Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)

Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)

Interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder syndrome, mostly affects women. It is a recurring syndrome that causes bladder pressure and pain and frequent painful urination. The symptoms resemble the signs of a urinary tract infection, but urine cultures usually show no bacteria. There is no single known treatment for interstitial cystitis, so you might need to try several combinations of treatment to find what works for your symptoms.

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    A OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of
    What Is Interstitial Cystitis?
    Interstitial cystitis is a condition which is associated with pelvic pain and incontinence, says Meenakshi Jain, MD, specializing in gynecology at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Learn more in this video.
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    When Should I See a Doctor about Interstitial Cystitis?
    If your symptoms have not gone away with antibiotic treatment, you might have interstitial cystitis and should see a specialist, says Victor Grigoriev, MD, a urologist at MountainView Hospital. In this video, he explains how a urologist could help.
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    Aventura Hospital & Medical Center - Interstitial Cystitis
    Jessica Ritch, MD, Gynecologist at Aventura Hospital & Medical Center describes the treatment options for interstitial cystitis in this video.
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    What Foods Should I Avoid If I Have Interstitial Cystitis?
    The most common foods that make interstitial cystitis symptoms worse, says Victor Grigoriev, MD, a urologist at MountainView Hospital, are caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and chocolate. In this video, he discusses how avoiding these foods might help. 
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    A group of studies found that interstitial cystitis is much more common in women than in men. It is estimated that 1.3 million Americans have this rare condition. Of these, it is thought that more than one million are women. Both overactive bladder and interstitial cystitis can cause urine to leak. But interstitial cystitis can be very painful while overactive bladder generally is not.
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    IC/PBS is not the same as cancer. Researchers have found no evidence that IC/PBS is associated with any increased risk for contracting bladder cancer. Having IC/PBS also does not mean that you currently have cancer.

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    Symptoms of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome can vary from woman to woman during pregnancy. For some women, their condition temporarily goes away. Others experience more discomfort and urinary urgency during pregnancy. Researchers believe that IC/PBS will not impair a woman's ability to get pregnant and do not believe IC/PBS will have any effect the developing fetus.

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    Most people do not need surgery for interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. When doctors perform surgery to remove all or part of the bladder, it is a last resort for people with IC/PBS who have very severe symptoms but haven't found relief from any other treatments. Surgery is not usually recommended because sometimes it does not stop the pain associated with IC/PBS and can lead to other complications. Talk to your doctor about all of your treatment before considering surgery.

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    Bladder instillation is a treatment in which a doctor places medication into the bladder through the urethra, using a small, thin tube called a catheter. This medication stays in the bladder for 10 to 15 minutes and is then flushed out. Some researchers believe that directly inserting medication into the bladder may stop contraction of the bladder wall, which reduces the sense of urgency to urinate. Bladder instillation is also called a "bladder wash" or "bath."

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    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a treatment in which small pulses of electricity are used to help relieve pain and urinary urgency in people with IC/PBS. A technician places a TENS device on the skin between your navel and public hair just above the public bone, on the lower back, or inserts it vaginally (for women) or rectally (for men). Researchers theorize that the small electric currents delivered by the TENS device help to increase circulation to the bladder. Some scientists believe that this action strengthens the walls of the bladder and may also trigger a substance in the brain that stops the body's pain response.