The bladder is an organ which stores urine until the body is ready to urinate. The bladder is attached to the kidneys by ureters, thin like tubes, and also the urethra, the tube from the bladder out of the body. The bladder can hold about 500ml of fluid for about five hours. The detrusor muscle in the bladder relaxes to hold urine and contracts to push the urine out.
Bladder stones are stone-like lumps which can form inside the bladder which can disrupt the flow of urination, cause an infection and/or irritate the bladder wall. Symptoms of bladder stones include pain in the lower abdomen, a frequent or urgent need to urinate, pain when urinating and blood in the urine,
Bladder stones can be caused when an individual is unable to fully empty the bladder as the longer the urine sits in the bladder to more likely it is to crystallise and become hard lumps. Bladder stones affect about 6,000 individuals each year in the UK, with males over the age of 50 being the most likely to be affected (NHS, 2013). The most common treatment to remove bladder stones is a cystolitholapaxy.