Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that affects the bladder. Women are most often diagnosed with IC, and there are currently two recognized subtypes of this condition. The majority of IC cases are non-ulcerative IC, which involves very small hemorrhages of the bladder wall. Ulcerative IC is characterized by patches of bleeding on the bladder wall. IC is a complex condition that can significantly decrease the quality of life. However, patients can consult a specialist in urology to explore their treatment options.
The symptoms of IC can vary widely from patient to patient. For any particular patient, the symptoms can evolve over time and may develop in sudden flare-ups. Certain factors can trigger a flare-up of symptoms, such as menstruation, sexual activity, stress, and exercise. These symptoms may include chronic pelvic pain, pain between the vagina and anus, pain during sexual intercourse, and pain when the bladder becomes full. Other possible signs of IC include the urgent need to urinate and frequent urination in small amounts. It’s not uncommon for a patient with IC to urinate dozens of times per day.
Specialists in urology haven’t yet been able to determine exactly what causes IC. However, it’s thought that it may be linked to a problem with the epithelium of the bladder. If the epithelium leaks, the toxins can irritate the wall of the bladder.
Finding the right treatment for any particular patient with IC can be difficult. What works well for one patient may be ineffective for another. Urology specialists may try combinations of treatments, including oral medications such as antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), tricyclic antidepressants, and pentosan polysulfate. Bladder distension, nerve stimulation techniques, or the insertion of medications directly into the bladder are other treatment options for IC.
At Urology Associates, P.C., our urologists have the in-depth knowledge and extensive experience necessary to provide effective, comprehensive treatment plans for patients with interstitial cystitis. For help with IC, UTIs, kidney stones, or other urologic conditions in Tennessee, call 888-656-0667. New and current patients can browse our website to read more about common urologic conditions and their treatment.