An introduction to bladder fistulas and how they are treated

If you have any of the symptoms of a bladder fistula, you should have the issue professionally diagnosed as soon as possible. Not only will this allow you to have the fistula treated, but it will also rule out other health problems that might be causing your symptoms. Riverside Community Hospital offers state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging to locate fistulas and compassionate care to treat them. Read on to learn more about this medical problem and the importance of having it treated.

What is a bladder fistula?
A bladder fistula is an opening between the bladder and another part of the body—either the skin or another organ. In most cases, the fistula opens up between the bladder and the colon or the bladder and the vagina. The fistula is an abnormal opening, and it can result in urine or feces leaking from the vagina, bad-smelling gas expelling from the vagina or chronic abdominal pain. The issue is most common in women.

What causes bladder fistulas?
The most common causes of bladder fistulas include:

  • Hysterectomy
  • Cesarean sections
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Radiation therapy for cancer

How is a bladder fistula diagnosed?
There are several ways in which a bladder fistula can be identified by a medical professional. In some cases, the fistula can be found using a simple speculum exam. It can also be diagnosed through a cystoscopy, a procedure used to examine the urethra and the lining of the bladder. If the fistula is in a location that is more difficult to reach, diagnostic imaging can be used to find it.

How can a bladder fistula be treated?
If a fistula is small and the surrounding tissue is healthy, the problem may resolve on its own. Otherwise, the fistula will need to be treated surgically. Depending on the location of the fistula, it may be repaired using laparoscopic or robotic surgery. If the fistula has been caused by complications of colon cancer, it may be removed as part of cancer surgery.

Riverside Community Hospital offers a wide range of essential medical services for women, including diagnosis and treatment of bladder fistulas. If you would like to find out more about the services we offer at our hospital in Riverside, CA, please contact us today by calling (951) 788-3463.

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