Bladder Stones in Men and Women: Treatment by Experienced Urologist in NYC
At New York Urology Specialists, our experienced and highly trained urologists have extensive experience in the treatment of bladder stones in men and women. We use minimally invasive treatment approaches when feasible. We use sophisticated lasers to treat bladder stones.
What are Bladder Stones / Bladder Calculi?
Bladder calculus is another word for a bladder stone. Stones can form in the urinary bladder; kidney stones can also travel to the bladder and sometimes ‘obtain full-time residence” in the urinary bladder and grow to a larger size over time. Bladder stones are more common in men than in women, but can rarely occur even in children. Bladder stones can cause many unpleasant symptoms.
Bladder stones are more common in patients who have an underlying problem with adequate bladder emptying. This includes men with enlarged prostate. This can also include men and women with neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and bedbound patients who have indwelling urinary Foley catheters. Patients with frequent UTI are also predisposed to bladder stone formation.
Symptoms of Bladder Stones
Often, bladder stones may not cause any noticeable symptoms for a long time. When they cause symptoms, bladder stones can cause blood in urine to appear. Bladder stones can also cause bladder infections or UTI. Sometimes they cause frequent urination or urinary retention, which means the inability to urinate. Urination may be painful in people with bladder stones.
How are Bladder Stones Diagnosed?
Bladder stones can be diagnosed using ultrasound of the bladder which can be performed at the offices of New York Urology Specialists. Bladder stones are sometimes found on a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis. Bladder stones can also be diagnosed during cystoscopy, an office procedure where a urologist looks inside the urethra and the bladder with a camera.
We recommend removal of bladder stones if they are found. Typically this can be done as an outpatient one-day surgical procedure.
What are the Causes of Bladder Stones?
Bladder stones either form in the bladder due to an underlying problem with urine (high concentration of calcium) or incomplete bladder emptying. Some bladder stones can form in the kidneys as kidney stones. They ‘take residence’ in the urinary bladder after migrating from the kidneys.
Some bladder stones are actually kidney stones that migrated into the urinary bladder, stayed and grew in the bladder. Most kidney stones that are small enough to pass from the kidney to the bladder are small enough for you to pass them in your urine, sometimes without knowing it.
Patients who had bladder surgery, including bladder augmentation and neobladder, are at high risk of developing bladder stones.
Most bladder stones are formed as a result of an underlying bladder problem such as incomplete bladder emptying. Bladder stones can also form after bladder surgery or can be associated with urinary catheters and rarely with bladder cancer.
In women, cystocele and pelvic organ prolapse causing obstruction of the urethra also lead to bladder stone formation.
Occasionally, foreign bodies from prior surgery or inserted by the patient in the urethra or bladder may lead to bladder stone formation. Most commonly this happens after vaginal or bladder surgery, occasionally involving mesh.
Treatment Options for Bladder Stones Offered at New York Urology Specialists:
- Transurethral minimally invasive lithotripsy of bladder stones.
- Holmium laser litholapaxy of bladder stones.
- Percutaneous cystoscopy, lithotripsy of bladder stones
- Open suprapubic cystolithotomy.
- Shockwave lithotripsy of bladder stones
- Lithotripsy of bladder stones with Dual Swiss Lithoclast
Experienced urologists at New York Urology Specialists use advanced surgical techniques to break bladder stones and to remove them from the bladder using minimally invasive and safest approaches including endourological techniques. We used holmium laser, which allows precise litholapaxy of bladder stones. This procedure is safe for women, men as well as children.
How to Prevent Bladder Stones?
Prompt attention to medical conditions that predispose to kidney stones is the best way of preventing kidney stones and to detecting them early. Small stones are easier to treat with fewer risks of side-effects.
Risk Factors for Bladder Stones
The causes of bladder stone formation are dehydration, bone resorption in bed-bound patients, urinary obstruction and incomplete emptying of the bladder. Clinical statistics indicate that men over 50 years of age are at highest risk of developing bladder stones, but virtually any person can develop bladder stones. Important risk factors for bladder stone formation include:
The normal communication between brain and bladder that is required for normal bladder function may be altered due to trauma, stroke or spinal cord damage; thereby leading to urinary retention.
Bladder wall inflammation
Chronic bladder infections, prolonged Foley catheter use or history of pelvic radiation can cause inflammation of bladder wall. This can lead to stone formation.
When a patient is unable to urinate, urinary catheters are used to drain the urine from the bladder.
When catheters are used for a prolonged period of time, they can lead to stone formation.
Ureteral stents that are left for prolonged periods of time can also cause stone formation “encrustation” on the part of the stent that sits in the bladder.
Bladder Stones in Women
Generally, bladder stones are rare in females. In women with multiple sclerosis, bladder stones are common due to neurogenic bladder and catheter use.
Bladder stones can occur in women with incomplete bladder emptying, most often caused by pelvic organ prolapse and cystocele.
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board-certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating men and women with urinary problems including frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, urinary urgency and incontinence.