Bladder Spasms: What They Are & How to Treat Them

October 22, 2021
Bladder Spasms: What They Are & How to Treat Them

One common side effect of bladder cancer treatments are bladder spasms.

Bladder spasms happen when the muscles in the bladder contract and cause the immediate release of urine or a sense of urgency to urinate. They can be painful, and at times, embarrassing because patients have less control of their urinary tract. The following is a guide for how to treat them, but as always, talk to your doctor about any changes that you’ll make to your diet, routine, and medications.

Lifestyle Changes: Some dietary changes can help you relieve the symptoms you’re having. These are some chemicals that can impact the bladder:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Fruit juice
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages

Keep a journal to determine the interactions between the foods that you’re eating and the spasms that you’re having. This could be good for you and your doctor to understand how your diet could be impacting the treatment and your comfort throughout.

Pelvic Floor Exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with exercises like kegels can help you prevent leakages.

Bladder Training: Bladder training is essentially scheduling designated urination times throughout the day, regardless of whether your bladder feels full and needs to be emptied. This can help you reset your schedule and “train” your bladder so that you face less leakages and the feelings of urgency subside. Keeping a journal of the impacts can again help you and your doctor better understand the progress that you’re making and whether this is working for you.

Over the Counter Drugs: AZO is a medication that provides urinary tract relief. As always, check with your doctor before taking this drug so you know how it will interact with your diet, treatment, and other possible medications. 

Antispasmodics: If you’re having frequent spasms, talk to your doctor about prescribing antispasmodics. Typically doctors will prescribe hyoscyamine for men or oxybutynin for women under the age of 65. Neither of these medications are safe for patients over 65 years old. 

While you’re on this medication, you’ll want to limit your use of antacids as they interact with the absorption of these drugs. Also, be transparent about other medications and supplements you’re taking so your doctor can change your dosage to make sure this medication is effective for you.

Pain Suppositories: Belladonna and opium is a suppository used only in the rectum that can help relax the muscle and ease kidney pain. It could cause problems if you’re pregnant or have certain other medications, so as always be transparent with your doctor about your situation so they can provide the best option for you.

Bladder Botox: Botox can be a powerful solution when injected directly into the bladder. It can take up to two weeks to work, but then lasts six to eight months. Although not permanent, this temporary solution can provide relief if you’d like to avoid regular medications or find that changing your diet isn’t helping. 

Electrical Stimulation or Neuromodulation Therapy: If other treatments haven’t been successful, this experimental therapy could be useful for you. There are a few different types of this treatment and even some experimental electrical stimulation chemotherapy in clinical trials that could help your bladder muscles better absorb the chemotherapy drugs. Talk to your doctor about whether this option is right for you. 

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