Interstitial Cystitis - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Interstitial cystitis, also known as bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic bladder health issue that causes bladder pressure, pelvic pain, and bladder pain. The pain may range from mild to severe. It is a tough condition to diagnose. Until now, there is no cure but treatment can help get rid of symptoms. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis may resemble that of bladder infection, but it is not real. Mostly, it affects women and has long-lasting effects on their life. 


The urinary bladder is a hollow muscular organ that retains urine that the kidney produces. It has the power to expand up to some extent. Therefore, it keeps collecting urine and signals your brain to urinate while communicating with the pelvic veins. This process creates the urge to urinate. However, in interstitial cystitis, this does not happen properly, and you need to urinate more often, in smaller volumes as compared to normal. 


Symptoms 


The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis resemble that of bladder infection and vary from person to person. They may settle down or flare-up upon exposure to certain triggers like sitting for a long time, during periods, after sexual intercourse, or physical activity. It may show the following signs and symptoms;


  • Pain in your pelvis 

  • In women, pain in between the vagina and anus 

  • In men, pain between the scrotum and anus 

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • A persistent need to urinate

  • Urgency to urinate

A frequent need to urinate, often in small amounts- a person may need to urinate up to 60 times in a day and night. 


Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills and feeling relieved after emptying

Pain during sexual intercourse- dyspareunia



The signs and symptoms may vary from time to time. They resemble a urinary bladder infection, but in reality, it is not. However, if a person already having interstitial cystitis develops bladder infection, it can flare up the symptoms and cause discomfort. 



Causes


The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. However, other factors can play a role in causing it. In some cases, people having interstitial cystitis may have a defect in the epithelium- the lining of the bladder. Therefore, the leakage may allow some toxic substance of urine to irritate the wall of your urinary bladder. Other factors that can play a role in causing it can be;


  • Infections 

  • Autoimmune reaction 

  • Allergy 


Risk factors 


The risk factors for interstitial cystitis are;


Being female


Women are more prone to interstitial cystitis as compared to men. In men, the symptoms may resemble interstitial cystitis, but they are often associated with the prostate gland- a condition known as prostatitis.


Skin and hair color


People who are fair-skinned and have red hair have reported more with interstitial cystitis. 


Age


Most people are diagnosed with interstitial cystitis in their 30s or more. 


Other health conditions 


Interstitial cystitis can also be associated with chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. 



Complications 


Interstitial cystitis can cause any of the following complications;


Reduced holding capacity 


Interstitial cystitis can cause the stiffening of the bladder, due to which its holding capacity is affected. Therefore, it can not hold much urine.


Quality of life


Interstitial cystitis affects your quality of life because of frequent urination and pain. It hinders all social activities. 


Sexual relationships


Due to frequent urination and pain, your sexual relationship with your partner may be affected. 


Emotional stress


Frequent urination and pain may affect your sleep, which in turn can cause emotional stress and irritability. 



Conclusion 


Interstitial cystitis, also known as bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic bladder health issue that causes bladder pressure, pelvic pain, and bladder pain. The pain may range from mild to severe. It is a tough condition to diagnose. Until now, there is no cure but treatment can help get rid of symptoms. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis may resemble that of bladder infection, but it is not real. 


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