There was a time in my life when I could go to bed and sleep for at least 8 hours before having to get up to visit the bathroom. Oh how I miss those days. Now I am up every hour to hour and a half. I do not get enough restful sleep. I can’t blame it on insomnia, though most mornings I am unable to go back to sleep once I wake up around three. That is until I take my morning medication around six, then I can usually sleep for another hour and a half. Still not enough to call it restful sleep.
This wears on a person, physically and mentally. It adds stress to my life and contributes to my bad health. No matter the time I go to bed, I have to get up to go empty my bladder. Alas, if I do not drink anything before bed, I become dehydrated because I am still going to be up with my bladder needing to be emptied.
There is one way to slow this down and allow me to get more rest. Have a surgical procedure called a cystoscopy with hydrodistention. The hydrodistention fills my bladder just a little past capacity, stretching it to find the cracks in the lining of the bladder and allowing the doctor to see with the cystoscopy (a camera that goes into my filled bladder) and look for lesions or cancers. So far, each time I have had this done, it has given me much-needed relief and the doctor has never found any cancers.
I am a prime candidate for bladder cancer, as my Dad has it and though it is not life threatening for him, it could be for me as my immune system is so weak.
There are three types of bladder cancer:
- Transitional cell carcinoma. Transitional cell carcinoma occurs in the cells that line the inside of your bladder. Transitional cells expand when your bladder is full and contract when your bladder is empty. These same cells line the inside of your ureters and your urethra, and tumors can form in those places as well. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer in the United States.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells appear in your bladder in response to infection and irritation. Over time they can become cancerous. Squamous cell bladder cancer is rare in the United States. It’s more common in parts of the world where a certain parasitic infection (schistosomiasis) is a prevalent cause of bladder infections.
- Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that make up mucus-secreting glands in the bladder. Adenocarcinoma of the bladder is rare in the United States.
Some bladder cancers include more than one type of cell.
Bladder cancer can be caused by things people take for granted. Dying your hair can cause bladder cancer. Smoking, a parasitic infection, radiation and as I mentioned above, chemical exposure.
Factors that may increase your risk of bladder cancer include:
- Smoking. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes may increase your risk of bladder cancer by causing harmful chemicals to accumulate in your urine. When you smoke, your body processes the chemicals in the smoke and excretes some of them in your urine. These harmful chemicals may damage the lining of your bladder, which can increase your risk of cancer.
- Increasing age. Your risk of bladder cancer increases as you age. Bladder cancer can occur at any age, but it’s rarely found in people younger than 40.
- Being white. Whites have a greater risk of bladder cancer than do people of other races.
- Being a man. Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women are.
- Exposure to certain chemicals. Your kidneys play a key role in filtering harmful chemicals from your bloodstream and moving them into your bladder. Because of this, it’s thought that being around certain chemicals may increase your risk of bladder cancer. Chemicals linked to bladder cancer risk include arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products.
- Previous cancer treatment. Treatment with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide increases your risk of bladder cancer. People who received radiation treatments aimed at the pelvis for a previous cancer have an elevated risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Taking a certain diabetes medication. People who take the diabetes medication pioglitazone (Actos) for more than a year have an increased risk of bladder cancer. Other diabetes medications contain pioglitazone, including pioglitazone and metformin (Actoplus Met) and pioglitazone and glimepiride (Duetact).
- Chronic bladder inflammation. Chronic or repeated urinary infections or inflammations (cystitis), such as might happen with long-term use of a urinary catheter, may increase your risk of a squamous cell bladder cancer. In some areas of the world, squamous cell carcinoma is linked to chronic bladder inflammation caused by the parasitic infection known as schistosomiasis.
- Personal or family history of cancer. If you’ve had bladder cancer, you’re more likely to get it again. If one or more of your immediate relatives have a history of bladder cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease, although it’s rare for bladder cancer to run in families. A family history of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, also called Lynch syndrome, can increase your risk of cancer in your urinary system, as well as in your colon, uterus, ovaries and other organs.
I have been blessed so far as to not have any cancerous cells in my bladder, but it is a weak organ and cancer could pop up in there at any time as I am a prime candidate. I must have the cystoscopy with hydrodistention at least once a year, sometimes twice depending on how my bladder reacts.
I need one now, but I will wait a little while longer. Remember my husband’s gallbladder needs to come out and we can’t both have surgery at the same time. His appointment with the surgeon is on Tuesday, hopefully they will get him in quickly for a surgery date. I might be able to schedule my procedure while he is off work healing from his surgery. But I won’t hold my breath.
The title of this article, My Bladder vs Sleeping, well, hands down, the bladder wins. I shall have my naps regularly until I can have some restful sleep.