Urethritis and Cystitis

Radiation therapy to the abdomen and pelvis may cause irritation and inflammation of the bladder or urethra. Bladder irritation is called radiation cystitis, and irritation of the urethra is called radiation urethritis. These 2 cause similar problems and are treated in similar ways.

Symptoms that you may have

1. You may feel the need to empty your bladder frequently, and may feel that you can’t hold your urine as long as you have before, or can’t get your bladder completely empty.

2. Burning with urination.

3. Pain with urination.

4. Blood or mucus strands seen in the urine.

Recommendations for Cystitis/Urethritis

1. Drink plenty of fluids every day; at least 2-3 quarts during a 24 hour period, unless you are on a fluid restriction for medical reasons. You should drink enough fluid so that your urine is almost colorless. The stronger the color of your urine, the more it will burn or irritate.

2. Avoid food and fluid that can be irritating to the bladder:

coffee and tea

alcohol [beer, wine, and hard liquor]


spicy foods like pepper and curry

3. Drink cranberry juice - this has been proven to keep the bacteria counts down and helps prevent bladder infection.

4. A prescription medication may be ordered if these other measures are not enough. It is important that you take any prescription medicine as ordered.