IC or bladder-pain syndrome — a multi-symptom condition

February 23, 2012

Bladder, Health Concerns, Pain

While IC, newly renamed “bladder-pain syndrome,” appears to be more prevalent among females from the teenage years and up, plenty of men also are affected.

by K. Pocai — 

For many sufferers of interstitial cystitis (IC), an inflammatory bladder condition, the diagnosis is insignificant. However, it is often the unrelenting layers of symptoms and pain that can bring people to their knees.

While IC, newly renamed “bladder-pain syndrome,” appears to be more prevalent among females from the teenage years and up, plenty of men also are affected. The condition is seemingly on the rise, as more individuals are reporting symptoms suggestive of IC to their physicians. There is more awareness of IC in the medical community, but disappointingly, a cure has not followed.

Not only is IC described by those affected as debilitating and painful, but it is also a qualifying diagnosis for receiving Social Security disability benefits. To put this somewhat obscure disease in perspective, it has been said by a renowned national medical foundation that the IC patient’s quality of life is comparable to that of a patient in Stage IV renal failure.

The diagnosis of interstitial cystitis is made after the patient has undergone a bladder distension cystoscopy by a qualified urologist who may find glomerulations on the bladder mucosal lining or may detect no visible abnormalities in the bladder wall. In the latter scenario, IC may still become the patient’s diagnosis, based on symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency, sometimes requiring dozens of trips to the bathroom in a 24-hour period.

This can lead to sleeplessness, bladder spasms and painful reactions to different foods, incomplete and burning or painful voiding, and urethral pain upon voiding. A person can experience one or all of the symptoms associated with IC, and due to the very nature of the bladder’s role in the body, there is often no respite from the combination of symptoms.

The diagnosis of interstitial cystitis — meaning inflammation of the interstitial tissues of the bladder, urethra and pelvic area — is often met with alarm when the patient is told that there is no cure for IC. Symptoms can be treated (sometimes successfully), with medications such as Elmiron®, ProSed®, FloMax® and amitriptyline prescribed by medical doctors and urologists. It is not uncommon for some patients to accept a routine of home catheterization, painkillers and heavy sedation to simply endure another day.

Some individuals facing the unbearable reality of chronic and overwhelming discomfort wish for a better prognosis than absence of cure and prescription medications that only mask the symptoms. Because it is a disease caused by multiple factors, IC is not a natural state of health and is not due to a prescription drug deficiency.

There is hope for those affected by IC to recover and live normal lives. It can be a painstakingly long process to uncover the layers of causes that contributed to the diagnosis, and there is not one specific protocol that will be successful for each person. Recovery requires a commitment to uncover which of the many possible factors apply and to dedicate efforts to remove the obstacles to healing and thus gain better health.


K. Pocai is a healing and wellness coach offering support to those experiencing complex conditions or those simply seeking assistance in achieving optimal wellness through lifestyle changes employing a variety of techniques. 602-518-0062 or health-coach@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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