Painful Bladder Syndrome
Have you ever felt pressure, pain, a burning feeling or discomfort coming from your bladder area that is associated with the need and/or urge to urinate? Does this happen every now and then or is it frequent and severe? If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then it could time to explore Interstitial Cystitis (in-tur-STISH-ul sis-TI-tis), which is commonly known as Painful Bladder Syndrome, with your urologist.
Painful Bladder Syndrome is a chronic condition that can range from mild and to severe, causing a negative effect on your quality of life. Women, men and children can all have this syndrome, but mostly women are affected. The intensity of the symptoms can vary from relief to chronic pain. It is estimated that 3.3 million women and 1.6 million men suffer from some form of Painful Bladder Syndrome.
How do I know if I have it?
The common symptoms are pressure, pain in the bladder region and the need or urge to urinate often is pain associated with your bladder filling up. Consistently feeling the urge to urinate, (during the night as well), without infection is a red flag that Painful Bladder Syndrome might be present. Symptoms vary from patient to patient and some have reported that even after urination, the urge continues. Pain can worsen during a woman’s menstrual cycle, and is sometimes felt in other areas within the region, such as the urethra, lower abdomen, etc. Men can feel pain in their scrotum or penis as well. Often patients can identify certain foods or behavior, such as sexual activity that trigger their symptoms.
What causes Painful Bladder Syndrome?
This topic is being researched around the world. At this moment, it is believed there could be a few causes:
- A defect in the lining of the bladder.
- Something in the urine that damages the bladder.
- The nerves within the bladder receiving mixed up messages and telling the body that the bladder is full when it is not.
- An immune system disorder in which the immune system begins to attack the body.
- Inflammatory mast cells releasing histamine into the bladder and creating symptoms
Is there a cure or treatment?
There is no cure at this time and only treatment can provide relief. Treatment will vary and will be tailored to each unique patient. Treatments include a wide range of therapies, including oral medications, surgery, bladder instillation, electrical stimulation and possibly surgery. Only you and your urologist can determine the best therapies for your body.
What do I next if I suspect Painful Bladder Syndrome?
First, make an appointment with your urologist to discuss Painful Bladder Syndrome and to examine the possibilities of other conditions being present. There are no precise Painful Bladder Syndrome tests available as no one test can help make a diagnosis. Your urologist will use history and a variety of tests that are appropriate based on your symptoms. Before you visit your physician, keep a record of your symptoms by date, time, activity and what you ate. This will help your physician in finding a clear diagnosis.