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Interstitial Cystitis

What is Interstitial Cystitis?
  • interstitial cystitis (IC) is characterized by chronic bladder pain and is usually accompanied by urinary frequency and urgency without the presence of bacteria in the urine.

  • While there are many potential causative factors and diagnosis may be made based on symptoms alone, it seems that the condition is primarily the result of increased urothelial permeability due to the breakdown of the glycosaminoglycan layer that normally protects the deeper layers of the bladder wall.

  • At this point, there is no definitive test to diagnose IC and it is diagnosed based on clinical symptoms.

  • Cystoscopy may be performed and determine whether the condition is ulcerative or non-ulcerative. 5-10% of IC patients will be categorized as ulcerative and will present with Hunner’s ulcers, which are red, bleeding areas on the bladder wall. 90% of IC patients will be categorized as non-ulcerative and will present with pinpoint hemorrhages on the bladder wall called glomerulations. Glomerulations are not necessarily specific to IC and can show with any inflammation to the bladder.

  • Urinalysis will be negative for bacteria, but it is common for IC to be misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection due to the similarity of symptoms.

Signs of Interstitial Cystitis
  • Often the signs that one has IC are identical to the signs that one has when they have a  urinary tract infection. This can lead to misdiagnosis and sometimes treatment with antibiotics when there is no bacterial infection.

  • The signs of IC can be

    • bladder pressure or pain

    • burning sensation when urinating

    • increased frequency of urination

    • increased urgency

    • urethral pain

    • vaginal pain, or for men - pain in the scrotum, testicals, or penus

    • pain during sexual intercourse

    • pain or discomfort can be constant or it can come and go

What causes Interstitial Cystitis?
How can herbs help?
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