Hemorrhagic cystitis occurs when the urinary bladder lining becomes inflamed and bleeds. The condition can cause pain during urination and blood in the pee. It’s often associated with cancer treatments or infections. Several strategies can help protect your bladder during cancer treatments or treat hemorrhagic cystitis if it occurs.
Hemorrhagic cystitis is a medical condition that occurs when your urinary bladder lining becomes inflamed and bleeds.
Your bladder is a muscular sac in your pelvis that stores urine before it’s released from your body. Hemorrhagic means bleeding, and cystitis is inflammation of the bladder.
Hemorrhagic cystitis occurs in people who experience damage to the bladder lining. It’s usually associated with infection or cancer treatment.
Hemorrhagic cystitis isn’t common in the general population. But it can affect 10% to 35% or more of people receiving certain cancer treatments.
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Hemorrhagic cystitis is the result of damage to your bladder lining, including blood vessels located there. The damage may be due to:
The symptoms of hemorrhagic cystitis vary depending on how severe the case is. Signs of hemorrhagic cystitis may include:
Your healthcare provider may order tests to make a diagnosis:
Your healthcare provider may assign a grade to hemorrhagic cystitis based on your symptoms and test results. The grade indicates how advanced or severe it is:
Prompt treatment of hemorrhagic cystitis is important to reduce pain and prevent long-lasting bladder damage.
Treatment options vary widely, depending on the cause and severity of each case. Hemorrhagic cystitis treatment may include:
If you’re receiving treatment for cancer, ask your healthcare providers about ways to protect your bladder and prevent hemorrhagic cystitis. Strategies include:
The outlook depends on the cause and severity of hemorrhagic cystitis. The condition usually responds well to treatment and doesn’t lead to long-term problems, especially infection-related cases. Rarely, severe cases can be fatal.
Most people with cancer who develop hemorrhagic cystitis can continue cancer treatment.
You should seek medical attention quickly if you have any signs of hemorrhagic cystitis. It’s particularly urgent if you have blood clots in your urine or can’t pass urine.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hemorrhagic cystitis occurs when your urinary bladder lining becomes inflamed and bleeds. It’s a common complication of cancer treatment and may also occur as a result of infection and occupational exposure to chemicals. If you have blood in your urine or any problems peeing, talk to a healthcare provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/14/2022.
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