Bladder Fistula

A bladder fistula is an abnormal connection between the bladder and another organ or skin. The most common forms of bladder fistulas involve:

  • The bowel (enterovesical fistula)
  • The vagina (vesiovaginal fistula)

Although relatively rare, fistulization to the skin can result from an injury or previous surgery in the face of bladder outlet obstruction. The biggest issue with fistulas is that they are created by infection, and they carry this infection to any organ they connect to. For example, if it tunnels out and connects to the bladder, a bladder infection can devlop. Who is at risk for developing a bladder fistula?

  • The most common reason for a bladder fistula is an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or diverticulitis. Around 25% of people with Crohn’s Disease will develop a fistula.
  • Approximately 20% of bowel fistulas are caused by bowel cancer.
  • Fistulas may also develop as a result of previous radiation therapy.

 

Causes

INFLAMMATION

  • Inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract causes the intestines to form scar tissue and become abnormally thick.
  • This thickening can lead to the formation of ulcers on the inside lining of the intestines.
  • When the ulcers grow deeper, they can begin to burrow through the wall of the intestine, forming a tunnel that leads to whatever tissue is next to the sore.

ABSCESSES Anal abscesses are often linked with fistulas and result from infection of the small glands inside the anus. Crohn’s disease increases the risk of infection of these glands.  

Symptoms

Common symptoms of bladder fistula include:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Passage of gas from the urethra during urination
  • Urinary leakage

 

Diagnosis

A doctor may administer the following tests to diagnose a bladder fistula:

  • Excretory urogram.- an x-ray examination of the bladder in which contrast dye is injected into the patient’s system and its progress through the urinary tract is recorded to study the anatomy and function of the bladder and urinary tract.
  • CT Scan
  • Cystogram (bladder x-ray)