Kidney and Bladder Problems

To function properly, your body is made of organs which work harmoniously to accomplish specific functions.  Among these organs include the kidneys. The kidneys form a pair of bean-shaped organs in the body that work principally to maintain proper water and electrolyte balance; regulate acid-base concentration; and help the blood get rid of metabolic wastes, which are then excreted as urine.

To play its filtration role, the kidneys are made of millions of nephrons which are composed of tiny blood vessels, called the glomerulus. The glomerulus work constantly to filter from the blood any harmful or useless substance: waste products, salts, water, electrolytes and others. Once the kidneys filter the excess wastes, they are then able to turn the excess waste products into urine. The urine flows out of the urethra, and then out of the body. Chemotherapy drugs prevent the kidneys from working properly to accomplish the filtration.

Kidney and bladder problems are among chemotherapy side effects. Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause temporary or permanent Kidney and bladder damages if proper care is not taken. Therefore, it is important to not neglect seeing a health care professional if you have burning when you urinate, or have pus or blood in your urine. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause urine to have a strong or medicine-like odor associated discoloration: orange, red, green, or yellow. This can be sign of serious infection. Check with your healthcare provider to see if the drugs you are taking are responsible for these changes.

What Can Make You Think You Have Kidney and Bladder Problems? 

Normally, if the drugs damage your kidney or bladder, you will most likely to experience one or more of the following:

  • Urgency to go to the bathroom
  • The need to urinate more frequently
  • Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate
  • Urine becomes dark or red blood-tinged
  • Urine have pus or blood in it, which makes it looks cloudy
  • Urine have a strong smell or odor
  • Pain in the back, pelvis or abdominal area
  • Fever or chills, which can be sign of serious infection
  • Fatigue, tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting, which can indicate severe infections.

What You Can Do?

During and after chemotherapy, drink plenty of fluids to help prevent bladder and kidney problems. If you experience any of the symptoms above, especially if severe, discuss them with your health care provider as soon as you can to prevent complications. You will be prescribed appropriate medications capable of reducing the symptoms. In all cases, it is important to keep all your appointments for your treatments.  

When to Call Your Doctor? 

Any sign indicating kidney or bladder problems should be taken seriously. See your health care team as soon as you can if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.5º F (38º C)
  • Chills, especially shaking chills
  • Frequent urination
  • Rashes on the skin, itchy skin
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Inability to urinate
  • Urinary urgency(sudden and compelling urge to urinate)
  • Urination urgency
  • Reddish or bloody urine
  • Symptoms worsen or do not improve in 3 days of taking appropriate medications.


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