Research Shows HBOT Heals Hemorrhagic Cystitis

Research Shows HBOT Heals Hemorrhagic Cystitis

Presentation of radiation induced hemorrhagic cystitis (HRC) ranges from one month to 10 years after radiation.

The resulting obliterative endothelialitis after radiation is hypovascular, hypoxic and hypocellular resulting in low self-healing rates, cessation of fibroblast activity , tissue collagen matrix formation, angiogenesis, osteoblast/ osteoclast activity, and tissue and bone formation.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is often used in these cases to partially and often completely heal the bladder wall and stop the bleeding. It also helps relieve the sense of urgency that some patients experience as well, so they do not have to get up often in the night. This condition can of course be painful and occasionally life-threatening.

The authors of one large review report that 57% of the 44 patients had complete resolution and another 32% had improvement of 50-90%. [1] In another series of 196 patients, 76.3% had either complete or partial resolution. [2]

That said, early HBOT intervention is critical in achieving success and preventing loss of life. One study showed that hemorrhagic cystitis patients who do not receive HBOT treatments experience a 3.7% mortality rate.[3]
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How Hyperbaric Therapy Helps
  • Hyperoxygenation
  • Neovascularization
  • Fibroplasia
  • Collagen synthesis
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Increased WBC killing capacity
  • Attenuation of reperfusion injury
  • Bubble reduction
  • Stem cell mobilization

For more details on how HBOT works, see How it works.
Considering if HBOT is appropriate for your patient?

Talk to us, and we’ll help evaluate if HBOT is right for your patient.

Research on Hyperbaric Therapy

Several studies have shown the effectiveness of HBOT in the treatment of
HRC. Summarized below are three where most patients had already
failed conservative treatment measures.

Number of patients in the study


Corman et al


Feldmeier et al


Shilo et al

Complete or partial
resolution of HRC


Corman et al


Feldmeier et al


Shilo et al

Early intervention of
HBOT within initial
onset, up to 6 months


Corman et al


Feldmeier et al


Shilo et al

  1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment of Hemorrhagic Cystitis (Corman et al).

    Overall, HBOT appears to be a very effective and economical approach to the treatment of HRC. It is the only therapy that has been demonstrated to promote healing in this condition.

  2. Long-term Incidence of Hematuria, Urethral Stricture & Bladder Cancer after Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer (Feldmeir et al)

    Ours was a challenging group of patients in whom blood transfusions were necessary, other modalities to stop bleeding had been attempted, and radical surgery or urine diversion was needed in some of the patients.

  3. Long-term Incidence of Hematuria, Urethral Stricture & Bladder Cancer after Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer (Shilo et al).

    A possible concern related to HBOT is the fear that improved tissue oxygenation may boost residual malignant cells and rekindle cancer. Feldmeir et al reviewed this issue and concluded that there is no evidence for either malignant or metastatic cell enhancement under HBOT.

Patients’ Experiences

Ginger, 48
Recovered from radiation damage occurred 5 years after her treatment.
Ginger is a talkative, adventurous librarian who loved her dance classes. She had had radiation for her vaginal cancer. However radiation damage occurred 5 years after her treatment. The damage and pain prevented her from dancing and even wearing pants. HBOT resolved her pain, swelling and discharge. Ginger resumed her dance classes, her relations with her husband and returned full time to work wearing pants. She was such an advocate of HBOT she would talk about us and send strangers she had talked to over to see us even 6 years after we healed her.
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John, 634-year-old patient
John, 64
Recovered from occasional painful clots due to bladder cancer.
John is a quiet guy with a nice smile who had bladder cancer and radiation therapy 12 years prior to coming in to see us. He had blood in his urine, passed occasional painful clots and had urinary frequency which kept him getting up often at night. After HBOT, the bleeding and passing clots stopped and his frequency resolved.
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Yanna, 66-year-old patient
Yanna, 66
Healed from a prior to radiation damage of her vulva.
Yanna is an prior to radiation damage of her vulva was an avid horsewoman. Short with bouncing short hair at the end of her treatments she told us that she now could ride her horse everyday and then laughed and said her husband was happy too because their sexual relations had resumed.
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John, 73-year-old patient
John, 73
Healed from bleeding bladder which even two transfusions couldn’t heal.
John, who is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, came in after having multiple other treatments, some very painful, to stop his bladder from bleeding. Unfortunately, none of the previous treatments helped. Most patients who come to us to try hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a damaged bladder have already tried other conservative measures, which sadly have resulted in failure. In John’s case, he even had two transfusions. He also passed painful clots from time to time that resulted in his having to make several trips to the ER. He got up frequently at night to urinate and limited his social life as a result. Hyperbarics healed John’s bladder, and the bleeding stopped. He left feeling much more enthusiastic about life.
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independent hyperbaric clinic in the country.

We’re woman-owned and the longest running independent hyperbaric clinic in the US.

Nearing 25 Years of Experience

Our highly experienced physicians and technicians have provided almost 100,000 treatments since we opened our doors in 1998.

Pain-free. Non-invasive. Relaxing.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a painless, relaxing and non-invasive treatment. Our patients often tell us they feel relaxed and alert after their treatment.

Certified & Approved

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is approved by the American Medical Association, Medicare, the FDA, the Mayo Clinic, and insurance companies to treat a variety of conditions.

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