Sometimes dealing with things like interstitial cystitis can feel a little isolating. It’s not as common as bladder infections and not everyone talks about it. That doesn’t mean you are alone, though. It just means we need to do a better job offering information and support.
Interstitial cystitis is more common than you might think and it doesn’t have to feel like you’re dealing with this all on your own. If you’re unsure what it is, or don’t know how to talk about it, this post is for you. Let’s talk about what it is, how it’s diagnosed and how it’s treated.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial Cystitis is a bladder condition that causes frequent urination, bladder pressure, and pelvic pain. It can make life uncomfortable because it often mimics the symptoms of a bladder infection.
You may urinate often, with little to no urine coming out. (Sometimes up to 60 times a day.) You might also feel the same pain that is felt during a bladder infection. It also causes pain between the vagina and anus.
How Is Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosed?
Your symptoms should be discussed with your doctor. Often times you’ll be tested for bladder infections first. The thing about interstitial cystitis is that you may mimic all those symptoms and still not have an infection. If this happens frequently, your doctor will start digging deeper.
This is a diagnoses of exclusion so it can feel like a frustrating process. Every other possible thing has to be excluded before a diagnosis can be confirmed. You will have to work with a urologist or gynecologist to get the right diagnosis going. They can help you through the process.
Is Interstitial Cystitis Painful?
IC can be painful and the degree of pain varies with each person. Unfortunately it is often painful enough to interfere with normal daily life activities. About half of the women diagnosed with IC have symptoms severe enough to prevent them from working full time.
Related: What To Do About Painful Sex
How Is It Treated?
IC is treated in a variety of ways. You’ll want to make sure to work closely with your doctor to make sure you’re getting the treatment that is right for you. A combination of treatment for psychological symptoms and physical symptoms is usually needed.
There are medications that can help manage the pain and other symptoms, however IC is not something that can be cured. It’s very frustrating which is why it can feel so isolating. Remember to talk to your doctor and get help as much and as often as needed.
Interstitial Cystitis really can be hard to deal with. Don’t feel like you have to handle it all with a smile, or on your own. Reach out for help. Look for support groups. Also, remember it’s ok to talk to your loved ones and express your frustration.
The more you learn to manage your symptoms the better things will be. If you’ve just been diagnosed, give yourself some time to adjust. Let your new routine and medications have time to work. You will be able to handle this in time. We have complete faith in you.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.