Interstitial Cystitis is considered to be a very painful bladder ailment. It’s also referred to as IC. It causes pain and discomfort in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region.
Symptoms vary from person to person, however, the patient may experience mild discomfort, pressure, tenderness or even intense pain in the bladder or pelvic region.
Some women may experience additional pain during menstruation or during vaginal intercourse
The pain may change in intensity as the bladder fills or empties. Some symptoms include the need to urinate frequently or urgently or a combination of both.
Symptoms vary so much that researchers believe that rather than there being one cause of IC, that there are several different diseases and illnesses which may point to it.
Symptoms of IC are very similar to that of a bacterial infection. When a patient presents with symptoms of a bacterial infection, his or her doctor will typically run a urinalysis, however, no bacteria will be present in the sample. There is a possibility that heredity may play a role in whether or not an individual suffers from IC.
There is no real test to decide whether or not someone is suffering from IC. The only thing doctors can do is to review the symptoms the patient is having and to rule out all other possible medical ailments.
As of right now, there is no cure for IC. Because of this fact, it is difficult for doctors to determine who will respond to treatment or if treatment will work at all. Distension seems to be of help to patients suffering from IC. Right now the FDA has approved only one drug for IC, which is dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO.
One side effect of DMSO is the garlic aftertaste the patient experiences. This odor may affect the breath and skin for up to seven hours after treatment has been completed. Research has shown that long-term use of DMSO has caused cataracts in animals. To date, this side effect has not appeared in humans. For patients who are undergoing DMSO treatment, a series of tests should be completed every six months. These tests include a blood count and kidney and liver function tests.
Electrical nerve stimulation and dietary changes may be recommended by the patient’s doctor as a means of treatment. Exercise and bladder training may also be options. In some cases, surgery or bladder removal may be the final option. Patients should discuss their treatment options with their doctor and make sure they understand the positive and negatives of everything.