Interstitial cystitis is a persistent illness that can cause pelvic pain, bladder pain, and pressure in the bladder. Mild discomfort to severe agony is all possible levels of pain. The ailment is a member of the painful bladder syndrome group of illnesses. Your urethra is a muscular, hollow organ that holds urine. Through the pelvic nerves, the bladder swells until it is full and then alerts your brain that it is time to urinate. For many people, this induces the urge to urinate. When you have interstitial cystitis, these signals become confused, causing you to urinate more frequently and less frequently than many individuals. Women are most frequently affected by interstitial cystitis, which can have a long-lasting effect on their quality of life. Despite the lack of a cure, medicines and other treatments could provide comfort.
Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis symptoms and indicators differ from person to person. Your interstitial cystitis symptoms may change over time and recur in response to typical triggers like menstruation, prolonged sitting, stress, exercise, and sexual activity.
Signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:
- Pain between the vagina and the anus in women or in the pelvis
- Men who get pain between their perineum and scrotum
- A persistent pelvic discomfort
- A constant, pressing urge to pee
- Frequent urine throughout the day and night, frequently in little amounts (up to 60 times a day) when the bladder fills, discomfort or pain, and relief after urinating
- Sexual discomfort
Everyone’s level of symptom severity varies, and some people may go through periods without experiencing any symptoms. Although interstitial cystitis symptoms and indications can resemble those of a chronic urinary tract infection, infection is typically not present. However, if a person with interstitial cystitis develops a urinary tract infection, their symptoms could worsen.
Causes of Interstitial Cystitis
Although the actual cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, the following conditions may be a factor:
- An autoimmune response; damage to the bladder’s epithelium.
- Allergic response
- Nerve problem; irritation in the urine; infection; and heredity
When to visit a doctor
Contact your doctor if you experience persistent bladder pain or frequent or urgent urination.
Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis
Although there is no known cure for interstitial cystitis, there are many ways to address its symptoms. Your healthcare professional will talk to you about the best course of action based on:
- Your age, general health, and health background
- The severity of the illness
- Your tolerance for treatments, surgeries, or drugs
- Predictions regarding the progression of the illness
- Your preference or opinion
These remedies could consist of:
- Alternative medicine: Acupuncture and guided imagery have also helped some patients feel better.
- Bladder retraining: Patients can expand their bladders so they can hold more pee by holding it for progressively longer periods of time.
- Botox injections: These temporarily paralyze the bladder, which helps to reduce pain.
- Electrical stimulation: When the sacral nerve or the pubic area is stimulated electrically, some patients report lessening pelvic discomfort and urinary urgency. The muscles that control the bladder can get stronger as a result of increased blood flow caused by electrical stimulation. Physical therapy sessions may involve electrical stimulation, or a stimulator may be surgically placed in the belly.
- Lifestyle modifications: Reducing stress and avoiding foods like alcohol, citrus, spicy food, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners that might irritate the bladder lining can be helpful.
- Medication: Symptoms may be treated with the use of painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, and antispasmodic pharmaceuticals. The irritation in the bladder lining may be repaired using pentosan polysulfate sodium. A catheter can be used to deliver medications directly to the bladder or taken orally.
- Quitting smoking: This may help the body’s inflammation.
- Stress management: As with any chronic pain condition, interstitial cystitis symptoms can be controlled by effectively managing stress.
Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosis
Your doctor would wish to rule out the following problems before diagnosing interstitial cystitis because its symptoms resemble those of other illnesses:
- The kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections that recur
- Sexually transmitted illnesses; bladder cancer.
- Endometrial cancer (in women)
- Prostatitis (in men)
- Interstitial cystitis may be suspected if tests for those disorders come up negative, but you’ve had bladder pain for longer than six weeks. Additional testing can involve
- Biopsy: A small tissue sample is taken from the body and evaluated for this test.
- Complex uroflowmetry: This process calculates the volume and flow rate of urine in the bladder.
- Cystometry: Also known as a cystometrogram, this procedure is used to gauge bladder pressure. Patients must follow certain instructions while a catheter gently fills their bladder with sterile water as part of the test.
- Pelvic ultrasound: This imaging technique creates an image of the organs using high-frequency sound waves.
- Post-void residual study: This ascertains the volume of pee still in the bladder following urination.
- Potassium sensitivity test: Your doctor will examine your response to a potassium chloride solution injected into your bladder as opposed to water. You probably don’t have interstitial cystitis if you can’t distinguish between the two.
- Pressure-flow voiding study: This test evaluates the urethra’s and bladder’s capacity to discharge urine adequately.
- Urinalysis: Your urine will be examined under a microscope to look for any signs of blood or illness.
Numerous issues, such as the following, can arise from interstitial cystitis:
Reduced bladder capacity: Interstitial cystitis can harden the bladder wall, reducing the amount of urine your bladder can hold.
Lower quality of life: Constant pain and frequent urination might make it difficult to engage in social and professional activities as well as other daily tasks.
Sexual intimacy issues: Constant pain and frequent urination might make it difficult to maintain healthy interpersonal interactions.
Emotional issues: Interstitial cystitis’s chronic pain and sleep disturbances may result in emotional stress and sadness.