Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a condition that causes recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. Interstitial Cystitis is considered to be a chronic pelvic pain disorder. Those that suffer from Interstitial Cystitis may experience mild discomfort, pressure, tenderness, or intense pain in the bladder and pelvic area. In all cases of Interstitial Cystitis, the bladder wall becomes inflamed or irritated. This irritation can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, less bladder capacity, and even pinpoint bleeding in the bladder lining.
Interstitial Cystitis is different from urinary tract infections, which are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics. Studies have shown that antibiotics are not useful for treating Interstitial Cystitis. No one knows what causes Interstitial Cystitis. Interstitial Cystitis varies so much in symptoms and severity that most medical researchers believe Interstitial Cystitis may actually be several diseases and not just one. Another theory now undergoing study is that Interstitial Cystitis is an autoimmune response following a bladder infection. In addition, researchers have theorized that there are substances that occur naturally in urine which act as irritants in the bladders of certain people. Other theories are also being studied.
Consider the following Interstitial Cystitis symptoms:
- urgent need to urinate
- frequent need to urinate
- pain during sexual intercourse
- pelvic/bladder pain
- cystoscopic evidence of bladder wall inflammation (ulcers or glomerulations)
The symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis vary from case to case and even in the same individual. Individuals may experience one or even a combination of the above symptoms. The pain caused by Interstitial Cystitis may change in intensity as the bladder fills with urine or as the bladder empties urine. Always consult first with a doctor in order to diagnose and treat Interstitial Cystitis properly.
Also consider the following urinary tract conditions which have similar symptoms:
- Acute Bladder Infection
- Acute Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection