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A man entered the hospital for excruciating pain and left feeling a bit lighter.
Following the inability to relieve his bladder for three days and experiencing the associated horrifying pain, a 64-year-old California man had to go to the emergency room. Doctors discovered that he had two bladder stones, which are typically small and sometimes will pass naturally.
In this case, however, one of the stones was much, much bigger, as The New England Journal of Medicine explained: “A 64-year-old man presented to the emergency department with a three-day history of pain in the left flank and urinary retention.”
After running X-rays on the man, they discovered that one stone was small and one was rather large. The smaller stone was relatively easy to remove with a laser, but the large stone required surgery.
The bladder stone was a massive 1.7 pounds and measured 4.7 x 3.7 x 3.0 inches. A bladder stone is a hard mass of minerals that develops when the minerals crystallize in concentrated urine, in this case, it was 80% calcium phosphate and 20% struvite. The stones obstruct the bladder, making it difficult to completely empty it.
Many of those weighing in on The Daily Mail’s Facebook post about the bladder stone were stunned, with comments such as: “I’m speechless,” “Ouch!,” “Holy cow,” and “OMG, poor man.”
Another commenter was in total disbelief, writing: “And no one has suspected that he even had bladder stone that big. Never had problem unrinating or experiencing pain. That’s as absurd as a woman giving birth without knowing she was pregnant.”
This commenter wondered, “how did the medical profession not detect this?”
One person shared their own experience, comparing the typical sized stone they had to this man’s massive stone: “I’ve had one that was the size of a pellet and it was miserable. I couldn’t imagine the pain this man suffered.”
And this person thought that maybe keeping the stone as a trophy would be in order: “I would want to keep it…,” while another believed it could be useful, noting, “Makes a good doorstop.”
This commenter, as did many others, wondered, “Can you imagine trying to pass that stone?”
Among those who left comments on the I f**king love science Facebook post about the stone was one person who shared their own painful experience: “My dad and i have a genetic disorder and he had a stone the size of a egg. I on the other hand am waiting on surgery to get 5 small removed. Worst pain in the world.”
Another discussed seeing a stone that big in a dog, explaining: “My work (vet clinic) removed a stone of similar size from an English Springer Spaniel. It was so big in him it was distorting his abdomen when he lay on his side.”
This commenter had some helpful information about prevention, writing: “Potassium citrate and magnesium citrate will help prevent stones. Lemon juice is a citrate and will help also. You can prevent stones; it should be easy for someone to understand. Calcium and sodium bind together and form stones, citrates help break down or prevent this.”
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