Interstitial Cystitis – Diagnosis and Treatment
Interstitial Cystitis is commonly known as bladder pain syndrome. It is persistent and long-lasting. Though the cure for interstitial cystitis is still not determined, the symptoms and the overall condition can be treated to ensure a better life.
It is a feeling of distinct pain in the bladder region. Along with the discomfort are lower urinary tract symptoms (UTI) without having an infection.
What can you do if you have all the symptoms of a urinary tract infection?
The best course of action is obviously to consult a medical professional. Your doctors know best, and the practical knowledge you can gather through the world wide web is limited.
Probably you would have a urinary tract infection. But if the doctor rules out an infection, it is most likely interstitial cystitis. Various tests like a pelvic exam, urine test, and cystoscopy could hint about the underlying condition.
What would be the treatment then?
Unlike a urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis doesn't have any specific type of treatment for all. The treatment is highly dependant on the patient. Also, no single treatment can take down the whole condition. There could be various treatments or numerous combinations of them.
- Oral treatment
They're a bunch of medications that can relieve various symptoms. For example, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen could be used to relieve pain. Tricyclic antidepressants could help relax your bladder and suppress pain. Antihistamines may reduce the urgency and frequency of urination.
- Physical therapy
Patients who suffer from interstitial cystitis may have muscles that tighten or cause spasms. This pain can lead to secondary conditions.
There is an array of hands-on therapy done to relieve the pain. There may be external or internal techniques depending on your comfort. External techniques like skin rolling, deep tissue massages and nerve release are widely popular due to their effectiveness in reducing pain.
Various tools can be used to stimulate the muscles and skin to help the patient relax like, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and cold laser therapy.
- Nerve stimulation
The two nerve stimulation techniques are TENS and Sacral nerve stimulation.
Electrical wires are kept on your back or near your pubic area. Electrical pulses flow through them to the specific region. It will help trigger the release of substances that block pain or help strengthen the muscles to gain bladder control.
On the other hand, Sacral nerve stimulation reduces urinary urgency.
- Bladder instillation
A thin/flexible tube is inserted through your urethra into the bladder. The doctor would place the appropriate medication into the catheter. The solution helps by increasing bladder capacity and relaxing the bladder and pelvic muscles.
The cycle for treatments may vary from a month to even two months.
It is the worst-case scenario, and such a situation rarely occurs. People with hardly any urine capacity or high levels of pain are best suitable for this option. There are three surgical options. Fulguration and Reaction are both minimally invasive methods that involve the insertion of instruments through the urethra.
Though it is rarely done, in some cases, Bladder augmentation is a good option. It is where the doctor increases the capacity of the bladder by putting a patch of the intestine.
What are you capable of doing?
Like every condition, the quality of your life is in your hands. You are responsible for taking care of your body. Dietary changes and bladder training are necessary for quality of life to improve in interstitial cystitis patients.
Various home exercises like stretches can help reduce interstitial cystitis symptoms and pain related to it.
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