Interstitial cystitis

Everyone has had a time when they have had to urinate so badly that it was painful. Often, when you have held your urine inside your bladder for too long, it begins to feel full to the point of overflowing and starts to hurt. If you have felt this in the past, then you know it is not usually an everyday or every hour occurrence. Once in a while when you are busy, when you are traveling, or when you are shopping you may have this problem, but not on a normal everyday basis. And even when you do have a full bladder causing you to feel pain, you rarely have that and the urgent need to urinate up to 60 times a day.

If you have consistent pain or discomfort in your bladder, you may be dealing with something called interstitial cystitis. The pain and discomfort you feel can also affect your entire pelvic region. It may also result in tenderness in that region when pressure is applied. You might feel as though you have to urinate frequently and doing so may be painful. In women, the pain gets worse when they are menstruating and during intercourse.

Causes of Interstitial Cystitis
Unfortunately, scientists, doctors and researchers are unsure of the cause of interstitial cystitis. In fact, they believe that it may be several different diseases that share some of the same symptoms. They think this because the symptoms can vary so wildly, although they always affect the same region.

When a patient complains of symptoms similar to those of interstitial cystitis, the primary care physician will often begin by testing for a bacterial infection since the symptoms are so similar to that. However, tests never seem to turn up any bacteria present in the bladder. In addition, when given treatment that a bacterial infection would respond to, namely a round of antibiotics, interstitial cystitis patients show no improvement.

Recent research has shown that interstitial cystitis patients often have the disorder along with a substance that blocks cell growth in the bladder. They have also noticed that many interstitial cystitis patients also have irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. While these discoveries may eventually help lead to a treatment plan or cure, they are, as yet, just observations although they are spawning further research.

How is it diagnosed?
You might be wondering how a mysterious disorder with no known cause, symptoms that vary from case to case and no foreign bodies or bacteria present is diagnosed, and if you are it is certainly understandable. Generally, the way the diagnosis is handled is by ruling out any other disorder the patient could be suffering from. By ruling out urinary tract infections, bladder cancer, prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome, doctors are able to rule that the patient has interstitial cystitis.

Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis
Since there is no known cause of interstitial cystitis, but instead just a list of symptoms, there is no cure. Since this is the case the only real treatment is just to treat the symptoms as best as you can. That may involve a bladder instillation which is when the bladder is fed a liquid solution and it remains in the bladder for ten or fifteen minutes, then the bladder is emptied. This does not cure the condition but can alleviate some of the pain.

Another method doctors suggest to alleviate the pain associated with interstitial cystitis is something called bladder distention. Bladder distention increases the size of the bladder. It is possible that this helps alleviate pain (and the need to urinate up to 60 times a day) because it allows the bladder to hold more fluids.

Last updated on Oct 25th, 2010 and filed under Genitourinary Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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