Bladder Instillations

Partners in Pelvic Health
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Women affected by interstitial cystitis (IC) experience persistent, recurring discomfort in the pelvic area. Each person is different. For some, pain is mild discomfort in the bladder. For others, persistent pain may be more generalized in the pelvic region. Discomfort may feel like tenderness or pressure, or may become intense, increasing the need to urinate frequently. Even in the same person, symptoms can vary widely.

What is important to understand is that such symptoms are not simply due to a small bladder. Research has shown that people severely affected by IC may find it necessary to empty their bladder up to sixty times in a day, including several times a night. The frequent need to urinate due to interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome, or urethritis is a real problem; one for which your urogynecologist has a solution.

Bladder instillations for lasting relief

There are several treatment options for interstitial cystitis, bladder pain, and urethritis. If you have not found relief from symptoms with your general physician, a consultation with Dr. Sanjay Gandhi, experienced urogynecologist, may lead to new insight and a path towards optimal treatment.

Dr. Gandhi provides various options for treatment of bladder problems, including bladder instillations. Bladder instillations are also sometimes referred to as bladder washing. In this treatment, typically performed in several sessions, prescribed medication or a combination of medications is administered directly into the bladder.

For years, bladder instillations have consisted of the administration of DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide. Medication is delivered to the bladder via a flexible catheter, while the patient lies back comfortably. Dr. Gandhi prefers using bladder instillations with newer combinations of medications. Such medicated solutions, which also includes an anesthetic for comfort, remains in the bladder for ten to fifteen minutes. In this time, the medication has a chance to affect irritated tissues in the bladder, having a calming effect. After the allotted time, the solution is released through urination.

Improved options for relief of IC and bladder pain

The delivery of the medications to the bladder has been effective in the reduction of pain and frequency, but some have suggested may lead to bladder scarring long-term. Innovations in bladder treatments, however, have brought new and improved treatment options. At North Shore Urogynecology, Dr. Gandhi prescribes bladder instillations that contain a combination of medications: sodium bicarbonate, lidocaine, and either heparin or Pentose sulfate. Through this combination, patients find relief from urgency and pain.

Bladder instillations have also been shown effective in the treatment of overactive bladder problems. If you want to regain some freedom to live actively without concern over staying near a bathroom, contact the office of Dr. Sanjay Gandhi for more information on bladder instillations.