Bladder stones arise when the chemistry in “human wastewater” is no longer correct. The cause: What are bladder stones?
The metabolism creates numerous substances in the organism that are water-soluble and are excreted in the urine. However, this solubility has its limits. If it is exceeded, the substances precipitate as crystals and form urinary stones (concrements). A distinction is made between primary bladder stones, i.e., rocks formed directly in the bladder, and secondary bladder stones, which usually arise in the kidney or the urinary tract and are washed into the bladder. Jewels of the upper urinary tract, i.e., kidneys and ureters, have a different cause than primary bladder stones; you can find more information on our page about kidney stones.
Table of Contents
Causes And Risk Factors
How Do Bladder Stones Form?
“Bladder stones usually develop when the urinary bladder cannot be completely emptied, meaning that residual urine remains in the bladder,”. This residual urine keeps the urine in the bladder longer, and the salts can crystallize out. The cause of a bladder emptying disorder is, for example, an enlarged prostate, a narrowing of the urethra, a bulging of the bladder wall (diverticulum), or a narrowing of the bladder outlet. “In addition, residual urine can also be found to neurologically cause bladder dysfunction,” “for example, when patients have paraplegia, or multiple sclerosis are sick. Another cause of stone formation can be foreign objects in the bladder. These include, for example, catheters, surgical sutures, or implants. “Their surfaces become so-called crystallization nuclei that encourage the dissolved salts to precipitate,”
Repeated urinary tract infections can also contribute to the formation of bladder stones. The causative germs change the chemical environment in the urine through their metabolism and thus favor certain crystals and gravel with a typical composition.
Depending on the composition of the stone, there are differences in diagnosis and therapy. A distinction is made between the following types of rock:
- Calcium oxalate stones (most common type of stone, 70-75 percent)
- Struvite stones made from magnesium ammonium phosphate
- Calcium phosphate stones
- Uric acid stones
- Cystine stones and other rare types of stones
What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Stones?
Whether or not bladder stones cause discomfort depends on their location and size. “Bladder stones are particularly noticeable in that urination is difficult, and the bladder is irritated, the flow of urine is repeatedly interrupted, or cramp-like pain in the abdomen often occurs together with an increased urge to urinate,”. The latter are typically located in the area above the pubic bone and, in men, can extend into the tip of the penis. are usually diseases of the urinary tract
“Those affected can often only pass small amounts of urine and often have to urinate. The remaining urine then ensures that the urge to urinate again occurs after a short time.” Another symptom can be blood in the urine. Many people have no symptoms, namely when the stone is not an obstacle to drainage or irritation of the bladder wall. Then it is often found incidentally during an ultrasound examination.
How Are Bladder Stones Recognized?
First of all, medical history and a physical examination are carried out. If the doctor suspects that a patient has bladder stones, he will perform an ultrasound examination. “With their help, you can reliably identify the position and size of the stones,”.Urine and blood analyzes are also part of routine diagnostics. They provide information about any metabolic shifts or underlying diseases, such as urinary tract infections.
X-ray procedures are mainly used when the kidneys and the urinary tract are also to be examined. A cystoscopy can be helpful to take a candid look at the stones and, if necessary, plan the therapy. In addition, the urethra, prostate, and bladder wall can be assessed at the same time.
Stone analysis is also carried out after stones have spontaneously been removed or after stones have been surgically removed to determine the rock’s chemical composition. This enables the appropriate therapeutic measures and advice on the prevention of bladder stones to take place.
How Are Bladder Stones Treated?
“In the case of tiny stones with a smooth surface, the treatment initially consists of waiting and drinking tea,”. The latter applies in the truest sense of the word because patients should drink a lot, provided there are no other illnesses so that ideally, the stones are flushed out of the bladder. “Drugs such as alpha-receptor blockers can support this process through their muscle-relaxing effect on the bladder outlet or the prostate,”. In addition, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs alleviate any discomfort.
If an infection causes the stones with certain bacteria (struvite stones), antibiotics are also used to accompany the stone removal. If a uric acid stone has formed due to increased uric acid content, it is possible to dissolve it chemically with medication for ingestion (chemolitholysis).
However, these non-surgical measures for bladder stones are by no means consistently successful. “Therefore, the therapy usually consists of breaking up the stones with pliers, a laser or a mini jackhammer and sucking them off,”. This can be done either as part of a cystoscopy via the urethra, alternatively via a direct skin channel into the bladder, or – in the case of gigantic stones – by an open procedure.
“In any case, it is important that not only the stones themselves but also the causes of the stone formation – often a bladder emptying disorder – are eliminated,”. Otherwise, around every second person affected must expect to fall ill again.
How Can You Prevent The Occurrence Of Bladder Stones?
In general, bladder stones can best be prevented through adequate fluid intake (otherwise healthy people around two to three liters per day) and a balanced diet. Anyone who has a limited amount of fluids due to a chronic illness – such as kidney or heart disease – is best advised to discuss the optimal amount of fluids with their doctor.
So coffee, black tea, and alcohol should be consumed cautiously.
If calcium oxalate stones are responsible for the condition, a reduced oxalate intake is recommended. Oxalic acid is found, for example, in rhubarb, black tea, and spinach.
If it is a uric acid stone, the purine and protein intake should be reduced, which means reducing the consumption of meat and sausage products. Likewise, the risk of new formation can and should be avoided or reduced by taking long-term medication. In addition, a balanced diet, such as Mediterranean cuisine, and an adequate supply of magnesium and citrus fruits, and regular exercise help reduce the risk of stone formation.