Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition affecting the bladder. Read this article to know more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome. It is a tricky condition and difficult to diagnose. Treatments can make life and health better, but the complete cure is questionable. If you have urinary pain lasting for more than nine months, and if it is not caused by other conditions like kidney stones and other infections, you might have interstitial cystitis. The age of the patient should be more than 18 years to confirm the condition. Also, if the symptoms have not subsided after the administration of multiple antibiotics and anti-inflammatory treatments, then the doctor would choose to diagnose the condition as interstitial cystitis.
The disease can affect social life, sleeping patterns, and even the ability to work. Interstitial cystitis is associated with pain and urine urgency. Since it affects the bladder region, there are chances of your sexual life getting affected. So, it can disrupt your personal relationships too. Interstitial cystitis commonly affects women. People first start having minor problems. The risk of getting interstitial cystitis goes up as you get older.
The symptoms might vary from person to person. They can change every day or every week and are never periodic. They might even subside without any treatment.
The common symptoms are:
When the bladder is full, there will be an increase in bladder pressure and pain. The pain will also be felt in the lower abdomen, lower back region, pelvis, or in the urethra.
For women, there will be a pain in the vulva, vaginal region, or the anatomical region behind the vagina.
For men, there will be a pain in the scrotum, testicles, and in the penis. There might also be pain behind the scrotum.
The urge to urinate often. It might exceed more than eight times a day.
Vaginismus. It is a pain occurring in women during intercourse.
Men might experience pain after ejaculation or immediately after sex.
The bladder pain that people feel with interstitial cystitis can range from dull to piercing pain. The urine might have a foul smell, or it can feel like burning. A small range of people with the condition might get an ulcer in their bladder.
Certain food and beverages.
Mental stress. It affects the interpersonal relationship with your partner.
Physical stress. It can interrupt the general health patterns.
Having a family member with interstitial cystitis may increase your risk of getting interstitial cystitis.
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is not known correctly. It is usually multifactorial. It may also be due to autoimmune reaction, genetics, infection, or allergic response.
People with interstitial cystitis may also have a defect in the protective lining of the bladder. Any leakage or damage in the epithelium may allow the toxic substances in urine to irritate the bladder. This defect in the bladder may allow the irritating substances in the urine to enter by penetrating the bladder directly.
A specific type of inflammatory cell known as a mast cell tends to release histamine and other chemicals. These chemicals can cause interstitial cystitis.
Alterations in the nerves that carry bladder sensations. These alterations might cause pain.
The body's immune system begins to attack the bladder. This might be similar to other autoimmune conditions.
There is no specific test for interstitial cystitis. The following tests can help rule out other conditions:
Urinalysis and Urine Culture: Your urine sample will be collected and sent to a laboratory to check for infections.
Cystoscopy. A thin tube with a camera is inserted inside of the bladder and urethra and then visualized.
Bladder Stretching: Your bladder is filled with liquid or gas, and you will be asked to stretch it out. You will be put under anesthesia. This is used as a treatment and is done with the help of cystoscopy.
Bladder and Urethral Biopsy: A small piece of tissue is taken and tested in the laboratory.
Postvoid Residual Urine Volume: This test measures the amount of urine remaining in the bladder even after urination.
A particular treatment does not work for all people. Treatment must be chosen differently for each patient, depending on the symptoms. Patients usually try different treatments until proper relief occurs. Most treatments are aimed at controlling the symptom. Interstitial cystitis treatment is done in five distinct phases with constant monitoring of your pain and to check the quality of life. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider about how your treatments are working so that together you can find the best treatment option for yourself.
The following are the different phases of treatment:
The first phase involves the necessary lifestyle changes. This will enable the person to come out of the comfort zone and achieve good health.
The second phase involves following prescription drugs properly.
The third phase comprises neuromodulation therapy, ulcer cauterization, and injections.
The fourth phase involves medications with Cyclosporine.
The fifth phase is the final stage. It involves surgery.
The interstitial cystitis symptoms can come back even if the disease has been in remission for an extended period of time. The exact cause of recurrence is not known. Also, there is no known method to prevent recurrences. Patients can try to avoid the symptoms by:
Staying on their medical treatments even after remission of the condition.
Avoiding certain foods that may irritate the bladder and cause infection.
Avoiding certain activities or stresses that might make interstitial cystitis worse.
The specific foods or activities that affect interstitial cystitis are different for various patients, and so each person has to discuss their individual plan with the doctors.
Sexually transmitted diseases.
Tumors in the bladder.
If you are experiencing chronic bladder pain, urinary urgency, or increased urine frequency, seek help from a doctor online. You can share your reports through our online platform and get instant help. Video calling facilities are also available.
Last reviewed at:
12 Aug 2020 - 4 min read
Query: Hello doctor, I have been told that I have a weak detrusor muscle and an overactive bladder. I feel constant irritation in the bladder and sometimes, my lower abdomen area swells up. I had negative urine cultures, and I have been told Botox may help me, but I can only have 50 % or so strength due to... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, My 4 years old daughter has redness around her vaginal wall. It looks as if it is an ulcer type or something. It hurts her a lot and frequent urination was there. We took her to pediatrician. He recommended us UTI course. Zocan and Trofan 2.5 mg was given. And Cadid V gel is given. ... Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, I have interstitial cystitis. Why should one drink lots of water while taking Phenazopyridine? Read Full »
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