Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis 

There are too many topics that don't get talked enough when it comes to the female anatomy, including painful bladder syndrome, or interstitial cystitis. The information below can act as a guide to help you understand what this condition is, symptoms to be aware of and how to treat it.

What is IC? 

Before discussing symptoms and treatments, it’s important to know what interstitial cystitis, or IC, really is. In short, it is a chronic bladder issue. Your bladder is a hollow organ that fills up after the kidneys filter out urine. It sends a signal to the brain after it’s full, so you know when it’s time to urinate. 

However, with IC, this signal communication is mixed up. Your body is essentially sending mixed messages. What happens is that your bladder sends that message to the brain before your bladder is full. This leads you to urinate more often than most people do throughout the day and with less urine each time.

What Are the Symptoms of IC?

There are some common interstitial cystitis symptoms, but these can vary from person to person. It’s also important to note that these symptoms may, in fact, vary throughout your life. The common symptoms are listed here for you to refer to:

  • Frequent urination during the day and night
  • Pelvic pressure or pain
  • Bladder pain
  • Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, urethra, and perineal area
  • For women, pain in the vulva and vagina
  • For men, pain in the penis, testes, and scrotum
  • An urgent need to void the bladder
  • Pain during sex

These symptoms are similar to that of a urinary tract infection. However, the difference between interstitial cystitis vs uti is that there is not an infection involved with interstitial cystitis. That being said, the symptoms of IC may become worse if you also get a UTI. Having a UTI may also make IC flare up or make your symptoms become worse. 

Certain factors, such as diet, menstruation, and stress may also cause a uti or ic flare up. That’s why it’s important to understand the symptoms. That’s why knowing the symptoms is incredibly invaluable.

What CausesIC?

There is no known specific cause of interstitial cystitis. There are, however, common theories about what causes it, including the following: 

  • An inflammatory cell called a mast cell
  • A defect in the bladder lining that allows toxic substances in urine to aggravate the bladder wall
  • An autoimmune response that attacks the bladder
  • An alteration in the nerves that send mixed signals to the brain

It has been found that the likelihood of having this condition increases as you grow older. IC is more common in women than in men and the event of a urinary tract infection also increases your risk of having IC.

What Is the Treatment for IC?

Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for interstitial cystitis at this point in time. Making lifestyle changes can often help, but doesn’t necessarily prevent an interstitial cystitis flare up. 

The treatment plan for IC is usually a combination of factors that work to lessen the symptoms. Some of these factors include diet and medication. Consistent monitoring and evaluation enable you to understand if the treatment is working for you. Your doctor can work with you to create a plan that helps to manage the symptoms of IC. 

A Healthy Body Is Essential for a Happy Life 

If you think you may have interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, speak with your doctor today. There are many products you can take to manage the symptoms and work towards preventing any infection from occurring, such as supplements and probiotic pills. It’s up to you to take measures to decrease your likelihood of UTIs and interstitial cystitis by taking care of your body.