You have been having the pain and discomfort for awhile now. You know that something just isn’t right, though you tend to dismiss it as a bladder infection. Seeing as bladder infections are common and easy to treat for the most part, this seems like a natural diagnosis and therefore you settle on it. The problem is that what you have written off as bladder infections tend to keep coming back. Worse than that is that you are experiencing the pain all the time, and sometimes at the most inopportune times at that which can make life in general very difficult—you know that it’s time to get yourself some help now!
This is often the pattern for so many people who suffer from interstitial cystitis, and it can be very frustrating. This is one of those health conditions for which a lot of research is needed, for some doctors don’t even fully understand it. As the patient you want help and you want to get rid of these horrible pains, but you can’t seem to make them subside. You have to know that there is help to be found, and that education is a big part of this.
Not only is education needed on the patient side, but even with doctors so that improper diagnoses don’t continue to happen. Let’s start by understanding exactly what interstitial cystitis is so that there is no question if you are somebody who suffers from it.
The Signs and Symptoms Become Obvious and Point To This Condition Over Time
You may not necessarily even know the name, but interstitial cystitis is a condition for which you will become very familiar with. Quite simply put this is a painful bladder syndrome or disorder. It is a chronic condition and that means that it plagues you over the course of time.
You may have flare ups and then not experience the symptoms for awhile, but it is always there even if it seems to be on hiatus for awhile. In this chronic condition you will experience symptoms such as bladder pressure, bladder pain, and often a great deal of pelvic pain.
This pain and the discomfort associated with this condition may range from mild to severe, but the flare ups will continue to come from time to time and therefore you know that something is amiss. In a normally functioning bladder the brain will send signals to the rest of the body that it’s time to urinate, and the need is easily met. With this particular condition though, the signals and the whole process is just thrown off. You may feel the urge to urinate more frequently and you may never feel as though you are ever able to properly relieve yourself when you do go.
The signals can easily get mixed up with interstitial cystitis and therefore it’s a sudden and very urgent need to urinate, and then the need is never met—which leads to a very frustrating cycle and decreased quality of life for the person who is suffering from it too!
What Is Going On and What Leads To This Problem?
What many people don’t realize is that interstitial cystitis can truly affect anybody. Some patients find that they have been coping with it for years before they get a full and proper diagnosis. It can affect men, though it tends to show up more frequently in women. It can present itself during sexual intercourse or even urination, and it is usually this pain that shows that something is amiss and therefore points to this condition. Though there is not necessarily a particular or specific cure for this condition, there are things that a patient can do to minimize how much it affects the patient directly.
One of the most frustrating parts of living with interstitial cystitis is that the true cause is not necessarily known. There are some risk factors or contributing elements which may lead to the problem or point to it, but there is still so much that must be understood about this condition.
One thing that is known for sure is that those who suffer from interstitial cystitis often have a defect in the protective lining of the bladder. A leak within the epithelium as this lining is known can allow germs and toxic substances into the bladder wall—and thus the irritation and the overall cycle begins and continues on over time.
Being Aware of What May Cause This Or Contribute To It Can Always Help
There are some risk factors to be aware of which can contribute to this condition overall. Some of these are still under study and therefore aren’t necessarily proven. What you want to realize is that any information may be good information here, and so it may be good to be aware of these moving forward. Those who develop or suffer from interstitial cystitis may often have a weakened immune system or even a reaction associated with it.
You may be at risk of developing it if you have it in your family history, or even if you have an infection that goes untreated or an allergic reaction. It just goes to show that being your own best advocate as a patient is the only way to get yourself the treatment that you need. These may not necessarily be direct causes, but they can certainly contribute to the likelihood that it could show up at some point in time.
You may even find that interstitial cystitis is associated with your gender as women tend to get it more readily than men. So too does the fact that age can play into it, for those over the age of 40 tend to be at a greater risk for developing it. If you have had a chronic infection or series of them over time, this can be a problem or put you at greater risk too. These are not absolute reasons or causes, but knowing what puts you at risk can certainly help you to get a handle on interstitial cystitis and move forward with your life.