Interstitial Cystitis 101

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Interstitial cystitis is no fun for anyone unfortunate enough to struggle with this bladder condition. Chronic irritation in addition to pressure and pain, sometimes severe, are all the hallmarks of interstitial cystitis. While women are the most frequent sufferers. Men will sometimes have similar symptoms, but this is usually due to a prostate condition. Here is what you need to know and how to manage this condition. 

What Causes Interstitial Cystitis?

The exact cause of this chronic condition is unknown. It may be due to an underlying autoimmune disease, allergies, or it may be due to a defect in the bladder and ureters itself. Sometimes the lining of the bladder doesn't contain the urine properly, allowing some to escape and irritate the bladder wall. Whatever the cause, the bladder signals to the brain it needs emptying, even when it doesn't. Obviously, this can be irritating and interfere with one's quality of life.

What Are The Symptoms Of Interstitial Cystitis?

The symptoms and the severity of the symptoms can vary not only from person to person, but they will usually vary with the individual overtime as well. Additionally, having sexual intercourse, the menstrual cycle, changing hormones, such as during pregnancy and leading up to menopause, exercise, and stress can all exacerbate the condition.

The pan and irritation is very similar to that felt when one has a urinary tract infection, however no bacteria is present. An interstitial cystitis sufferer can unfortunately be more prone to a urinary tract infection, and with one, their symptoms become even more miserable to deal with.

In addition to being most common in women, interstitial cystitis also tends to be more common with concurrent chronic pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, as well as in women with pale skin and red hair, which supports a genetic cause.

What Are The Treatment Options For Interstitial Cystitis?

Obviously, most patients are desperate for a cure. Dealing with this life-altering condition can take a toll both physically and emotionally, greatly affecting the quality of life. Unfortunately, there is no simple cure. Medications may be used with varying success, physical therapy can help physical pain, and acupuncture may help. Dietary changes may also prove helpful. Your best chance of finding a way to manage the symptoms is by developing a close relationship with a urologist at centers like Western Branch Center for Women who has extensive experience dealing with the condition.