What is bladder instillation?
Bladder instillation, also called a bladder bath or wash, is an outpatient treatment that’s performed by a doctor. The treatment involves filling the bladder with a medicated solution to reduce pain caused by inflammatory bladder conditions as well as to reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections also called cystitis.
Why is bladder instillation done?
The aim of bladder instillation is to reduce inflammation and discomfort in the bladder in patients affected by:
- Interstitial cystitis (IC)
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Limited bladder capacity
- Frequent or urgent urination
What does bladder instillation involve?
Bladder instillation is a straightforward procedure that takes around 20 minutes to complete.
Before inserting a catheter (soft, thin plastic tube), your doctor will use an anaesthetic antiseptic gel to numb your urethra. Once the gel has taken effect, your doctor will pass a catheter through your urethra and into your bladder to drain any residual of urine prior to instill (inject) a medicated solution into your bladder. The catheter will then be removed and you will be able to go home straight away. The doctor will ask you to hold passing urine for at least 30-40 minutes.
You may need a course of weekly treatments over at least 6 to 8 weeks.
Preparing for bladder instillation
Before the procedure, your doctor will explain each step of bladder instillation, answer any questions you have and suggest how many rounds of treatment you’ll need.
You don’t need to fast before bladder instillation, but you should limit your fluid intake so that your bladder is as empty as possible.
When you arrive for your treatment you’ll be asked to take a urine test to check for infection. If there’s no infection present the procedure can go ahead.
Recovering from bladder instillation
You’ll be asked to stay in the outpatient clinic for around 15 minutes after your treatment so you can be monitored for any side effects. All being well, you can return to your normal daily activities and will then be able to go home straight away after any following treatments.
Risks of bladder instillation
Only a few people will experience side effects from bladder instillation treatment. These won’t be dissimilar from your original symptoms of frequent or urgent urination, urine leakage and pain when passing urine.