Awareness Color: Teal
Awareness Month: September
Interstitial cystitis, or bladder pain syndrome (commonly abbreviated to "IC/BPS"), is a chronic, often severely debilitating disease of the urinary bladder. Of unknown cause, it is characterized by: pain associated with the bladder, pain associated with urination (dysuria), urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, and/or pressure in the bladder and/or pelvis.
This disease has a profound impact on quality of life and can be quite disabling. Interstitial cystitis patients may have a quality of life that resembles that of a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic cancer pain, or a patient on kidney dialysis.The condition is officially recognized as a disability.
It is not unusual for patients to have been misdiagnosed with a variety of other conditions, including: overactive bladder, urethritis, urethral syndrome,trigonitis, prostatitis, and other generic terms used to describe frequency/urgency symptoms in the urinary tract. IC is recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, often associated with urinary frequency (needing to go often) and urgency (feeling a strong need to go).
IC can affect anyone. More than 4 million people in the US have IC. Over 3 million of them are women.
Common symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Urinary discomfort
- Urinary frequency (up to 60 times a day in severe cases)
- Urinary urgency
There is no cure for IC, and there are no standard treatments that are known to be effective for most patients. Results vary from person to person. Treatment is based on trial and error until you find relief.
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