What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis(IC) is a long-lasting condition in which the bladder gets painful and causes bladder pressure. The syndrome also causes pelvic pain at times. In simple terminology, it is also known as painful bladder syndrome. In most of the cases, Interstitial Cystitis is diagnosed at the age of 30 and above. The pain can range from having a mild discomfort to the point of painful experience. In this condition, the bladder becomes very sensitive.
In general, the bladder fills itself, and finally, when it’s time, it signals the brain to urinate. Pelvic nerves act as a stepping stone for communication between the bladder and the brain. In this condition, the brain receives confusing signals which make people believe and urinate a number of times but with a smaller volume.
If we look at the survey, IC is caused mainly in women with very less or no cure for it. Proper medication and certain steps may relief the patient to some extent.
The symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis
For every patient, the severity of symptoms differs, and it is quite possible for some people not to experience anything in the first place. Some of the common signs of Interstitial Cystitis are:
- In the case of women, having pain in the pelvic region or between the vagina and anus.
- In the case of men, I am having pain between scrotum and anus.
- Increase in frequency of urinating. The urgent need to urinate is very common.
- The frequency of urinating increases but every time in small quantity. A person can urinate up to sixty times within twenty-four hours.
- A person with IC often feels discomfort and pain when the bladder fills itself up and takes the sigh of relief when it’s released.
- People with IC may have to face pain during intercourse.
- People with IC will have persistent pain in the pelvic area.
The symptoms may vary over time and can act differently when triggered by menstruation, stress, exercise, or sitting idle for a longer period. Symptoms of IC can be confused with that of the symptoms of Urinary tract infection. But in general, there is no infection. The scenario can get worse if the person with IC gets hold of Urinary tract infection. It is advisable to consult the doctor when a person experiences any change in the frequency of urine or having pain in the bladder for a long time.
What are the causes?
People of all ages are diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. Men, women, and children are diagnosed with IC, but in recent studies, it’s seen that 80% of women have Interstitial Cystitis. The cause of IC is not precisely known or understood, but certain possibilities can be the reason to Interstitial Cystitis, and they are:
- A defect in the protective lining or epithelium of the bladder may irritate the bladder walls while urinating.
- Heredity can also be one of the causes of Interstitial Cystitis.
- Autoimmune diseases are one of the unproven causes of IC.
- An imbalance in the cell can be one of the causes of IC.
The social life may get hampered due to an increase in the frequency of urinating. Apart from that, the bladder gets stiff enough to hold more urine. The pain can hinder the sexual intimacy of a person and can even be the reason of psychological issues in a person.
Treating Interstitial Cystitis
IC is not curable, but it can be kept under control with certain treatments. Every individual responds differently and so the treatment techniques. The main aim is to bring about relieve. By giving oral medications, bladder medications are used to treat the diseases at the initial stage.
Nerve stimulation, where mild electric pulses are sent to the nerves with a message to control the bladder.
A person with IC can induce a habit of going to the washroom innumerable times as soon as the person feels the pain. Here, bladder retraining can be done to overcome the habit of running straight to the washroom, even when the bladder is not full.
By filling the bladder with water or bladder stretching is done to increase the capacity of the bladder to hold more urine in it. By this, the person with IC will slowly improve over time, and there are chances of pain reduction.
A proper diet is essential to treat Interstitial Cystitis. For the people with Interstitial Cystitis, few food items are unbearable. Eliminating alcohol, caffeine, or anything packaged will be the first step. Along with that, having a healthy lifestyle is a mandatory thing for patients with IC and for that exercising or having any kind of physical activity is important. By meditating, life will become less stressful, and it will become easier to handle the disease.
Surgery can also be the last option for treating IC after every other procedure loosened their hands down.
Keeping track of the disease daily may help the patient get the statistics and proceed accordingly, and pain tracker application can be used for the same. With this, a person with IC will be able to keep track of the pain level, medicines, symptoms, number of times the person urinated. A pain tracking diary can be maintained to see the progress of the person through the pain tracking charts.
Interstitial Cystitis is an end result of chronic pelvic pain that gets stretched up to six months long and along with that a poor quality of life or an unhealthy lifestyle. Symptoms are different for different people. For some, it may be very severe; for some, it might be minimal. The symptoms vary depending on the lifestyle of a person. In some cases, the symptoms might get disappear, but sooner or later, they return without any prior notice.
Although there is no proper treatment to it, with proper medication, healthy lifestyle, one can get relief from it.