Bladder stones are formed when mineral deposits in the bladder clump together and eventually harden. These build-ups occur when the bladder doesn’t empty properly.
For the majority of people, bladder stones don’t cause much, if any, issue, and are in fact symptomless. This is because bladder stones are often small enough to be easily passed during urination. However, in rare cases bladder stones can cause problems such as difficulty passing urine, pain, increasing urination or changes in the appearance of your urine.
Thankfully, the occurrence of bladder stones can be prevented simply by making some simple changes to your diet. Although diet is not the primary physical cause of the condition, it does play a large role, as the chemistry of your urine is dictated by the food and drink you ingest. If you suffer from bladder stones, it is important to consume a healthy diet to reduce the risk of their formation.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a healthy diet can be beneficial for a number of reasons, and you should consider making long-term dietary changes for your overall well being, not just as a reactionary or preventative measure to combat an existing condition.
For bladder stones, your diet should be low in fat and high in fiber, and should combine a variety of foods rich in nutrients and minerals. This means eating a lot of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, low fat dairy products and ‘lean’ protein sources like fish, poultry or eggs.
The recommended fiber intake for an American adult is two cups of fruit, or two and a half cups of vegetables a day.
Water not only flushes out the bladder, it also assists in preventing the occurrence of bladder stones.
It should come as no surprise, then, that physicians recommend consuming large amounts of water.
Dehydration actually increases the risk of bladder stones, so it’s good practice to get into the habit of drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, dependent on your body weight. The best way to determine how much water you need to drink is to consider how much you weigh. You should aim to drink one quart of water per 50 pounds of body weight. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds would be advised to drink three quarts (two liters) of water.
On top of a generally healthy, low fat/high fiber diet, there are also a number of specific foodstuffs you can add to your diet which can be used as “natural remedies” to combat bladder stones. Most of these are widely available in your local grocery store.
Eating small handfuls of watermelon seeds throughout the course of the day will eliminate bladder stones, as the kernels contained function to break them down within the bladder.
Small kernels contained within barley water work in the same way as watermelon seeds, and the additional liquid will help to flush the bladder.
The acidic qualities of apple juice can help to break down sediment present in the bladder – just remember to choose an all-natural, sugar free product, as some fruit juice drinks can contain additional sugars and additives which can contribute to the formation of bladder stones.
Pineapple juice is nutrient and antioxidant rich, which helps to flush toxins out of your system. Combining pineapple juice with rose water helps to take the tang from the juice and provides additional hydration, and the addition of orange juice (or any other citrus juice) to the mixture creates an enjoyable drink filled with vitamins and perfect for preventing bladder stones.
Yes, there are treatments and if bladder stones are too large to be passed via urination, they may need to be surgically removed in order to prevent any further complications, such as infection or blockages. The most common procedure used to break bladder stones is called a cystolitholaplaxy. This involves the insertion of an incredibly small tube with a camera attached through the urethra and into the bladder.
Once the stone has been located, the surgeon will use ultrasound to break the stone into smaller, more manageable pieces. It can then be flushed out or passed naturally during urination.