Interstitial cystitis is a painful disease of the bladder. The lining of the bladder is affected thus causing frequent urination and painful sexual activity.
What is interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is referred to as painful bladder syndrome. It is a disease which affects the bladder, urethra and prostrate. The bladder wall can become inflamed or irritated. This could lead to flow of blood, ulcer in the bladder coating or decreased bladder capacity. The affected person will feel the need to urinate frequently (more than eight times a day), will have the feeling that the bladder is not completely empty and experience pain in urethra, lower back, lower abdomen, scrotum (men), labia and vagina (women) and the region between urethra and rectum.
Causes of interstitial cystitis
Researchers have indicated the relation of interstitial cystitis to certain other diseases or conditions like vulvar pain syndrome, endometriosis, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor muscle contraction and changes in nerve functions inside bladder wall. The bladder lining in a healthy person protects him from urinary toxins. When the lining fails to protect, the tissues inside the bladder get damaged because of the toxin leak. People with immunologic disorders like fibromyalgia may have antibodies which act against the protective bladder lining. The antiproliferative factor prevents the normal growth of protective cells in bladder lining according to researchers. This could lead to interstitial cystitis.
Symptoms of interstitial cystitis
1. Urinating repeatedly- Patients feel the need to urinate often. If a person urinates more than eight times a day, the doctor should be consulted.
2. Pain- women may experience pain in the urethra, lower abdomen, inside of thighs, vagina, lower back area and the groin region. Men can experience pain in penis, lower abdomen, lower back, groin region, testes and scrotum.
3. Patients usually have the feeling that the bladder is not empty.
4. Sexual intercourse is uncomfortable or painful.
Foods that trigger interstitial cystitis
2. Citrus fruits
3. Spicy foods
5. Coffee and tea
6. Alcoholic drinks
8. Artificial sweeteners
9. Hot peppers
10. Cranberry juice
Diagnosis of interstitial cystitis
Tests are conducted to rule out possibilities of urinary tract infection, bladder carcinoma, side effects of drugs like aspirin, cyclophosphamide, allopurinol and NSAID’s. A pelvic examination is done in the case of women and a digital rectal examination is done in the case of men. Urinalysis and urine culture is also done. Prostrate secretion is tested for signs of infection and treated with antibiotics. A cystoscopy is done to rule out the chance of bladder cancer. Biopsy is also done to test tissue samples. These tests are done to rule out the chances of other diseases.
1. Bladder distension
2. Bladder instillation or bladder wash
3. Oral drugs like pentosan polysulfate sodium
4. Electrical nerve stimulation
5. Avoiding certain foods which trigger symptoms
7. Bladder training
8. Physical therapy
Interstitial cystitis often causes discomforts and limits the sexual and social activities of a person. Proper diagnosis and treatment can provide relief. Avoiding certain foods and quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking will certainly be helpful to patients suffering from this disease.
Image source: U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program /wikimedia commons