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Bladder Stones

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is a bladder stone?

A bladder stone is a hard substance in your bladder. Bladder stones may form in your bladder, or they may first form in your kidney and then travel to your bladder. Bladder stones are made up of minerals such as calcium, uric acid, oxalate, and phosphate. You may have one or more bladder stone.

What causes bladder stones?

Bladder stones can form if you are not emptying your bladder completely. Bladder stones may be caused by any of the following:

  • Prostate gland enlargement, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or previous prostate surgery in men
  • Pelvic organ prolapse in women
  • Narrowing of the urethra
  • Neurogenic bladder (decreased bladder control caused by nerve damage)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Having an indwelling urinary catheter (thin, flexible tube inserted into the bladder and left in place to drain urine)
  • Past surgery of the urinary tract

What are the signs and symptoms of bladder stones?

You may not have any symptoms, or you may have any of the following:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain during urination
  • Trouble urinating, a weak urine stream, or a urine stream that stops and starts again
  • Urinating more often than usual, or a sudden strong urge to urinate
  • Pain or discomfort in the penis in men

How are bladder stones diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. You may need any of the following:

  • Urine tests may show if you have blood, bacteria, or minerals in your urine.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, or CT may show the bladder stones. You may be given IV contrast liquid to help the stones show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid, iodine, seafood, or shellfish.
  • Cystoscopy is a procedure used to look inside the bladder. Your healthcare provider will insert a thin, lighted tube through your urethra (where urine passes out of your body).

How are bladder stones treated?

Treatment depends on the size of stones you have, and the cause of your bladder stones. Small stones may pass on their own. You may need treatment for any conditions that caused your bladder stones to form. You may also need any of the following:

  • Drink plenty of liquids. Your healthcare provider may tell you to drink up to 8 (eight-ounce) cups of liquids each day. This helps flush out the stones when you urinate. It may also help prevent bladder stones from forming again. Water is the best liquid to drink.
  • Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses energy to break up your bladder stones. The stone pieces are flushed out of your body through your urine.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove large stones that cannot be broken apart with lithotripsy.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe pain that does not get better with medicine.
  • You are vomiting.
  • You have a fever.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not get better, or they get worse.
  • You have trouble urinating.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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