Pelvic Pain/Incontinence

Pelvic pain and/or incontinence is a common side effect of cancer treatment. Incontinence is the inability to control the bladder. It occurs in men and women. It may last for a short or long time, and range from mild to severe.

Symptoms of a Urinary Problem

  • Bladder cramps or other discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
  • Difficulty getting urine to start flowing
  • Feeling you need to urinate often
  • Leaking a small amount of urine when you sneeze or cough
  • Pain or burning feeling when you urinate

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

  • Fever of a 100.5°F or higher, with chills and fatigue
  • Cloudy or red urine
  • Difficulty urinating or being unable to urinate
  • Pain in your back or abdomen
  • Pain or burning feeling when you urinate

Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Prevent or Manage Urinary Problems

  • Check with your nurse before using creams or lotion near your genitals
  • Drink at least 8 cups of fluid each day so your urine is light yellow or clear; caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and tobacco use can make bladder problems worse
  • Learn how to use a catheter safely
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Use the bathroom often
  • Wash your catheter with warm soap and water after each use (if reusable); rinse well
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants

Manage Incontinence

  • Avoid foods and drinks that may irritate your bladder such as dairy products, citrus fruits, sugar, chocolate, soda and tea
  • Limit how much you drink, especially coffee and alcohol
  • Lose extra weigh to relieve pressure on your bladder
  • Quit smoking
  • Use the bathroom before bedtime
  • Wear a pad in your underwear

Medical options for treating incontinence include: