A Day in the Life of a Bladder Instillation

So last week, I had my first Hyacyst bladder instillation. I didn’t ask many questions so I didn’t know what to expect. I obviously consulted Google and came across a few horror stories. I was left in shock after reading about a nurse who inserted the solution into an unsuspecting woman’s vagina instead of her urethra. I think even with no medical training, I would be able to tell the two apart!

With that in mind, I nervously arrived at the hospital and was shown to my room. I changed into my attractive gown and gave the all too familiar urine sample. I was, for some reason, reluctant to drink too much before the procedure so my urine wasn’t looking very healthy. Thankfully, it showed no infection (only the usual sign of inflammation) so the procedure could go ahead.

A nurse took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature. She had some slight issues getting my pulse because I have Shellac gel nails. Even at my sickest, if my nails can look good, it makes me feel better about myself.

My Urologist was running late so I sat there for an hour imagining all the worst possible scenarios. Would it be too painful for the catheter to be inserted? Would they use a catheter that’s too big and hurts? My brain was in overdrive. Finally, my urologist arrived and had with him a table full of weird and wonderful instruments.

He gave me two Trimethoprim antibiotic tablets. I presumed this was to kill off any infection the catheter might give me but I didn’t ask. One of my downfalls is never asking medical professionals many questions. I definitely need to start being more vocal especially when I’m popping pills. In fact, I was supposed to ask my Urologist about what pain relief he would recommend but he was in and out like a whirlwind. I am currently only prescribed Co-Codomol but they don’t work that effectively and make me feel woozy.

I lay down and first he cleaned the outside of my urethra with an antiseptic wipe. Next, he used a syringe with anesthetic gel and coated the outside and slight inside of my urethra to numb it. Lastly, he lubricated the catheter, got me to cough and the catheter went in (he got the right hole, thank God). I didn’t feel a thing.

It’s never pleasant having a stranger’s head in between your legs but there is nothing dignified about IC. I assured myself that this isn’t the first vagina he has ever seen but made a mental note to have a bikini wax before the next one.

He drained any urine out of my bladder and using a syringe, very slowly inserted the Hyacyst solution. I couldn’t feel it going in and it was done in under a minute. He removed the catheter and said I needed to keep the solution in for one hour whilst lying down. I needed to change position every fifteen minutes from lying on my back, to my front and both sides. After an hour, I could pee the solution out and go home. Simple.

It took about five minutes for my bladder to register there was anything in there and about ten minutes for me to think, I really need to piss now. I set my phone alarm to remind me to turn every fifteen minutes. Then the boredom set in. I had a TV in my room but the remote control was too far away and I couldn’t get up. My phone battery was dying and I had to use the remaining battery for the alarm. That meant no social media to entertain me. I was left staring at the ceiling and walls hoping the solution was doing whatever it’s supposed to be doing. Another mental note to bring a magazine next time.

As time went on, the pain increased. Holding a full bladder is never going to be without discomfort but it wasn’t too bad, I would say a 4/10 on the pain scale. I never once thought I wouldn’t be able to hold it in for the whole hour and I could probably have held it longer.

After what felt like an eternity my time was up and I ran to the toilet. My bladder pain was still there. Sadly, no miracle had happened.

I honestly don’t know what I was so worried about.
It was much more straightforward than I had imagined and the pain was bearable.

I am signed off work at the moment due to my IC pain so I headed straight home to put my feet up. By the evening, the pain had increased, probably to a 6/10. It felt like I was being repeatedly punched in the bladder and between the legs (standard pain symptoms for me). I took some painkillers, warmed up my heat pack and sat in front of the TV. My usual viewing of trash TV did it’s best to keep my mind off the pain.

So whilst the procedure was fine, the onset of pain took me by surprise. Still, it was nothing that I hadn’t experienced before. The next few days were hard and then the pain decreased but as ever, never went away.

So, at least I know what to expect from the next sessions and I am hoping they will be less painful. I have had my bikini wax now so that’s one less thing to worry about!

Emma x

10 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Bladder Instillation

  1. foodinfinityandbeyond says:

    Really interesting read! I had never even heard of this before to be honest. Can’t even imagine what you are having to deal with (have had cystitis a handful of times and is not something I ever want to have again). Will defo continue to read your blog. Frankie xx


  2. Claude Armstrong says:

    Well, here I go, again!:-)

    Being without the sensations between my thighs that you gals experience “down there,” I can only assume this “May” work for you for soothing comfort in your lower pelvis.

    For whatever reason, after reading up on the things that actually relieve prostate symptoms of blocked fluid flow through(Deadly for us boys’ vital prostate health since those blocked fluids – semen, sperm, and a concoction of our male donation chemistry in ejaculation), two things kept coming up – raised body temperature in the lower abdomen floor and gentle massage of the prostate, including focused vibration methods.

    Well, I happen to have a Sunbeam vibrating heating pad, so I doubled it up and jammed it hard against my perineum and turned on

    In less than 5 minutes all, and I mean ALL pain was replaced by the best comfort I’ve even known between thighs in the entire lower pelvis!

    Needless to say, now every night this routine puts me to sleep a smiling, peaceful man!(No, there is not the slightest sexual stimulation.) The soothing heat of about 110-120 degrees is just right for comfortable blood vessel dilation, and lasts for the hour timer setting on the control. If I ever have the privilege to share my bed with a lady companion, one of my very first gifts will be own vibrating heat pads, folded up and in her most sensitive body area.

    I can’t vouch for the claim I make now, but it makes sense to me that this nightly soothing would benefit everyone whether of not there is some health malfunction in the lower abdomen.

    Hope this adds a little peace and healing to the sense you need for returning to good health.


    • brokenbladder says:

      Hi Claude! Interesting concept, I haven’t read about vibrations helping but can see the logic in it. I normally stick to a heat pack on my pelvic area and this does help most the time, I just wish I could have one strapped to me permanently! I will keep my eyes peeled for anything like you suggested that I could purchase. Hope you’re keeping well!


  3. katrijne merrigan says:

    Hello there! Your story sounds all too familiar. I was diagnosed with ic after bladder distention 1,5 years back. I’m 29 and from belgium. I also woke up with what they thought was a UTI but after the hydrodistention they found numerous lesions on the bladder wall and an inflamed bladder. I had six bladder instillations done, but they didn’t have the affect I had hoped. My main problem is extreme urgency and frequency. 😦 Anyway, I’m writing you to tell you to please reach out to the following people who have truly made sure Im still here today. Even though doctors say they don’t know what causes it, there’s a huge connection between the gut and the bladder. If one is not ok, the other wont be either. Please visit the YouTube channel of “montrealhealthygirl”. It’s run by brittany Auerbach who was also diagnosed with severe ic five years back and is now painfree and perfectly healthy. Has been for three years! She wrote a book and has various cookbooks. 🙂 Ahes from Canada but does consultations online. However she also responds to mails within the day. She’s a ray of sunshine and so positive and smart and helpful. ! Please check her out. 🙂 You are not alone in this. I know what you’re going through and its hell. But don’t give up!!


    • brokenbladder says:

      Hello! Thanks for the reply! I have seen a little bit on YouTube of montrealhealthygirl but I’ll give it some more time. I didn’t realise she had a book. I have given up gluten and dairy apart from a little cheese but I have major issues with giving up sugar, I’m not sure how anyone does it!

      It’s great to see you are so positive, I think a lot of IC sufferers can lose hope and it’s so sad to see but totally understandable. I am more than positive that I can get to a better place with this x


  4. katiesmilesxo says:

    Hi Emma, I’m 22 and also an IC patient.
    About 2 and a half years ago I had these instillations and for about 5/6 months was getting a lot of relief from them. I too found the day of the procedure was the worst day pain wise. Unfortunately my body became immune to the medication and it stopped working for me. I hope you have more success than I did!

    As far as pain relief goes, I am prescribed co-codamol on top of Fentanyl Patches (the best relief I have found) so that might be worth suggesting to your doctor. I’m also currently off work due to the worst flare I’ve ever had (7 weeks off work now) and have started having medical acupuncture to try and help. If anything it’s very relaxing!

    Sorry for the rambly comment but it’s not often I come across people with IC.
    I hope everythig goes well for you!
    Katie xoxo


    • brokenbladder says:

      Hi Katie! I have finished my course of six instillations and have noticed a decrease in my pain but not massively. I am seeing my Urologist soon and I am hoping I will be able to continue getting them.
      A seven week flare sounds horrible. My mum swears by acupuncture for her chronic pain, I hope it continues to help you.
      I have never heard of Fentanyl patches so I’ll definitely look into that. Co-Codomol doesn’t do much for me but can take the edge off.
      I always like to speak to other IC patients because as you say, there doesn’t seem to be many of us around!
      I hope you enjoy the blog. I tend to submit new posts at the weekends. You can sign up with your email address to get notified when there’s a new one.
      Happy to chat some more if you want x


  5. Lindsay Wilson says:

    I am due to have my first bladder installation next week. If there is anything to cure my urgency (which is going to the toilet 6 times in an hour) will give it a try. Not too sure what to expect but only time will tell.


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