Bladder stones generally begin when your bladder doesn't empty completely. The urine that's left in your bladder can form crystals that eventually become bladder stones. In most cases, an underlying condition affects your bladder's ability to empty completely.

The most common conditions that cause bladder stones include:

  • Prostate gland enlargement. An enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can cause bladder stones in men. As the prostate enlarges, it can compress the urethra and interrupt urine flow, causing urine to remain in your bladder.
  • Damaged nerves (neurogenic bladder). Normally, nerves carry messages from your brain to your bladder muscles, directing your bladder muscles to tighten or release. If these nerves are damaged — from a stroke, spinal cord injury or other health problem — your bladder may not empty completely.

Other conditions that can cause bladder stones include:

  • Inflammation. Bladder stones can develop if your bladder becomes inflamed. Urinary tract infections and radiation therapy to your pelvic area can both cause bladder inflammation.
  • Medical devices. Occasionally, bladder catheters — slender tubes inserted through the urethra to help urine drain from your bladder — can cause bladder stones. So can objects that accidentally migrate to your bladder, such as a contraceptive device or stent. Mineral crystals, which later become stones, tend to form on the surface of these devices.
  • Kidney stones. Stones that form in your kidneys are not the same as bladder stones. They develop in different ways and often for different reasons. But small kidney stones occasionally travel down the ureters into your bladder and, if not expelled, can grow into bladder stones.
Aug. 14, 2013

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