Interstitial cystitis (IC), commonly called painful bladder syndrome is a condition that leads to acute pain and discomfort in the bladder and the pelvic region surrounding the bladder. Its symptoms vary widely from person to person.
People may experience tenderness, pressure, mild discomfort, or even intense pain in the bladder and surrounding region. Other common symptoms include urgent need to urinate, frequent urge to urinate, or a combination of both conditions. Also, the intensity of the pain changes as the urine gets filled with the bladder or gets emptied.
In the case of women, these symptoms may often get worse at the time of menstruation. Women may sometimes experience pain during vaginal intercourse too. Because of such varied symptoms and severity, most of the researchers believe that it is not a single disease but several diseases. Hence, scientists started using the term painful bladder syndrome (PBS) instead of interstitial cystitis (IC). PBS includes all cases of urinary pain that cannot be attributed to other reasons or causes like urinary stones or infection.
Symptoms of PBS resemble those of bacterial infection, but when medical tests are done no organisms were found in the urine of the patients with PBS. Also, such patients do not respond to antibiotics. In recent studies, researchers have isolated a substance, which is found exclusively in the urine of PBS patients. That exclusive substance is termed as antiproliferative factor or APF. It is concluded that it appears to block normal growth of the cells of the lining of the inside wall of the bladder.
When to visit a doctor?
If you are experiencing chronic bladder pain or urinary urgency and frequency, contact your doctor.
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