can steroid's...damage you bladder sensation?

Hi my names katie,

i am a severe asthmatic, i have a number of allergys and have taken 6 asthma attacks this year so far,one in which i was in HDU. i have been on steroids constantly for the last 2 years and since then i have been having bladder problems (not being able to pee) and i had to go got a test last week and i didnt get good news,got told that im going to need to get cafiterized and its really left me distraught as i am only 22 years old, but somone told me that if your on long term steroids, this can somtimes happen? is this true? i have manage 2 come to terms with my asthma,that its severe and i need to take each day as it comes but i dont no how am going to find the strenth to cope with having a cafiter fitted as well.

Katie xx

12 Replies

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  • Hi Katie,

    I have brittle asthma and I am on stage 5 management as per BTS guidelines. I have been on long term prednisalone for the last 5 years at least. I have never had a break from it and I have not been below 32.5mg, currently on 55mg but have been as high as 80mg.

    I have never had, or heard of any problems with the urinary tract or retention of urine linked to steroid use. Did the nurses or doctors give you a reason for the pronblem, did they say it was down to the steroids?

    Having a catheter is not the end of the world and they are very discreet, It may only be a temporary problem and there are other options. Intermittent Self Catheterisation is one of them, you pass the catheter yourself maybe three times a day empty your bladder and then remove it. You would be surprised how many people have catheters and you would never ever know.

    I completely understand your upset though, as if asthma isn't enough to deal with you now have this added pressure.

    Remember this though, you have coped with and come to terms with your asthma, a life threatening illness, you are a strong person and you will deal with this too.

    Keep writing your feelings down and ask questions here whenever you want, even if its a rant, good to get it out ! Feel free to PM if you want a chat. I have been through the catheter thing myself, glad to say it was not asthma related and I dont have it anymore, so I know what you are going through. I'm also a nurse and can try to answer or allay any fears you have but they would be personal opions, not professional as that is not allowed on this forum.

    Chin up :) J

  • hey:)

    Thanks for your reply its much appreciated:)

    just feel i have had to change my life all ready to deal with my asthma. i am a qualified nursery nurse i graduated 2 years ago and i am unable to work and this really upsets me but there is no way i could work due to my ill health. my asthma affects me everyday, a year ago i was put forward for the xolair treatment but because my allergy levels were too high, and in order to get the treatment ure levels need to be in the middle for it to work effectively so was unable to get it. and my allergys levels dont seem to get any lower just higher- i really dont no why this is but its really annoying as this xolair treatment may actully help my asthma.

    its just somone said to me that steroids could somtimes affect ure bladder sensation but wasnt a professional so wasnt sure,which is hence i asked. its just really hard to come to terms with as if my asthma isnt hard to deal with im going to have to find strenth 2 deal with this as well, just feel im so young this all shouldnt be happening to me. when i went for the test last week and he told me i need to get cathiterized, and theres no cure and no operatiion that will fix it, cathiter is the only thing. i was distraught, he said if i dont my bladder is going 2 burst and id die..!

    i just wonder why good things happen to good people as i am a good person would do anything for anyone..! but its me thats got lots of illnesses to cope with as im epileptic as well..! so i really dont have it easy at all..!

    katie x

  • Katie, It's horrible being forced to adapt and change your life but you are not alone there is always someoe you can talk to, I have found this forum to be a great help.

    My life, as most on this forum has changed, but we all still have a life and thats what to focus on. I tried the xolair treatment, fortunately on the day of the test my IgE was within the guidelines (hoops to jump through!!) It worked for a while until I took a reaction to it and I had to stop. I'm now on a continuous infusion of terbutaline, the line goes from a pump which I have to keep in my pocket to a needle in my stomach so I have had to adapt to that aswell, but I am back to work on a busy surgical ward and despite a few blips I'm coping ok, as I'm sure you will too. I never thought I would do.

    It may be a combination of your epileptic medication and asthma meds that have caused this problem for you and from what you describe it sounds like an atonic bladder that is the problem and there is no surgical treatment for this, but self catheterisation frequently during the day may still be an option and is well worth asking about. Also, just because you have a catheter doesn't mean you have to have a bag connected to your leg, there are devices that you can fit on the end of the catheter (flip flow valve) that is discreet and you just go off to the toilet as normal, release the flip down the toilet empty your bladder, close the valve and get on with your day. You can still wear shorts, skirts anything you want.

    You have had the strength to come on the forum and ask for advice and I'm sure more members than me will be able to offer you help. Just because I haven't heard of steroids causing the problem doesn't mean I am right. Also, i'm giving you a males perspective so perhaps a female opinion would help you too. As far as being told your bladder could burst and you will die (potentially true) it's a worst case scenario and highly unlikely, I don't know why some people say these things, doctors are amazing people but I think sometimes they don't think about waht they say and the effect it has.

    Sorry to hear you have to deal with epilepsy as well, I can't imagine what that is like. As a nurse I see a few seizures and they scare the hell out of me.

    I ask myself in work every day why do bad things happen to good people and the bad ones seem to get away with it. There is no answer to that one I'm afraid. No rhyme or reason and you're right, it's not fair, but thats the hand we have been dealt.

    J

  • hi katie

    i also have brittle asthma, needing 9 admissions to costa 3 of which being hdu, in the past 6 weeks!! and have been steroid dependant for the past year.... i do not know steroids use to cause damage to bladder sensation? if anything, steroids cause u to wee at night, if i remember rightly, and of course the usual water retention!

    i am also a staff nurse! there must be something going round, hey?!

    its hard dealing with the change in lifestyle adjust cos of the severity of asthma, never mind anything else, but stay strong. as the girls have said, intermittent catheterisation if u need it can be temporary, and people do not notice you have it!

    take care and keep well

    x x x

  • Hello,

    Do you use lots of nebbed Atrovent?

    That can affect bladder control.....

    Kate

  • Hiya Katie,

    i thought it would be positive to reply to you as i am in a very similar position myself!

    im 24 years old and was so embarressed speaking up about not being able to pass urine i went to my Gp and was referred to my local urology team were i had tests. From the conclusion of the tests i was told i had to learn to self cathetirise myself and since then everything has been brilliant. The urology team and my resp team have blamed the lack of bladder control on both steroids and atrovent medication. My resp consultant said he has seen many bad asthmatics loose control of there bladder even tho it is quite rare however all cases are different!

    take care Raychi xxx

  • Hi

    Hi raychi..x

    thanks so much for your reply and knowing somone is in same position, really has helped. how did u find adjusting your life to self cathiterisation? i has really put me a downer the day i had heard im going to need to get cathiterised, they are unsure what kind off cathiterisation yet that im going to be getting. i just feel that if my asthma isnt enough to cope with,now this. thanks so much for sharing your story with me and feels good that am not only one going through the same thing at such a young age.

    Katie x

  • Hey everyone, thanks very much for all the advice you have

    given me, its much appreciated..! ill just have to try and be strong

    and think positive..! xx

  • Hi,

    There are quite a few options for catheterisation, it doesnt have to be a permenent one. You can intermittently self catheterise. I have a friend (Non asthmatic) who manages really well doing it herself 4/5 times a day. You basically pass a small tube and then empty your bladder and remove the tube. You can do all of this in the comfort of a toilet cubicle, you just have to be very strict about hand hygiene etc. It doesnt take much longer than going to the loo normally once you have got the hang of it. It also wont affect you sex life....should you ever get the puff for it!

    Since being on long term steroids, I often dont get the urge to pee until my bladder is ready to burst, I just make sure I go regularly.

    I would do some research even if its just some google'ing before you make that decision. Make sure they do lots of tests, like urodynamics, where you bascially pee in to a bucket attached to a computer, and possibly even an ultrasound. make sure that you see a urologist too, and let them make the decison with you. Dont let anyone else make the decison! YOu need an expert for something so life changing!

    Dont get too down! There are options!

    xxx

  • hey isla:)

    Yeah i have at all the tests done and i see a urologist, its him that said i need to be cathiterized, i

    do sit on the toilet and try and pee but nothing comes,doctor says the messages from my brain isnt connecting with bladder, so my bladder can be so full and i wouldnt no, i would no i need to go but i just cant pee untill i get the urge to go which is only ONCE a day! Just going to be so hard adjusting my life, as if asthma isnt enough to deal with now this.

    Yeah doctor said about self cathiterisation but i just hope i manage 2 do it myself. i am waiting to go through to glasgow to see somone. hes refereed me over there but dont quite no what for. im going to my gp 2moro and going 2 ask for her to explain everything from the letter thats been sent from hosp to gp, as when i went for the urodynamic test and got the result i heard word ""cathiter"" then i fell to peices. so didnt take in everything.

    thanks for all the posts from everyone it really has made me feel a bit better:)

    Katie xx

    Hi,

    There are quite a few options for catheterisation, it doesnt have to be a permenent one. You can intermittently self catheterise. I have a friend (Non asthmatic) who manages really well doing it herself 4/5 times a day. You basically pass a small tube and then empty your bladder and remove the tube. You can do all of this in the comfort of a toilet cubicle, you just have to be very strict about hand hygiene etc. It doesnt take much longer than going to the loo normally once you have got the hang of it. It also wont affect you sex life....should you ever get the puff for it!

    Since being on long term steroids, I often dont get the urge to pee until my bladder is ready to burst, I just make sure I go regularly.

    I would do some research even if its just some google'ing before you make that decision. Make sure they do lots of tests, like urodynamics, where you bascially pee in to a bucket attached to a computer, and possibly even an ultrasound. make sure that you see a urologist too, and let them make the decison with you. Dont let anyone else make the decison! YOu need an expert for something so life changing!

    Dont get too down! There are options!

    xxx

  • Good luck with your tests! Get them to write stuff down for you and send you copies of letters so you are kept in the loop! x

  • Katie...

    Hello Katie, I'm new here and I have been reading some of the posts and feeling compelled to answer. I have had asthma for my entire life and have even been at death's door on a few occasions. I know how devastating it can be at times. I have developed many side affects due to asthma medications including steroids. If you look up steroids you will see the countless problems that they cause. I am by no means telling you that you don't need to take them right now - I know how critical asthma can get and some people literally need to live on them. One major problem is that steroids give the immune system an automatic boost but, infringe on the immune system with long term use. I have had to use them in the past and I just recently did again due to extenuating circumstances like moving to a new environment but, I must say that I don't need them as often as I used to. In response to the damage that steroids has had on my immune system, I have begun to rebuild my immune system through other strategies. I have found that Traditional Chinese Medicine has made the biggest difference for me. Also, exercise (when possible, of course) and replacing meat, dairy and processed food with a variety of whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies. Exercise and diet can take time to change but, the TCM treatments usually take a short period of time and changes can be noticed within as little as one day. I'm not saying that you would be cured in one day but, that's how long it took me to begin to benefit from it. I'm getting there. Good luck.

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