Treatment for cancer of the uterus can cause bladder problems. Most
bladder side effects are temporary or can be managed. Talk to your
treatment team for more information.
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This is when urine (wee) leaks from your bladder without your control. Some people find they need to pass urine more often or feel that they need to go in a hurry. Others may leak a few drops of urine when they cough, sneeze, strain or lift.
The pelvic floor muscles control the flow of urine, so strengthening them can help manage urinary incontinence. See more on exercising the pelvic floor muscles. Using continence pads can help you manage any leakage and prevent any embarrassing accidents.
A continence nurse or women’s health physiotherapist can develop a bladder training program – ask your doctor for a referral or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
For more on this, see Exercise during cancer treatment.
Radiation therapy can irritate the lining of the bladder. You may feel like you want to pass urine often or have a burning sensation when you pass urine. This is known as radiation cystitis.
Try to drink plenty of water to make your urine less concentrated. Urinary alkalisers are available over the counter from pharmacies and can help by making the urine less acidic. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine to treat cystitis.
The blood vessels in the bladder can become more fragile after radiation therapy. This can cause blood to appear in your urine, even months or years after treatment. Always let your doctor know if you notice new or unusual bleeding. Keep in mind that it may not be related to your treatment.
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A/Prof Jim Nicklin, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor Gynaecologic Oncology, The University of Queensland, QLD; Dr Robyn Cheuk, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Prof Michael Friedlander, Medical Oncologist, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Conjoint Professor of Medicine, The University of NSW, NSW; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Gynaecological Cancer, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Adele Hudson, Statewide Clinical Nurse Consultant, Gynaecological Oncology Service, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Dr Anthony Richards, Gynaecological Oncologist, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, VIC; Georgina Richter, Gynaecological Oncology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
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