What You Need to Know About Bladder Stones in Men
Bladder Stones in Men
Bladder stones are a cause of significant discomfort and inconvenience in men. They can also predispose to urine infections, pain in the pelvis and blood in urine.
Bladder stones are formed as a result of crystallization of filtered urinary salts typically in men or women who do not empty their bladder completely. Small kidney stones can travel to the bladder and grow in the bladder as ‘bladder stones’. According to a recent study, bladder stones account for about 5% of all the clinical cases of urinary stones in the industrialized nations. Bladder stones are much more common in developing countries.
Urinary bladder stones are not the same as gallbladder stones “gallstones”.
Bladder stones vary in size and shapes. Small bladder stones can gradually grow into larger stones if no intervention is sought. Smaller stones are usually discovered incidentally, but larger stones may present with urinary tract symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Bladder Stones in Men?
The primary underlying cause of bladder stone formation in men is the inability to completely empty the bladder. Residual urine in the bladder leads to precipitation of calcium or uric acid which predisposes to bladder stone formation.
Kidney stones may also travel to the bladder and take ‘residence in the bladder’.
Bladder Stones in Men with Enlarged Prostate
As many as 70% of men over the age of 60 develop BPH and symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate such as frequent urination at night, urinary urgency and incomplete bladder emptying.
Bladder stones can significantly aggravate the symptoms and quality of life of men suffering from BPH.
Depending on individual patient characteristics, a procedure to break bladder stones can be performed first and procedure to treat enlarged prostate in a few weeks. Sometimes it may be possible to do both procedures simultaneously.
Bladder Stones in Men with Diabetes
Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes increases the risk of developing bladder stones. According to the American Society of Nephrology, the pathophysiology revolves around high insulin levels and production of highly acidic urine, which leads to crystallization of uric acid salts.
Various research studies indicates that DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is helpful at reducing the risk of developing kidney stones by 40-45% in diabetics. In addition, limit the consumption of alcohol, sweets and salts in your diet. Bladder stones in diabetics are managed by conventional options such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, cystolithotripsy or open surgery.
Bladder Stones in Men with Penile Prosthesis
Men who develop bladder stones after penile prosthesis can safely undergo treatment for bladder stones with good outcomes. Most often, transurethral litholapaxy is performed.
For men who have bladder stones and who desire to have a penile prosthesis for treatment of erectile dysfunction, it is preferable to address bladder stones and enlarged prostate prior to treatment of erectile dysfunction with the penile prosthesis.
Males who are undergoing for procedures to address bladder stones should be given antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent prosthesis infection. Because of delayed side effects after prostate procedures, it is advisable to wait 2-3 months prior to having a penile prosthesis surgery.
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating men and women with urinary problems including large bladder stones, kidney stones, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, urinary urgency and blood in urine.