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
    To diagnose interstitial cystitis, a cystoscopy is performed by a urologist, who administers anesthesia and examines the bladder wall by inserting a cystoscope (a small microscope) into the bladder. After the doctor has had a good look around, with the cystoscope still in place, the bladder is filled to capacity with water. If interstitial cystitis is present, some bleeding will be observed in the bladder wall. The diagnosis can be confirmed by performing a biopsy of the bladder wall and examining it under a regular microscope.
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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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    Doctors do not have much information about pregnancy and IC. IC is not thought to affect fertility or the health of a fetus. Some women find that their IC symptoms get better during pregnancy. Others find their symptoms get worse.

    This answer is based on source information from The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information.

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    Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome can affect the body in a variety of ways. IC/PBS can cause the wall of the bladder to stiffen and hold less urine. This will result in the need to urinate more frequently. Additionally, the chronic pain and discomfort sometimes caused by IC/PBS may lead to depression in some people. IC/PBS, however, has not been proven to increase a person's risk of bladder cancer or to cause complications during pregnancy.

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    Your interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome may go away. Sometimes the condition disappears and reappears. Remission, either temporary or permanent, is not unusual. Researchers are not sure why this happens but are actively working to better understand this condition.

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    If you are experiencing symptoms that could be caused by interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, you should talk to your doctor. These symptoms may include pain of varying intensity in your pelvic area, and the need or urge to urinate frequently. Because IC/PBS can significantly impact your life, it's important to have a doctor diagnose the condition so you can receive the best treatment available.

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    A Family Medicine, answered on behalf of
    There are different symptoms of interstitial cystitis that can vary from person to person.  These include: an increased urgency to void; pain, pressure, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum; pain during intercourse; and in men, pain or discomfort in the penis or scrotum.   
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    When caring for someone with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, remember that the condition affects people emotionally as well as physically. People with IC/PBS may be less willing to be active because they may be in pain, and they made be afraid to leave the house because of their urges to urinate. Help them with tasks as needed, but encourage them to be independent. In addition, encourage people with IC/PBS to take any medication and follow treatments advised by their doctor.

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    Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome can have a significant impact on your life, and while it may be embarrassing for you to discuss with others, help is available. It is very important to find a doctor who you trust, and who will take the time to help you find an effective treatment for your condition. Follow your doctor's advice regarding treatments. You may also find exercise and diet modification to be helpful. In addition, you may want to join a support group to learn more about IC/PBS, find treatment options that work, and get emotional support from people who understand your condition. The Interstitial Cystitis Association has a list of support groups. You can visit their web site at www.ichelp.org.

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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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