Intractable hematuria is a common and severe complication in patients with inoperable bladder carcinoma. The aim was to provide an overview of therapeutic options for such cases, and analyze their effectiveness and risk profile, so a systematic literature search of peer-reviewed papers published up to September 2012 was carried out. Various options are available to treat hematuria in patients with inoperable bladder cancer; these include orally administered epsilon-aminocaproic acid, intravesical formalin, alum or prostaglandin irrigation, hydrostatic pressure, urinary diversion, radiotherapy, embolization and intraarterial mitoxantrone perfusion. These treatment options are associated with different prospects of success, risks and side-effects. Well-designed and large studies comparing options are completely lacking. Despite various treatment options, management of intractable hematuria in patients with inoperable bladder cancer remains a challenge, and most of the reported methods should be seen as experimental. Interventional radiology and alum instillation seem to be suitable alternative options for patients who, after critical consideration, cannot be treated by irrigation, transurethral resection or palliative cystectomy.