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Am I at Risk of Ketamine Bladder Syndrome? Signs to Watch for

Ketamine abuse and addiction remain a growing problem that affects mostly teenagers and young adults. Along with the dangers and risks associated with drug use, frequent ketamine abuse come with an added health concern, commonly known as ketamine bladder syndrome.

As ketamine’s popularity has only seen steady growth over the past decade, ketamine bladder syndrome was first documented in 2007 as a condition brought on by ketamine abuse. Ketamine bladder syndrome develops out of the drug’s damaging effects as the body tries to eliminate its byproducts.

When left untreated, ketamine bladder syndrome can result in irreversible bladder damage. Being able to spot signs of this condition early on can help save you a lifetime of pain and frustration.

Ketamine’s Effects on the Bladder & Kidneys

Ketamine Bladder Syndrome

Feeling the urge to urinate after already doing so is a sign of ketamine bladder syndrome.

Along with the dissociative effects that come with a ketamine “high,” this drug’s chemical makeup takes a tremendous toll on the body, most notably the bladder and kidneys. According to BJU International, ketamine metabolism processes cause ongoing damage in the following ways:

  • Ketamine metabolites or byproducts act as toxins within the urinary tract
  • Ketamine byproducts damage bladder muscles on a cellular level
  • Ketamine triggers an autoimmune response within the urinary tract
  • Ketamine byproduct materials breed harmful bacteria within the urinary tract
  • Causes eventual death of the cells that makeup the bladder

These effects bring on a series of growing health complications as cell damage soon gives way to areas of chronic inflammation within the bladder and kidneys. Over time, inflamed areas become hardened and fibrous in texture, which causes structural damage to these organs. With frequent drug use, ketamine bladder syndrome can leave a person with long-term disabilities that may be permanent in nature.

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Symptoms of Ketamine Bladder Syndrome

Ketamine bladder syndrome causes the bladder to shrink due to growing fibrous tissues throughout the organ. Over time, a person will likely develop the following symptoms:

  • A sudden need to urinate that cannot be delayed
  • Urinating frequently throughout the day
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the pelvis, bladder and/or urethra
  • Experiencing a persistent need to urinate even after urinating
  • Urinary incontinence in the form of leakage or not being able to hold it
  • Painful urination

10 Ways Ketamine Can Ruin Your Life

Contributing Factors

Ketamine bladder syndrome grows progressively worse the longer a person continues to engage in drug-using behaviors, according to Singapore Medical Journal. Frequent ketamine abuse also increases the likelihood of developing addiction.

With addiction, a person reaches a point of needing the drug to cope so ketamine takes on a prominent role in his or her daily life. Ketamine addiction only works to incite compulsive drug-using behaviors and increase the likelihood of a developing or worsening ketamine bladder syndrome.

Treatment Considerations

Symptoms associated with ketamine bladder syndrome often improve once a person stops using the drug, unless severe damage has already developed. In effect, reducing and/or stopping drug use is essential to being able to recover from this condition. For these reasons, anyone struggling with a ketamine abuse problem may well want to seek out treatment help as soon as possible.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling with ketamine bladder syndrome and have more questions, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our phone counselors.

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