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Bladder Calculi

Bladder Calculi Causes

Bladder calculi develop when urine sits or stagnates in the bladder for an extended period of time, which may, in turn, be caused by an underlying condition that affects the bladder's ability to excrete urine. Some of the conditions associated with bladder calculi formation are: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); neurogenic bladder; and bladder diverticula. In addition, inflammation due to an infection and medical devices inserted through the urethra are also believed to cause bladder calculi.

Bladder Calculi Definition

Bladder calculi are small masses of minerals that form in the bladder, usually as a result of concentrated urine sitting in the bladder for extended periods. Bladder calculi are also known as bladder stones.

Bladder Calculi Diagnosis

A physical exam is an initial diagnostic step to determine the presence of bladder calculi. Other tests to confirm the diagnosis include: urinalysis, cystoscopy, x-ray, intravenous pyelogram, ultrasound, and computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Bladder Calculi Symptoms and Signs

Some patients with bladder calculi do not show any signs or symptoms. The condition becomes symptomatic when the calculi irritates the bladder wall or obstructs urine flow from the bladder. In such cases, the following symptoms may be observed: pain in the lower abdomen; pain or discomfort in the penis; pain during urination; difficulty urinating; frequent urination; uncontrollable urine flow or incontinence; blood excreted in the urine; and abnormally dark urine.

Bladder Calculi Treatment

To treat bladder calculi, the stones must be removed. If the calculi are relatively small, an increased amount of water intake may help the stones pass. If the calculi are large, surgical removal may be done through a procedure called cystolitholapaxy, wherein a laser is used to break the calculi into small fragments and flush them from the bladder. If the calculi are particularly large and resistant to cystolitholapaxy, surgeons may need to remove the stones via open surgery, wherein the surgeon makes an incision in the bladder and removes the stones directly.

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