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Symptom Management:

Symptom Management

Side Effects of Treatment
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Appetite Loss
Bladder Disturbances
Incontinence - Urinary
Dryness of the Mouth
Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances
Flu-like Syndrome
Hair Loss
Menopausal Symptoms
Nausea & Vomiting
Neurological Disturbances
Spinal Cord Compression
Peritoneal Effusions
Shortness of Breath
Skin Conditions
Sleep Problems (Insomnia/Oversleeping)
Sore Mouth
Bone Metastases
Sexuality Issues
Sexual Dysfunction
Irritative Bladder Symptoms (IBSs)

Symptom and Description IBSs include three related symptoms that often occur together.

  • Dysuria is an unpleasant sensation of pain, discomfort, or burning that occurs during urination.
  • Urgency is when it feels like you have to urinate right away or immediately, even sometimes if your bladder is not full.
  • Frequency is having to urinate more frequently than what is normal for you, generally more often than every 2 hours during the day.

People who are receiving treatment for cancer, or who have certain urinary tests that require insertion of an instrument or catheter into their bladder, are sometimes at risk for IBSs and bladder infections. If you have irritative bladder symptoms your doctor or nurse will want to conduct other tests to determine whether there is an infection in your bladder. People who are receiving treatment for bladder cancer through a catheter directly into their bladder are also at risk for IBSs. This would occur after the treatments for a few hours (but it can last up to several days), due to the effect of the treatment drug on the lining of the bladder. This IBS side effect usually begins after the second or third treatment.

Learning Needs You can help prevent IBSs from occurring or from worsening and you can help treat the symptoms when they do occur by learning to:

  • Specifically tell your doctor and nurse about your discomfort and symptoms
  • Take certain medications
  • Use warmth
  • Modify what you drink and eat

Prevention Although some IBSs may happen in certain people, you may be able to prevent IBSs by:

  • Drinking plenty of liquids. Try to drink at least 2 quarts (almost 2 liters) of water every day.
  • Avoiding fluids with caffeine and acid fluids (this includes most juices). Water is best!
  • Not delaying if you feel the need to urinate.


1. Once you’ve experienced IBSs, you should notify your doctor or nurse as soon as possible, describing:

  • Where the discomfort is
  • How bad it is
  • What it feels like
  • How long it lasts
  • How often you feel the need to urinate
  • How often you actually are urinating
  • Whether your urine is pink or red

Your doctor or nurse may give you a bladder diary to record how often you urinate and how much you are drinking.

2. You must take any medication that is prescribed to treat a bladder infection or treat the discomfort.

3. Continue to drink a lot of nonacid and noncaffeinated fluids, increasing the amount to 2 1/2quarts (80 ounces or 10 cups) each day while the symptoms last.

4. Take warm baths in water up to your waist to reduce bladder pain, and use warm, moist heat for any low back pain you feel.

Follow-up Call your physician or nurse as soon as irritative bladder symptoms begin and if you have a new fever along with the IBSs. Bring with you any record of urination and fluids you have consumed when you see your doctor or nurse. When your IBSs get better, you can return to your normal level of drinking fluids, but it should remain at least 2 quarts (almost 2 liters) per day (64 ounces or 8 cups).

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