What is bladder instillation therapy?

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Bladder instillation therapy: Overview

Bladder instillation therapy is a procedure to put (instill) fluid and medicines into your bladder. They go into your bladder through a tube (catheter) placed in your urethra. They stay in your bladder for a certain amount of time before being drained. This is called dwell time. The procedure is often done using several doses over time. It has other names, such as bladder wash and bladder bath. It may be used for different bladder problems. They may include interstitial cystitis, certain bladder infections, and bladder cancer.

How can you care for yourself after bladder instillation therapy?

After your procedure:

  • Rest when you feel tired. You can do your normal activities when it feels okay to do so.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. This will help remove the medicines from your bladder.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You'll get instructions about taking any new medicines.

How do you prepare for bladder instillation therapy?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

Before the procedure

  • You may be asked to limit drinking fluids. This can help you retain the fluids and medicine in your bladder during the procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice blood in your urine or burning when you urinate. Your procedure may need to be delayed.

After bladder instillation therapy: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when you urinate.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • Blood or pus in your urine.
    • A fever.
  • Your urine smells bad.
  • You can't pass any urine.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

After bladder instillation therapy: Overview

A catheter was inserted through your urethra to place fluid and medicines into your bladder.

After the procedure, you may feel like you need to urinate more often than usual.

You may have other symptoms depending on the medicines you were given. They may include:

  • Urine that smells or looks different for several days after treatment.
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as a fever.

These symptoms may be normal.

What happens on the day of your bladder instillation therapy?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to delay taking certain medicines.

At the doctor's office or hospital

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will collect a urine sample.
  • You will lie on your back.
  • Your doctor will put a catheter into your bladder through the urethra.
  • Fluid and medicines are placed into your bladder through the catheter. You may stay in the doctor's office while they are in your bladder. You'll hold them in your bladder for a certain amount of time. How long you hold the medicine depends on why it's being done.
  • You'll release the medicines from your bladder into the toilet. Or they will be drained through the catheter.
  • The procedure often takes less than an hour.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.