Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic inflammation (swelling) or irritation of the bladder wall. Symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Strong urge to urinate
- Discomfort while urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain
Over time, IC can also cause stiffening and scarring of the bladder and a reduction in the amount of urine the bladder can hold. IC affects more than 700,000 people in the U.S. Most sufferers are aged 30-40, although it can also occur in younger people. Women are ten times more likely than men to develop IC.
The cause of IC is not yet known, and its symptoms are similar to those of a urinary tract infection, so IC is frequently misdiagnosed. A correct diagnosis is typically made by ruling out other conditions such as STDs, bladder infection and bladder cancer. Tests may include urinalysis, urine culture, urine cytology, cystoscopy and bladder biopsy.
There is no cure for IC. Treatment varies depending on the symptoms as well as the doctor’s and patient’s preferences. Options include medicines, surgery, bladder training, physical therapy/biofeedback and diet modification. The chosen treatment(s) may be changed if results aren’t satisfactory.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse is a common condition that involves a pelvic organ moving from its normal position to push against the vaginal walls, causing pressure, stretching and pain. Women with pelvic prolapse may also experience incontinence, frequent urination or pain during intercourse.
This condition is most often caused by the strain placed on the pelvic muscles during childbirth, which commonly stretches or weakens the pelvic muscles. Other factors that put pressure on the pelvis and may lead to pelvic prolapse include being overweight, chronic cough, frequent constipation and tumors in the area.
Your doctor can diagnose this condition through a physical and pelvic examination, and by asking you questions about your symptoms and any pregnancies you have had. Treatment for this condition may vary depending on the location and severity of the prolapsed organ. Patients with mild symptoms can often treat their condition at home through Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles. Losing weight and cutting back on caffeine can also help
Cases of pelvic prolapse that do not respond to home treatments may require insertion of a pessary, a small device inserted into the vagina to relieve pain and pressure and hold the organs in place. More severe cases may benefit from surgery to repair damaged tissue, close the vagina or remove the uterus. It is important for pelvic prolapse to be thoroughly treated in order to reduce the risk of recurrence.