Bladder stones

Bladder stones are hard lumps of mineral that can form in the bladder usually when it does not empty properly. When urine stagnates in the bladder chemicals (these naturally occur in urine) can react with each other to form crystals which can gather together and then become bladder stones. Some people will be able to pass the stones without any problems if the stones are small. Unfortunately, many people will experience symptoms with bladder stones, which are mainly caused by a combination of the urine flow being blocked and the bladder wall becoming irritated.

Although anyone can develop a bladder stone, it is most common in men over the age of 50. These stones can be linked to an enlarged prostate which can press on the urethra and therefore stop the bladder emptying completely. Sometimes they can be formed of pure uric acids. It is very rare that children will develop bladder stones.

Common symptoms associated with bladder stones include:

  • Severe pain in the lower abdominal area
  • For men pain in or around the penis
  • Blood in urine (haematuria)
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating
  • Urinating more frequently


Bladder stones will usually be removed by endoscopic surgery, this procedure is called a cystolitholapaxy. A telescope is passe d into the bladder with a camera on the end which is used to locate the stones. The stones will then either be crushed, lasered or have ultrasound waves directed at them to break them up before they are removed through the telescope.

People who have had a bladder stone before are likely to have them a second time.

Here are some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk:

  • Drink 2-3 litres of fluid daily to lower the chemical concentration in your urine
  • Do not delay emptying your bladder
  • Wait a while after your first attempt of urinating and try again to ensure that the bladder is completely empty (this is called double voiding)
  • Avoid having a high fat, sugar or salt diet, as this can alter the chemical makeup in your urine
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