The urologists at Urology Associates diagnose and provide treatment for interstitial cystitis. Our urologists will rule out other disorders to make a proper diagnosis of interstitial cystitis and ensure the best possible outcome.
Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as “bladder pain syndrome,” is a chronic condition that causes bladder and pelvic discomfort. IC can greatly impact the quality of life in patients. Symptoms can often mimic a urinary tract infection (UTI), causing urinary frequency and urgency. However, there is no actual infection causing the symptoms.
IC is poorly understood and little is known about the pathophysiology behind it. Some theories include:
Women are disproportionately affected by IC compared to men. In fact, women are 5 times more likely to have IC compared to men. All ages may be affected by IC, but it most commonly develops over the age of 30-40 years old. Although research is limited, it appears to affect all race/ethnic groups equally. Roughly 1-2% of the population is affected by IC. Patients with IC often have other pain syndromes including fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
IC can negatively affect patients in many ways. Patients may experience emotional troubles due to problems sleeping or issues being in intimate relationships. Social life may be impacted because of symptoms leading to withdrawal and isolation. These issues could result in depression consequently.
Since not much is known about the underlying pathophysiology about IC, risk factors are difficult to determine. Nevertheless, there is data that suggests some of the following may increase your chances of experiencing IC symptoms. These include:
Patients with IC may experience a variety of symptoms but they are often related to pressure on the bladder. The symptoms associated with IC may be constant or intermittent (fluctuate):
Certain factors may make IC symptoms worse. These include: stress, certain food and drinks, exercise, sexual activity, and menstruation.
Interstitial cystitis is difficult to diagnose because symptoms may resemble other conditions, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and endometriosis. There are no current tests that can definitively diagnose IC. Instead, our urologists will rule out other conditions and potential causes for symptoms. A diagnosis may be made if symptoms are consistent with IC and have been present for at least 6 weeks. Some of the work-up our urologists may do include:
There is not one universal treatment for IC. However, there are various treatments our urology team may suggest for you to improve your IC symptoms. These may include:
Our physicians are experienced in treating the complete range of urologic conditions and diseases, from kidney stones and sexual dysfunction to prostate cancer, incontinence and infertility.
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