A bladder may form abnormal connection with other organs and result in a bladder fistula.
What is bladder fistula?
Bladder fistula is an abnormal connection established between the bladder and another organ or the skin. Generally, this is usually seen between the bladder and the bowel (enterovesical fistula) or between the bladder and the vagina (Vesicovaginal fistula). Although this is a rare condition, fistulization to the skin is seen due to an injury or from complications from previous surgery for correcting obstruction of the bladder outlet.
Vesicovaginal fistula is generally seen after a gynecological or urological surgical procedure, mostly for treating gynecological cancers. Fistulas in the bowel are generally seen caused due to inflammatory bowel disorders, including Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis.
Around 20% of bowel fistulas are caused by bowel cancer, according to studies. Bladder pathology is rarely the cause of development of fistulas. Radiation therapy may also result in vaginal and bowel fistulas in rare cases.
What are the symptoms of bladder fistula?
Bladder fistulas my cause frequent UTI (urinary tract infection) or passage of gas while urinating.
How is bladder fistula treated?
Surgical removal is the main treatment for bladder fistula. In case another disease or disorder (colon cancer, inflammatory diseases, etc) and is usually performed with the treatment for the accompanying disorder.
What can be expected after treatment for bladder fistula?
The success of surgical removal of bladder fistula is mainly dependent on the ability to treat the primary disease and the presence of healthy tissue which closes the fistula.
Normally, the doctor will attempt to restore blood supply and healthy tissue between the bladder and the connected organ.
In case there is non-removable cancer or the tissue is exposed to radiation, with insufficient blood supply, the treatment become comparatively difficult. A catheter is often implanted in the bladder for a few weeks following surgery.