Interstitial Cystitis Urologist - Dr. Angelo Gousse, MD
Interstitial cystitis is a medical term to describe Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. You can probably figure out how it feels to get this bladder condition from the name alone. The condition makes you want to urinate at least eight times per day. Meanwhile, you’ll feel a significant amount of pain and pressure in the bladder area. It won’t be a comfortable experience.
You might think you have a bladder infection because the pain and urinary urgency will feel intense. However, interstitial cystitis is different than a bladder infection because it is the inflammation or irritation of the bladder walls and muscles. The people who typically develop interstitial cystitis have poor diets and tight clothing. The reason is that anytime you put pressure or stress on the pelvic area, you are susceptible to getting interstitial cystitis.
No one wants to deal with a frequent urge to urinate. But it is even worse when you have to tolerate a burning sensation in your bladder at the same time. Sometimes the pain is experienced in the genital area, especially when you have sex. All of these symptoms are good reasons to be concerned. It is best to seek help from a qualified urologist immediately.
You might not even realize you have interstitial cystitis when it exists. Even though the symptoms could exist, it is easy to disregard them without thinking twice. For example, urinary urgency is one of the most overlooked symptoms. People assume they have to urinate frequently because it’s part of getting older. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that the symptoms could be part of something much more severe.
Visit a urologist and get tested as soon as you experience urinary urgency or pain. There is no actual test to diagnose interstitial cystitis, but the doctor can rule out other possible causes of your experienced symptoms. That way, the doctor can pinpoint whether interstitial cystitis is the only possible reason left to consider.
Think about whether you eat inflammatory foods that irritate the bladder, such as acidic foods. Then, ask your urologist if they believe inflammatory foods could be the cause of your problem. Your urologist may agree with the possibility of foods being linked to the problem, but they will still want to run some other tests anyway.
Your doctor will usually start the treatment process with prescription medications. There is one FDA-approved medication for treating interstitial cystitis symptoms. The drug is called ELMIRON (also known as pentosan polysulfate), and it is formulated to ease the tension on your bladder wall. Then you shouldn’t feel as much bladder discomfort or spasms.
If the oral medications fail to reduce the symptoms, bladder instillation is the next viable treatment option. Bladder instillation is where the urologist uses a catheter to place liquid medications into your bladder. These medications are formulated to reduce muscle spasms and swelling in the bladder.
More advanced treatment is pelvic floor physical therapy. You will undergo physical therapy to teach yourself to reduce the stress put on your pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapy is done in conjunction with digital monitoring of the responses from your body. That is how you can learn how to control the tension you inadvertently put on your pelvic muscles.
Sacral nerve stimulation therapy is a last resort for treatment. The doctor implants a small device into your lower back, sending small electrical currents to your spinal sacral nerves. These electrical currents are meant to control your bladder by reducing the urge to urinate. If all the other treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend this therapy option.
Your diet and clothing are the two most significant lifestyle changes you need to make. First, eliminate all acidic foods and dairy products from your diet or at least as much as possible. You could also consume over-the-counter acid reflux tablets to combat the problem too. Other foods and beverages to eliminate from your diet are carbonated drinks, caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, and tart foods.
In some cases, tight jeans or pants could be putting too much pressure on your pelvic muscles. So consider loosening your belt or switching to ballroom jeans with a modified crotch gusset for extra comfort for your pelvic area. These might seem like minor lifestyle changes, but they can make a significant difference.
If your urinary urgency and pain disappear after a few weeks, then you’ll know that food or tight clothing was the cause of your interstitial cystitis. So consider practicing lifestyle changes before getting advanced therapy treatments or medications. That way, you can know whether your lifestyle caused you to develop interstitial cystitis.
Do you want to determine whether you have interstitial cystitis or something else with similar symptoms? Call our office at (954) 362-2720 to set up an appointment at Gousse Urology for a physical examination.