What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation, pain, and pressure in the bladder. Although known as bladder pain syndrome, pain can spread to the pelvis, kidneys, and surrounding area.
Cystitis is one of the bladder diseases that can interfere with the function of these organs in storing and excreting urine. You will more often feel like urinating, but the volume of urine that comes out is only a little.
Interstitial Cystitis Symptoms
What are the symptoms of interstitial cystitis?
Common symptoms of cystitis include:
- Pressure and pain in the bladder that gets worse when you want to urinate.
- Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis, or urethra (urinary outlet from the body).
- Feeling like urinating often (more than 8 times a day).
- Suddenly want to urinate (overactive bladder), even though you have just urinated.
Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis are similar to those of chronic urinary tract infections, but the urine does not contain bacteria. Worsening symptoms can occur if people with Interstitial Cystitis have a urinary tract infection.
Interstitial Cystitis Causes
The bladder is an organ of the body formed from hollow muscles, shaped like a balloon and serves to store urine until it is ready to be emptied. In older persons, the bladder expands to full and then signals to the brain when it’s time to urinate.
The signal is communicated through the pelvic nerve. In Interstitial Cystitis, nerve signals are disrupted so that sufferers feel the need to urinate more often and with a smaller volume than usual.
It is possible that many people with Interstitial Cystitis, also have defects in the protective layer (epithelium) of their bladder. A leak in the epithelium allows toxic substances in the urine to irritate the bladder wall.
Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosis
The diagnosis is made through a series of examinations (including blood tests), laboratory tests and a thorough history. Because of overlapping symptoms, interstitial cystitis is often misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection.
Interstitial Cystitis Treatment
The most common form of treatment is through patient education, dietary counseling, and stress therapy. It may also be relevant to specific bladder and pelvic floor training through physical training, as well as treatment if needed. If the condition does not improve, nerve block treatment, Botox injections or even surgery may be needed.
The most common form of treatment for autoimmune conditions includes immunosuppression, that is, medications and actions that limit and protect the body’s own defense system. Gene therapies that limit inflammatory processes in immune cells have shown major advances in recent times, often in combination with increased gene activation and anti-inflammatory processes.
There are several steps a person can take to manage IC beyond dietary changes.
Modification of self-care can be done, such as:
- Bladder retraining
- Stress management
- Quit smoking
- Wearing loose clothing
- Establishing healthy sleep habits.
While these are not recommended as stand-alone measures, they can help reduce symptoms and improve comfort for people with IC.
Another option is nutraceutical, which triggers changes in the body despite being a natural product. This includes:
- Calcium glycerophosphate: This reduces the effects of substances that can irritate the bladder.
- L-arginine: It increases the production of nitric oxide, produces antibacterial, hormone-stimulating effects, and relaxes blood vessels. However, these treatments have no effect on people who make enough of their own nitric oxide and may not be effective for everyone with IC.
- Mucopolysaccharides: These can help replenish the outer lining of the bladder.
- Bioflavonoids, such as quercetin: It has antioxidant and antibacterial qualities.
- Chinese herbs, such as Cornus, gardenia, rhubarb, and Rehmannia: These are sometimes offered as alternatives to conventional treatments.
Interstitial Cystitis Complications
Complications of IC can vary between individuals, but they include:
- Reduced bladder volume
- Decreased quality of life
- Decreased or altered se**xual inti**macy
- Emotional pressure