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What Is Bladder Calculi?

An x-ray may be used to help diagnose bladder calculi.
A urinalysis is often used to look for bladder calculi.
The human urinary tract, including the bladder in pink at the bottom.
Stomach pain that worsens when urinating might be caused by bladder calculi.
A cutaway of a female body, showing the bladder in dark pink.
Article Details
  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Bladder calculi are also known as bladder stones. The condition happens when urine becomes concentrated and minerals develop within the urinary bladder. Bladder calculi are typically small in size, but some can grow rather large. In fact, some individuals with stones in the bladder remain unaware until symptoms develop or the stones grow large. Generally, this condition can impact a person of any age.

The reasons for the mineral buildup can be various. Often, stones are formed due to bladder diverticula. This condition refers to abnormal pouches or masses in the bladder. Sometimes, the pouches form due to weakness in certain parts of the organ. Repeated urinary tract infections can cause the condition as well.

Commonly, men get this condition as a result of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Men with benign prostatic hyperplasia have an enlarged prostate that is noncancerous and a normal part of aging. Although a normal amount of prostate growth can be natural, it can cause problems such as bladder calculi.

A bladder outlet obstruction can be another common cause of this health concern. With this type of obstruction, there is something hindering urine from flowing normally through the urethra. The blockage can cause the formation of bladder stones and sometimes urine backflow. Some people with stones in the bladder have a neurogenic bladder. This condition occurs when the nerves that send signals between the bladder and brain become damaged.

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An individual with bladder calculi may have very dark or blood-stained urine. Some people may urinate more frequently than usual and experience a sudden urge to go, even when no urine is released. Often, it can be difficult to entirely empty the bladder. Additionally, urine flow may be interrupted with frequent periods of stopping.

Bladder calculi can also cause lower stomach pain that may become more pronounced when urinating. At times, individuals with this condition may have a hard time controlling urine flow. As a result, he or she may experience urinary incontinence. Men with this condition may have pain in their penis. Although, these symptoms are possible, many people with bladder stones have no symptoms.

Doctors may diagnose stones or calculi in the bladder by performing a cystoscopy, which can show the location and number of bladder stones present. This test entails using a tube, known as a cystoscope, with a camera at the end. The cystoscope is advanced into the bladder so an examination may be done on the organ. Accompanying tests may include an X-ray, a urinalysis and a pelvic ultrasound.

Treatment for bladder calculi may depend on the size of the stones. Very small stones may pass on their own after a while. Larger stones will generally need treatment. Doctors may perform a procedure to break larger than average stones apart. In addition, an open surgery may be obligatory to remove an extremely large stone.

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