Cancers of the pelvic organs affect millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, many cancers respond well to radiation therapy, especially when the cancer is diagnosed in its early stages.
The problem: Although radiation therapy plays an essential role in managing cancer, it can cause unintentional and unwanted side effects. One of those side effects is radiation cystitis, a condition affecting the bladder’s structure and function.
At Vayu Advanced Wound Clinic and Hyperbarics in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Badam uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to promote natural healing in patients with radiation cystitis. Here, Dr. Badam explains how this innovative, noninvasive therapy could help you.
Quick facts about radiation cystitis
While radiation therapy uses a targeted delivery system, sometimes radiation can spill over to other tissues and organs, including the bladder. Radiation cystitis happens when radiation therapy irritates the bladder, causing inflammation and other damage.
Radiation cystitis can affect the way your bladder functions, resulting in symptoms like an urgent need to urinate, a need to urinate very frequently, or pain when urinating. Some people with radiation cystitis develop urinary incontinence or leakage, or they may have blood in their urine.
While some symptoms are acute, resolving once radiation is complete, they can last much longer. In fact, data show that as many as 21% of people who develop radiation cystitis after treatment for bladder cancer continue to have symptoms more than a year after their therapy has ended.
How HBOT can help
Tissues and organs need plenty of oxygen to heal following injuries. Sometimes, the oxygen normally found in your blood just isn’t enough to promote optimal healing. That’s when HBOT can help.
HBOT delivers pure oxygen to your tissues to support healing following radiation therapy. During an HBOT session, you relax in a special room or chamber while we pump pure oxygen into the room. The pressure inside the room is higher than normal, which means more oxygen enters your bloodstream with every breath you take.
As your blood circulates, it delivers high concentrations of pure oxygen that work to decrease inflammation while promoting the growth of new, healthy cells and supporting other natural healing responses.
Data show HBOT can be very effective in relieving radiation cystitis symptoms and helping the bladder recover and heal.
Because HBOT doesn’t rely on medication, it can be especially effective in patients who’ve undergone radiation therapy and want or need to avoid drugs. Avoiding medications also means there’s no risk of any chemicals irritating the bladder and making symptoms worse.
Learn more about HBOT
HBOT is a noninvasive therapy for radiation cystitis, but it’s not ideal for everyone. To learn if HBOT can help relieve your radiation cystitis symptoms and improve the overall health and function of your bladder, call us today at 210-651-1112 or request an appointment at our San Antonio, Texas, office through our online booking system.