Interstitial Cystitis Symptoms and Signs

What are some typical interstitial cystitis symptoms and signs? Many researchers believe interstitial cystitis (IC) to be a group of syndromes rather than one specific disorder, as patients diagnosed with the condition have very wide ranging descriptions of their symptoms.

Some initially receive a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection (UTI), only to learn that the test for the bacteria that should have been present in the urine comes back negative. In addition, treatments that cure UTIs do nothing to alleviate IC. It does not respond to antibiotics, nor prevention by home remedies like cranberry juice (which will prevent a UTI / bacterial infection in most cases).

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A note about Interstitial Cystitis Symptoms and Signs

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

However, several interstitial cystitis symptoms and signs appear to be universal among sufferers, and can be summarized as a general oversensitivity of the bladder. These include:

  • Frequent urination and inability to hold urine in some patients (urinal incontinence)

  • An urgent need to urinate, both day and night

  • Feelings of decreased bladder capacity

  • Pelvic pain (worsening for women one week before menstrual period onset)

  • Feelings of intense or mild pressure, pain and tenderness all centering around the bladder, pelvis and perineum, which may increase as the bladder fills or empties

  • Painful sexual intercourse

  • Worsening of interstitial cystitis symptoms after sexual intercourse

  • Constipation or irritable bowel syndrome

  • Pain at the tip of the penis, in the groin, or in the testicles in male patients (though most reported patients are female)

  • Worsening of symptoms after eating certain foods or beverages

  • Urethral burning before, during or after urination (dysuria). Unlike a bacterial bladder infection, IC patients are more likely to experience the burning sensation all the time, not just during urination.

  • Slow or weak urinary flow, or interrupted urinary flow

  • Glomerulations, or pinpoint bleeding hemorrhages on the bladder lining

  • Hunner¬ís ulcers (red patches of inflammation) in approximately 10% of cases

Stress may also intensify interstitial cystitis symptoms, though it does not appear to cause them. Frequent urination, the most common early symptom reported by sufferers, can also be the most debilitating, in conjunction with the pain or discomfort. Some people report being barely able to sleep through a night because of the need to urinate, and urination may occur as often as 60 times in a day, or every half hour, which can completely disrupt an otherwise normal lifestyle.

Many patients note that the symptoms have a slow onset, with pain increasing over time. The flares of pain may be cyclical, in that they appear, disappear, and reappear again with no apparent reason. The symptoms of pain, too, vary widely, from stabbing to burning sensations. Some patients have described the sensation like a thousand paper cuts criss-crossing the bladder and pelvic region, while others call it stabbing, twisting or burning which lasts more than a few seconds and can be nearly constant.

For some patients, interstitial cystitis symptoms may vary from one day to another, while others become totally incapacitated and must turn to pain relieving drugs in order to function.

When ruling out other conditions, doctors will ask a series of questions. Bloody urine rarely occurs in IC patients, and more often in patients with kidney stones or severe urinary tract infections (bacterial). Also, frequent prior bladder infections do not predispose a patient to IC, as the two share some symptoms but are not otherwise related.

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