Bladder stones, not to be confused with kidney stones, are formed when minerals inside the bladder lump together and harden. This happens when the bladder doesn’t fully empty itself.
For many, bladder stones may be symptom-less. If small enough, they can easily be passed with urination. But in some cases, you may experience symptoms like pain, difficulty urinating, increased urination, and visual changes in your urine.
The good news is, bladder stones can be prevented through natural ways and home remedies. Diet, specifically, plays a large role in bladder stone development and prevention. Here are some tips and home remedies to help you ward off and treat bladder stones.
The primary cause of bladder stones is urine left in the bladder, but diet can play a role in the formation of bladder stones, too. This is because a poor diet can change the chemistry of your urine, thus increasing the risk of bladder stones. This is why consuming a healthy diet is so important to reduce your risk.
For starters, your diet should be low in fat and contain a variety of nutrient-rich foods. This means consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean sources of protein like poultry and fish.
Your diet should also be high in fiber, which can be obtained from whole grains and fruits and vegetables, too. Recommended daily fiber intake is two cups of fruit or two and a half cups of vegetables.
Lastly, you should consume plenty of water as it can help flush out your bladder. Dehydration and insufficient water intake, on the other hand, can increase your risk of bladder stones as well. The goal is to aim for at least eight glasses of water a day, but this can vary. A good method to determine how much water you need is to drink one quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight. For example, if you weight 150 pounds you will need three quarts or two liters.
To prevent bladder stones, consult with your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing, like those resulting from an enlarged prostate, for example. Drink plenty of fluids and implement the diet tips listed above.
Bladder stones should be removed if they cannot be easily passed through urination. This is because they can lead to complications, such as blockages and further infection. A common procedure to break bladder stones apart is known as cystolitholapaxy, where a small tube with a camera at the end is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to observe the stone. Once located, your doctor uses ultrasound or mechanical devices to break apart the stone into smaller pieces, which can be flushed out.
When bladder stones are too large to break, open surgery is required, which involves making an incision in the bladder to get the stones out.