Painful urination, the urge to urinate frequently and distorted urine flow are some of the common symptoms of bladder stones.
What do you think will happen if the concentration of urine gets altered? Bladder stones! When certain minerals are present in more than normal amounts in the urine, the excess soon starts getting accumulated in the bladder (storage area of urine). Over time, it piles up and becomes hard, leading to formation of stones. Bladder stones are nothing but hardened mass of minerals that build up over a period of time. Usually, they are made up of calcium salts and can be large enough to have a diameter of more than an inch. Change in urine concentration is not the only reason behind occurrence of these hard deposits in the bladder. Prostate enlargement, damaged nerve that controls bladder muscles and recurring UTI infection resulting in bladder inflammation are some of the other causes of formation of bladder stones.
Bladder Stones Symptoms
- Pain While Urinating: Every visit to the toilet for urination can be a cause of discomfort, if stones have formed in the bladder. The time length of urination, which is nothing but the amount of time the urine flow lasts, can be quite a frustrating period for the person as one has to bear the pain until the urination stops.
- Interrupted Urine Flow: When stones are present in the bladder, urine flow does not appear streamlined. Although, bladder stones are not marked by completely obstructed urination, they cause poor urine flow. One has to strain to urinate and the urine flow is also not consistent as it starts and stops intermittently.
- Frequent Urination: A person with bladder stones is likely to pee frequently. The urge to urinate is high in bladder stone patients, which make them go to the washroom every now and then, although the amount of urine excreted is not significant.
- Change in Urine Color: Variation in urine color has also been commonly associated with bladder stones. The urine color may appear darker than usual.
- Incontinence: Involuntary urination is also considered to be one of the consequences of formation of bladder stones. In fact, incontinence has been strongly connected to bladder stones. Activities like coughing and sneezing can bring about involuntary urination. The stones may have damaged the bladder wall, making it difficult for the bladder to store urine for long. This leads to frequent uncontrollable urge to empty the bladder.
- Discomfort in the Penis: Males may complain about painful penis if stones are present in the bladder. In most cases, the pain is strongly felt in the head of the penis, but not always. Bladder stones can also result in pain that is more concentrated at the tip of the penis.
- Blood in Urine: Bladder stones can cause blood in urine that might be visible to the naked eye. This indicates that the blood has damaged the bladder wall to an extent that it starts bleeding.
A point that needs to be clarified is that the mere presence of stones does not predispose a person to symptoms that vary from abdominal discomfort to painful urination. Cases of bladder stones causing no impact on urinary pattern or any sort of pain have been reported in many patients. People have been doing their day-to-day routine comfortably for years despite presence of bladder stones. As long as the stones do not interfere with urine flow or bother the lining of bladder wall, symptoms are unlikely to occur.
Should bladder stones be removed even if they are not causing any trouble? The answer is ‘yes’ because they may trigger complications like poor functioning of the bladder or complete obstruction of urine flow in the long run. Increasing water consumption is often advised to dislodge the stones from the bladder. However, this home remedy usually doesn’t work and use of procedures that involve breaking the stones into very small fragments is often the first line of treatment. Stones that are big or tough to break may not respond to this treatment. In such cases, the doctor will access the bladder directly by making an incision to it and then using specific tools, the stone is taken out.