Phleboliths are masses, clots or growths that develop in the wall of a vein and are composed of calcium or lime. They are stationary and harmless but can indicate the presence of more dangerous conditions or diseases. Common in the pelvic area, phleboliths can also develop in the oesophagus, kidney, stomach and intestines. Most adults have phleboliths and are unaffected by them.
Urinary phleboliths have been found to be caused, most often, by injuries to vein walls that result from excessive pressure in the veins or other stresses placed on the vascular system.
Straining while defecating can also cause increased pressure within the veins and tubes of abdominal organs, which can also lead to the development of phleboliths. (See Ref. #4)
Lack of blood flow caused by liver disease can lead to phlebolith formation in the veins of the stomach, intestines and other organs located within the abdominal cavity.
Researchers of the congenital Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome have found that overstressed, or varicose veins, were linked to phlebolith formation and were often the result of thromboses, or past clotting of blood and lymph vessels.
Some experts speculate that a relation between diverticular disease of the colon and pelvic phleboliths exists. The two conditions have been linked, and researchers suggest both develop after prolonged consumption of a low-fibre diet. Such diets contain large amounts of processed foods, meats, refined sugar and white flour. Low-fibre diets result in low-bulk bowel movements, which are not as easily moved through the colon. As a result, extra stress and overwork of muscles lead to increased pressure in the tubes of the colon, which can lead to the development of phleboliths.
Phleboliths and More Serious Conditions
The presence of phleboliths can be a warning sign that more severe conditions, such as colorectal hemangiomas (benign tumours), are growing in the body of young patients. The masses can also indicate that a patient has stomach cancer or tumours of the gastrointestinal tract.