Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that affects the bladder. It is also known as bladder pain syndrome. The cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. Patients with interstitial cystitis often experience depression and may have a lower quality of life due to the symptoms. Many patients also concurrently have other conditions, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome. The onset of the disease is usually during middle age, and women have a higher risk of interstitial cystitis than men. In the United States and Europe, it has been estimated that approximately 0.5 percent of individuals are affected.
The diagnosis is typically achieved after other conditions have been ruled out. Many patients are often diagnosed with other conditions that can have similar symptoms, such as sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, bladder cancer, endometriosis, and prostatitis. The urine culture in these cases is usually negative. While there is no cure for interstitial cystitis, some treatments can help with the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment for interstitial cystitis usually includes lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, reducing stress, and changing one’s diet. Medications that may be beneficial are painkillers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), amitriptyline, and pentosan polysulfate. Some procedures that can help are bladder distension, surgery, and nerve stimulation.
Symptom #1: Suprapubic Pain
In interstitial cystitis, the symptoms can sometimes vary for each patient. However, almost all patients with interstitial cystitis will experience suprapubic pain.
The suprapubic region is located in the lower abdomen above the pubic bone. The pain can range from mild to severe and is partially relieved after urination.