Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic and painful condition of the bladder. People with IC have a bladder wall that is tender and easily irritated, leading to uncomfortable symptoms. If you have this condition, you're not alone. Thousands of people (mostly women, but also some men) are affected by IC. Although IC currently has no cure, the symptoms can be managed to help you feel better and live more comfortably.Symptoms of IC
IC symptoms are similar to those of urinary tract infection. They include the following:
The bladder stores urine (your body's liquid waste) until it's passed out of the body. What happens in the bladder to cause IC is not clear, but some changes have been observed. The protective lining that keeps urine away from the walls may stiffen and harden so the bladder can't expand to hold urine. During certain tests, pinpoints of bleeding (glomerulations) may be seen on the bladder wall. Rarely, a crater (called Hunner's ulcer) may also be found.
The cause of IC is still under debate, but possible causes include the following:
During your elevation, your doctor first tries to rule out the problems that may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may begin by asking you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. Then he or she may check your abdomen and examine your genital area for signs of a problem. Certain tests may also be done.Possible Tests
Tests that may be done to help diagnose IC rule out other problems including the following:
Many different types of treatment are available to help manage IC symptoms and relieve pain. Some may work well for one person and not for another, so several types of treatment may be tried before you and your doctor determine the plan that's best for you. Keep in touch with your doctor - tell him or her how each type of treatment is working. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications (taken by mouth or put directly into your bladder), biofeedback, electrical stimulation of the bladder, and rarely, surgery.Lifestyle Changes
Making certain changes in the way you live may help you feel better. Try some of theses suggestions:
Certain medications may be prescribed for you to help manage your symptoms. These include the following:
Some patients have relief from symptoms for a time after bladder hydrodistention is done to diagnose IC. If this is true for you, your doctor may choose to repeat the hydrodistention procedure as a form of treatment.
Biofeedback is a painless technique that can help you learn to control the movement of your bladder muscles. During biofeedback, sensors are placed on your abdomen. The sensors convert signals given off by your muscles into lines on a computer screen.
Stimulation of the area around your bladder with electrical signals may help relieve symptoms by blocking the nerve sensations to and from the bladder, by improving blood flow, or by strengthening the pelvic muscles. For this treatment (sometimes called TENS), wires are placed on the skin of the lower back abdomen. Mild electric pulses are then sent into the body for several minutes to hours. The therapy may be repeated one or more times daily, and may continue for several weeks to months.
Other Types of treatments
Certain other types of treatments may be tried to help relieve your IC symptoms. Therapeutic message of the abdominal muscles using heat or ice may help relieve the pain. Acupuncture, the therapeutic use of needles, may also help relieve pain in some cases.
Surgery may be recommended for severe cases of IC that are not relieved by any other types of treatment. The results of surgery can be unpredictable. If your doctor recommends surgery, he or she can discuss the procedure's risks and benefits with you.
IC can leave you feeling depressed and alone, but there are resources you can turn to for support. Tell your doctor or nurse your feelings and concerns. Try to give your friends, family, and partner as much information as possible to help them understand your condition, and let them know what they can do to help you. You may also want to join a support group for people with IC. For more information about IC and IC support groups in your area, call the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) at 1-800-ICA-1626.
Cheyenne Urological, P.C.
2301 House Street, Suite 500, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001
(307) 635-4131 - firstname.lastname@example.org