Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also called painful bladder syndrome. This is a chronic disease that affects the bladder. The wall in the bladder becomes inflamed causing the bladder to be very sensitive. IC causes frequent visits to the bathroom as many as 40-60 times a day in severe cases. It also keeps you up at night.
Symptoms of this condition can vary from person to person and can be mild, severe, or constant. It can change in a day, in a week, or sometimes, symptoms can linger for months or years. They might even go away without treatment. Some of the symptoms may be similar to a bladder infection. Common symptoms of this condition include:
- Pelvic pain, pain in the tummy, lower back or lower tummy
- Pressure or discomfort as the bladder fills up
- Urinating in small amounts
- The need to pee often
- For men: pain during orgasm or after sex, pain in the scrotum, testicles, or penis
- For women: pain during sex, pain in the vulva, vagina, or the area behind the vagina
For women, symptoms can be more painful during menstrual periods. The bladder pain can vary from a dull ache to piercing pain. Peeing could also make you feel a little sting or a burning feeling.
There are also factors that makes these symptoms worse, like foods/drinks and stress, both mental or physical.
Although causes for IC is yet to be completely understood, it may be related to other medical conditions such as:
- Defects in the bladder lining
- Presence of abnormal substances in the urine
- Autoimmune disease
- Vascular disease
- Other unidentified infection
There is no definitive test to diagnose interstitial cystitis. If you go to the doctor and complain about the bladder pain with the frequency of going to the bathroom, the next step will be to rule out all the other infections and conditions. Your medical provider may run different test like:
- Urine sample and urinalysis – used to determine infection so the doctor can treat the infection with antibiotics
- Biopsy of the bladder wall and urethra – to help determine or rule out cancer
- Cystoscopy – this procedure is used to examine the inside of the bladder. This could also rule out bladder cancer
Although IC cannot be cures, there are many different ways to manage it. Treatments are aimed to relieve the symptoms. Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder treatments can include:
- Diet – You may want to remove certain food and drinks that you’ve observed that made your symptoms worse.
- Exercise – Physical activity may help relieve the symptoms of IC
- Reducing stress – Stress triggers symptoms. Learning how to manage stress makes living with IC more bearable
- Bladder retaining – This a treatment that will help you retain urine in the bladder a little longer. This will help minimize the need to go to the bathroom more often.
- Oral medication – This treatment is for managing the pain brought about by IC
- Bladder instillations – This treatment is to fill the bladder with liquid medicine.
- Surgery – Surgery is the last resort of treatment for IC. This procedure may be used to remove parts of the bladder or the entire bladder. If the patient has tried every possible course of treatment but the pain is still excruciating then surgery may be considered.
Interstitial cystitis can bring a lot of challenges to the person with this condition. It affects social life, sleep and even the ability to work. Despite all these, learning how to live with it and manage the symptoms could help live a better quality of life. Consulting a medical professional who could help and guide through the treatment process is vital. At Doral Health and Wellness, our team of professionals can help you with your health journey. To book an appointment, please visit urologistbrooklyn.com or call us at 347-868-1098.