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Bladder stones, also called vesical calculus, or cystoliths, are caused by a buildup of minerals. They can occur if the bladder is not completely emptied after urination. Eventually, the leftover urine becomes concentrated and minerals within the liquid turn into crystals. Sometimes, these stones will be passed while they are still very small. Other times, bladder stones can get stuck to the wall of the bladder or ureter (a pipe running from the kidney to the bladder). If this happens, they gradually gather more mineral crystals, becoming larger over time.
Bladder stones can stay in the bladder for some time and do not always cause symptoms. They are often found when an X-ray is carried out for a different medical reason. Bigger bladder stones may need to be removed by healthcare professionals. Sometimes just one stone will develop, in other cases a group of stones might form. The stones vary in shape; some are almost spherical while others can be irregular shapes.