non-extractable through conventional methods.

Treating the cause of the stones

this is necessary, as removal of the stones without correcting the root cause may result in a recurrence.
For example:

  • If the stones are caused by leftover urine in the bladder, the doctor must first determine the cause, and treat both the stones and cause of the leftover urine simultaneously.
  • If the stones are caused by a defective bladder function, such as bladder muscles not contracting properly, the patient may require the use of a catheter to help with urination.

Self-Care for Patients

  • Hydration: Prioritise drinking ample fluids, primarily water. Consultation regarding daily intake is advisable.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Limiting foods known to cause stones is recommended.
  • Adherence: Strictly adhere to guidelines if self-catheterising.
  • Regular Check-ups: Typically, doctors suggest revisits every 3-6 months for monitoring.