What is Radiation Cystitis?
Radiation cystitis is a complication that can occur after radiation therapy for cancer in the pelvic region, specifically the bladder, prostate, uterus, and rectum. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells, but it can also damage healthy tissues in the pelvic area, including the bladder. Radiation cystitis is a type of inflammation and damage to the bladder wall that can lead to various symptoms.
The symptoms of radiation cystitis can vary in severity and may include pain, frequent and urgent urination, blood in the urine, and urinary incontinence. The severity of symptoms can depend on the amount of radiation received and the duration of treatment. In some cases, radiation cystitis can lead to bladder shrinkage or fibrosis, which can affect bladder function and quality of life. Treatment for radiation cystitis may include medications to manage symptoms, dietary modifications, and surgery in severe cases. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also a treatment option that has shown promising results in reducing symptoms and promoting healing in patients with radiation cystitis.
Hyperbaric Treatment Of Radiation Cystitis
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to be beneficial for patients with radiation cystitis. HBOT involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber, which increases the amount of oxygen in the body's tissues. This can help to promote the healing of damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow to the affected area.
In the case of radiation cystitis, HBOT can help to reduce inflammation in the bladder wall and promote the growth of new blood vessels, which can improve blood flow to the affected area and promote healing. It can also help to reduce the risk of infection and improve bladder function.
Several studies have shown that HBOT can be an effective treatment for radiation cystitis. For example, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Urology found that HBOT was associated with significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life in patients with radiation cystitis. Another study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics in 2014 found that HBOT was effective in reducing the severity of radiation cystitis and improving bladder function.
After undergoing radiotherapy for prostate, rectal, or gynecologic cancers, 5% to 15% of patients are reported to develop late radiation cystitis - HBOT can promote healing, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life!
Benefits From Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
When HBO is added to a treatment plan for those suffering from radiation cystitis we see a wide range of benefits. Most notably: