Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Interstitial Cystitis Treatment?
Our experienced urologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital will evaluate and analyze each patient's affection and create personalized treatment plans. Additionally, our specialists have access to some of the most effective and innovative medical techniques available, which help them cure the patients' conditions and alleviate their symptoms effectively.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic bladder condition that causes symptoms of pain and pressure in the bladder area. The bladder and kidneys are the organs responsible for creating, storing and passing urine. The bladder is an empty muscular organ located on the pelvic floor that expands as it gets filled with urine sending signals to the brain when it’s time to go to the bathroom. When affected by interstitial cystitis, the feeling of needing to urinate will occur more often, and it may be followed by a painful urinating process. In some cases, the patients can also experience pelvic pain. The pain associated with IC can lead to emotional stress which, in turn, can lead to depression. Although it can affect both sexes, interstitial cystitis is more common in women, with symptoms getting worse during menstruation.
Surgical Procedures Performed at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Interstitial Cystitis
Surgery is rarely used, as removing the bladder can lead to other complications and does not relieve the pain, with some patients actually feeling worse after undergoing surgery. Generally, surgery is reserved for patients with severe pain or with bladders that can only hold small amounts of urine, but only after other methods of treatment have failed. If surgery is the only option, these are the most common procedures:
- Fulguration: This is a minimally invasive surgery and it involves inserting a needle-like electrode through the urethra in order to burn off ulcers that can appear inside the bladder as a symptom of IC.
- Resection: Also a minimally invasive surgery, the resection procedure involves inserting instruments through the urethra in order to cut around the ulcers.
- Bladder augmentation: This procedure aims to improve the bladder’s capacity to store an increased volume of urine and to help reduce pressure. During this procedure, a part of the bladder has to be replaced by a piece of bowel. Sometimes this can result in the patient needing a catheter to empty their bladder.
Drugs and Other Treatments Needed for Interstitial Cystitis
There is no standard method of treatment for IC as different people respond to different types of therapy, so our doctors may suggest trying different techniques or a combination of treatments before finding the right approach. Some of these treatments include:
Oral Medications »
Physical Therapy »
Medication Instilled Into The Bladder »
Nerve Stimulation »
Bladder Distention »
There is only one type of interstitial cystitis which can sometimes present similar symptoms to a urinary tract infection, but the difference is that interstitial cystitis is not associated with an infection and does not have a clear cause.
Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis
When it comes to interstitial cystitis, every patient experiences different symptoms that can vary in time such as:
- Pain in the pelvic area;
- Pain in the perineum for men (the area between the scrotum and anus);
- Feeling the need to urinate often;
- Urgency to urinate;
- Feeling pain when urinating;
- Feeling a burning sensation when urinating;
- Feeling pain during sexual intercourse;
Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis
In order to diagnose IC, the doctor will perform a series of tests:
- Medical history: The patients will be asked to describe their symptoms. The doctor can also advise the patients to keep a record of the volume of fluids they drink and the volume of urine that they pass.
- Pelvic exam: The doctor will examine the genitals and abdomen to check for tenderness or any abnormal growths. He may also have to examine the anus and rectum.
- Urine sample: The patient will be required to give a urine sample in order to exclude other disorders, such as urinary tract infections.
- Cystoscopy: A cystoscope will be inserted through the urethra in order for the doctor to examine the lining of the bladder. During this procedure, the doctor may also perform a test to measure the bladder’s capacity to store urine.
- Biopsy: This procedure can also be done during cystoscopy by removing a small sample of tissue from the bladder and urethra in order to check for bladder cancer or other causes of bladder pain.
- Urine cytology: This is a test used to look for abnormal cells in the urine that can help rule out bladder cancer.
- Potassium chloride sensitivity test: This test consists of placing two different solutions (potassium chloride and water), one at a time, into the bladder through a catheter. The patient will then be asked to rate the pain he feels after each solution reaches the bladder. If the patient feels pain when potassium chloride is present in their bladder, then the diagnosis may be interstitial cystitis because people with healthy bladders feel no difference between the two solutions.
Risk Factors for Interstitial Cystitis
These are some of the risk factors that have been associated with interstitial cystitis:
- Age: Most people diagnosed with IC are over 30 years old.
- A person’s sex: Women are diagnosed with IC up to five times more often than men. In men, the same symptoms are most often associated with prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland).
- Chronic pain disorder: IC has also been associated with having a chronic pain disorder like fibromyalgia.
Causes of Interstitial Cystitis
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is not known, but there are a number of factors that may contribute to its development. Some of these factors can be:
- Having bladder trauma after a pelvic surgery;
- Having a defect in the bladder tissue that can allow irritating substances found in the urine to penetrate the bladder.
- Hypersensitivity of pelvic nerves.
- Inflammatory bowel disease also has a very high association with interstitial cystitis.
Some patients have found alternative treatments to be beneficial for alleviating their symptoms, although they have not been scientifically confirmed. Some of these treatments include:
- Going vegan: By changing your eating habits and cutting out processed foods will eliminate all of the foods that usually cause chronic conditions.
- Buchu tea: This tea has diuretic and antiseptic properties that can be beneficial for the urinary tract.
- Calcium citrate: This substance can decrease the irritation of the bladder.
- Pilates: These exercises can help strengthen the pelvic muscles and reduce pelvic pain.
- Acupuncture: This ancient technique can be beneficial for patients suffering from interstitial cystitis as it can relieve their pain.
Since the cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, there are no guidelines for preventing it. However, there are certain lifestyle strategies that can help with symptom relief:
- Cut out foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder. Foods and drinks like carbonated drinks, chocolate, spicy foods are known to worsen the symptoms of IC.
- Wear loose clothing as this can reduce the pressure that is put on the abdomen and thus help with pelvic pain.
- Stretching exercises can also help reduce certain symptoms related to IC.
- Stop smoking as it can worsen any pain symptom and it can also contribute to bladder cancer.
Do you suspect you might be suffering from Interstitial Cystitis? You can always learn more about urinary conditions and how to treat and cure them by getting in touch with our highly-skilled urologists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.