Bladder stones can make it impossible for men to urinate

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For three days, a 64-year-old man from California was experiencing pain in his left flank (between the ribs and the hip) and urinary retention, meaning he wasn’t able to completely empty his bladder.

He visited the emergency room, where doctors performed a CT scan of his pelvis and abdomen, as the case report published in The New England Journal of Medicine detailed.

They discovered a small stone that was obstructing his left ureter (the tube which carries urine from kidney to the bladder) and a much larger, egg-shaped stone in his bladder.

How big was the bladder stone? When doctors removed it, they discovered it measured 4.7 x 3.7 x 3.0 inches—the size of the doctor’s hand — and weighed nearly a kilogram. That’s more than 10 jumbo-sized chicken eggs at once!

Here’s what to know about bladder stones:

• Bladder stones, or the hard buildup of minerals like calcium or phosphate — develop when minerals in urine crystalize, which can occur if you’re unable to completely empty your bladder.

• If the stone irritates the wall of your bladder or blocks the flow of your urine, it could cause problems like abdominal pain, pain in your penis or testicles, burning while urinating, frequent urination, difficulty urinating, blood in your urine, or cloudy or dark urine, Mayo Clinic warns.

• Men are at higher risk of developing bladder stones than women are, and there are a few things that can further up your risk, too.

• For instance, having an enlarged prostate can obstruct your urine flow, preventing you from completely emptying your bladder.

• Bladder inflammation, like from urinary infections, may play a role, too.

• If you notice these symptoms, please see your doctor.

• Some bladder stones pass without treatment, but others require medication or surgery.

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