Characterized primarily by the need to urinate so frequently that it can interfere with your daily life, interstitial cystitis can be a painful and difficult condition to deal with. It brings with it a variety of inconvenient symptoms and can be difficult to properly diagnose. But, what exactly is it and how do you get it in the first place? More importantly, is there a way to avoid getting it in the first place? Once you do have it, how do you get rid of it? To answer these questions, it helps to break it down piece by piece.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis?
Often simply called “painful bladder syndrome,” interstitial cystitis is not your run of the mill disorder. It can be difficult to diagnose, treat, and often comes with a wide variety of symptoms. Some experts actually believe that it consists of several diseases, but with current research they are all classified under the one umbrella. One of the ways doctors diagnose it is by seeing that you have urinary pain that lasts more than six weeks that cannot be attributed to an infection or a condition like kidney stones. Those who have it are suffering from a chronic bladder condition that occurs because the bladder holds urine after the kidneys have filtered it but before it is released. As a result, you can have severe pain and a long list of other symptoms.
The List of Symptoms
Though 90% of cases occur in females, men are also susceptible to this condition. Some of the notable symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:
- Overly frequent urination, with severe cases needing to go 40-60 times each day,
- Pain or burning during urination,
- Frequent urination throughout the night, often depriving you of sleep,
- Reduced urinary stream and pressure,
- Decreased libido.
These are just a few of the symptoms to look out for. Since many of these symptoms are also true for other bladder and pelvic disorders, diagnoses can be difficult.
So, What Causes Interstitial Cystitis
Like many disorders of its kind, the exact cause is unknown. There are several theories however, such as a weakness in the bladder that lets urine irritate your bladder. Some also think that inflammation causes the body to release chemicals that lead to these symptoms. Others suggest that the immune system might be attacking your bladder or that a nerve problem causes you to feel pain that should be there.
How Can You Cure It?
Unfortunately, interstitial cystitis is not something that you can really cure. Fortunately, it can be treated in a variety of ways, with the most successful usually consisting of the Wise-Anderson protocol. Unlike traditional treatments, this calls for those suffering from the condition to actually participate in a 6 day clinical environment. During that time, they learn how to properly manage the condition, use treatments that will help keep it in check, and work on ways to improve the condition and decrease its severity.
So, if you or a loved one suffer from interstitial cystitis, remember that there are options out there. Since the exact cause is still unknown, you might not be able to avoid it completely, but at least you have the tools you need to properly fight it.