Radiation Cystitis – radiation injury to the bladder

Occasionally radiation treatment of bowel, prostate or uterine cancers can cause latent injury to the bladder wall resulting in bleeding.

Soft tissue radiation injury of the bladder is effectively treated with hyperbaric oxygen.

If you have had radiation treatment in the past and are now unfortunately suffering from cystitis because of it then we might be able to help you.

Radiation side effects are generally divided into two categories – those that happen during or just after the treatment, called acute reactions; and those that happen months or even
years after the treatment, called chronic complications.

These more chronic complications are usually caused by the interruption of nutrients (specifically oxygen) passing through blood vessel walls in the affected area. This is caused by a process of hardening of these vessel walls as a secondary effect of the radiation.

This vessel wall hardening does not allow for the oxygen to pass through to the tissues that require oxygen to repair themselves or, in severe cases, for tissue survival. Hyperbaric oxygen has been shown to re-grow new blood vessels in the affected area (to about 80% of normal), restoring the tissue’s ability to heal.

Radiation cystitis case study

This 85 year old male patient was referred by his urologist to Wesley Hyperbaric suffering the effects of radiation cystitis after  radiotherapy.

He undertook several procedures such as bladder washouts, blood transfusions and a biopsy – which confirmed radiation cystitis.

Two weeks after initial hospital admission and three days post surgery, HBOT was commenced with Wesley Hyperbaric. At that time continuous bladder irrigations continued with large clots and blood draining.

The therapy consisted of 40 daily treatments, each taking just under two hours, Monday to Friday.

Normal bladder
Abnormal bladder wall in Radiation Cystitis

A decrease in blood staining of the urine was noted after 2 weeks.

With no further adverse events, the indwelling urinary catheter was removed on day 26 of treatment and the patient discharged from hospital after 31 hyperbaric sessions.

He continued to complete his 40 sessions on an outpatient basis.

abnormal bladder
Image of normal internal bladder surface

At his six week follow up he reported significant improvement in urinary symptoms. By 6 months this had completely resolved.

He was no longer experiencing pain and reported being very satisfied with the outcome.

If you have had radiation treatment and are now suffering from the complications outlined above then please get in touch. A referral from your GP or specialist is all you need to get the ball rolling.