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Side Effect: Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis)

What is Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis)?

Inflammation of the lining of the bladder is called cystitis. An infection in the bladder is the most common cause of bladder inflammation and it can also be a side effect of certain cancer treatments.

What does Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis) look like?

Symptoms of bladder inflammation may include:

Who gets Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis)?

Intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which is used for the treatment of certain types of bladder cancer, can also cause bladder inflammation.

Lastly, radiation to the pelvis can cause damage to the bladder leading to inflammation.

How to prevent Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis)

How to treat Inflammation of the Bladder (cystitis)

Treatment of bladder inflammation may involve antimicrobials to treat an underlying infection as well as medications to manage pain and discomfort. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for intravenous antimicrobial therapy and fluids. In most cases, symptoms of bladder inflammation from infection resolve after antimicrobials are given.

If the bladder inflammation is caused by cancer treatment such as ifosfamide (Ifex©) or cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan©), chemotherapy may be held until symptoms resolve. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for supportive care and possibly a procedure called bladder irrigation where a urinary catheter is placed to directly flush the bladder with sterile liquid.


1. Zwaans BMM, Lamb LE, Bartolone S, et al. Cancer survivorship issues with radiation and hemorrhagic cystitis in gynecological malignancies. Int Urol Nephrol 2018;50(10):1745-1751.

2. Li R, Leslie SW. Cystitis. [Updated 2023 May 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-.

3. Macleod LC, Ngo TC, Gonzalgo ML. Complications of intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin. Can Urol Assoc J 2014;8(7-8):E540-E544.

Created: May 4, 2024 Updated: May 4, 2024