Painful Bladder Syndromes, (aka Interstitial Cystitis or “IC”) are chronic bladder conditions affecting 4 to 12 million people in the US. It is a condition that consists of recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region often associated with urinary frequency (needing to go often) and urgency (feeling a strong need to go).
Patients with IC may experience day and/or night frequency of urination, up to 60 times a day in severe cases. In early or very mild cases, frequency is sometimes the only symptom.
For more than a century, IC was considered a “bladder disease” and/or dysfunction of the bladder wall. In the past decade, however, researchers & clinicians have come to accept that IC patients can have problems beyond their bladder, usually in their pelvic floor muscles and/or nerves.
Pain is a hallmark condition of IC—especially pain that worsens with specific food or drink or as your bladder fills and the pain gets better with urination. Pain may also be described as pressure and/or discomfort with an overall increased awareness of one’s bladder than usual. You may have pain located in the lower abdominal, urethral, or vaginal area. Pain is also frequently associated with sexual intercourse. Many women feel like they have urinary infections only to find out that their urine cultures are often normal.
Although Interstitial Cystitis (IC) can affect both women and men, girls and boys, it has traditionally been considered a “women’s disease.” For both sexes, many of the challenges of IC are similar, even with intimacy-related pain.
Some questions to consider:
- Do you have pain and/or pressure in your lower abdomen?
- Do you urinate frequently?
- Do you have an urgent need to urinate day and night?
- Do some foods and/or beverages make your symptoms worse? If yes, which foods and/or beverages?
- Do you find that certain types of exercise make your symptoms worse? If yes, which types of exercise?
- Do you have pain during and/or following sexual intercourse?
- Do tests of your urine fail to show any signs of bacterial infection?
- Does stress seem to make your symptoms worse?
Dr. Molden is the area’s leading expert in Interstitial Cystitis. Set up a consultation today to see what the best course of action is for treatment.