Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis Specialist
Despite the significant pain and pressure related to interstitial cystitis, it’s a difficult diagnosis to make and providers often miss it. Dr. Tomas G. Antonini, at the Central Texas Urogynecology and Continence Center in Austin, Texas specializes in correctly diagnosing conditions such as interstitial cystitis. Once he’s confirmed your diagnosis, he develops a comprehensive treatment plan that effectively relieves your symptoms. Call the office today or use our convenient online service to schedule your appointment and find relief from this painful bladder condition.

Interstitial Cystitis Q & A

Central Texas Urogynecology and Continence Center

What is interstitial cystitis?

Aptly nicknamed “painful bladder syndrome”, interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic or long-term condition that causes mild to moderate to severe pain in the bladder and pelvic region. Symptoms may come and go and often mimic a bladder infection even though there’s no infection present. IC affects as many as 12 million people in the US. It’s often misdiagnosed since the symptoms are sometimes similar to other conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, urinary tract infection, and bladder prolapse.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of IC vary in frequency and severity. Some people experience symptoms nearly nonstop while others may go for long periods between symptomatic bouts of IC. Typical symptoms include:

  • Pain in the pelvis or between the vagina and anus
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • A persistent, urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination, as many as 60 times a day, often small amounts and occurring throughout the day and night
  • Mild to severe pain as the bladder fills with relief in the pain after urinating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

What causes IC?

The exact cause of IC is unknown, but researchers have identified a number of different factors that may contribute to the development of the condition. These theories include:

  • A defect in the bladder tissue that allows irritating substances in the urine to penetrate the bladder
  • An inflammatory cell, called a mast cell, that releases histamine and other chemicals that lead to IC/BPS symptoms
  • Dysfunction in the nerves that carry bladder sensations to the brain, causing events that are not normally painful to cause pain, such as bladder filling
  • An autoimmune-like condition that causes the body's immune system to attack the bladder lining

While not causative, there are some lifestyle habits that may worsen the symptoms, such as eating citrus fruits or undergoing significant stress at home or work. Many women also find the symptoms worsen during menstruation or after they’ve spent long periods sitting, such as on a long trip.

Foods that commonly worsen IC symptoms include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated drinks

How do you treat IC?

There is no cure for IC, but there are effective treatments for controlling many of the symptoms. A combination of therapies is recommended for most patients. Management options involve diet and other lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, medicines, neuro-stimulation, and alternative treatments.

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