Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or “painful bladder syndrome” is a chronic, painful bladder condition which is often mistaken for a urinary tract infection. We are unsure how a person acquires IC but it is known to be related to anxiety and stress and some believe it is classified as an autoimmune disorder.
Signs and symptoms may include but are not limited to urinary frequency (and knowing where every public bathroom is located), urgency, discomfort or bladder pressure and urinary symptoms that appear after intercourse which can interfere with your relationship.
With IC, you are either feeling OK or in a “flare.” These flares are usually caused by something you ate or drank an episode of anxiety or even inflammation caused by your period. People that have IC, also tend to have a diagnosis of IBS and/or Fibromyalgia.
If you find yourself going from your OB/GYN, primary care doctor and the urgent care, you may be inadvertently treating yourself with unnecessary antibiotics and not actually treating the real problem. Antibiotics do occasionally seem to help but, since IC is not caused by infection, the signs and symptoms will promptly return. If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is stay consistent with one office. This way there can be documentation of symptoms with negative urine cultures and a questionnaire can be administered to gauge the severity.
IC is not curable but is definitely treatable. There are several options available for treatment, several of which can be done at home without a prescription. These can include an IC elimination diet, behavioral modifications for stress relief and over the counter aloe vera pills.
If at home remedies are not working then there are medications and installations that can be done in the office. Additionally, there are several blogs, social media groups and and self help groups you can join for support. If this sounds like you, schedule a consultation with Jodi Jones, WHNP.