Understanding Interstitial Cystitis: Symptoms and Causes
Interstitial Cystitis (PBS/IC) is a chronic condition that causes bladder pressure and a persistent feeling of discomfort to severe pain lasting for more than six weeks. The condition is a part of a spectrum of diseases known as painful bladder syndrome.
Symptoms include pelvic pain and a need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than regular. As the kidneys produce urine, it travels down two tubes called ureters to the bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular sac in the pelvis lined by layers of muscle tissue that stretch to hold urine, allowing urination to be controlled in terms of frequency and continence. In normal working conditions, the bladder sends a signal to the brain through the pelvic nerves that it’s time to urinate, creating the well-known urge to urinate. In the case of interstitial cystitis, the signals become amalgamated and there is a need and urgency to urinate more often, with smaller volumes of urine, with various degrees of pain each time.
The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person
Individuals may experience varying signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis, but the condition predominantly affects women
The symptoms will often come and go in phases and may vary over time, in terms of intensity or frequency, activated in response to common triggers. People may report episodes lasting days, weeks or months where symptoms improve, followed by times when they’re worse.
The most common triggers are:
- menstruation (for women)
- sitting for a long time
- sexual activity
Interstitial cystitis signs and symptoms will include:
- Pain in the pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women
- Pain between the scrotum and anus in men (perineum)
- Chronic pelvic pain
- A persistent, urgent and frequent need to urinate
- Frequent urination, often of small amounts, throughout the day and night (up to 60 times a day)
- Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis sometimes resemble symptoms of a chronic urinary tract infection, yet there’s no infection. However, symptoms may worsen if a person with interstitial cystitis gets a urinary tract infection.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as an Effective Treatment for Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis can have a significant impact on lifestyle, work, emotional health and relationships. There is no confirmed treatment strategy for painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis (PBS/IC), although a number of treatments can be tried, with good feedback, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is a non-invasive treatment.
HBOT is effective for resistant interstitial cystitis symptoms
Various studies have been carried out to evaluate the efficacy and safety of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for patients resistant to conventional therapy for interstitial cystitis. HBOT is found to be well tolerated and has demonstrated persistent improvement in specific symptoms. HBOT provided and maintained amelioration of pain, urgency and urinary frequency for at least 12 months, with stable symptoms for more than two years.
The benefits of HBOT include:
- Reduced urgency of having to urinate
- Increased bladder capacity
- Minimized pain
- Reduced inflammation
- Relieved symptoms
How HBOT accelerates tissue healing
“The mechanism of action underlying HBO treatment is attributed to hyper-saturation of the plasma with dissolved oxygen. This gives rise to an increased concentration gradient between the circulation and surrounding tissues, allowing oxygen to enter damaged hypoxic urothelial tissues. HBO treatment accelerates growth of healthy granulation in injured tissues via stimulation of leukocytic functions including phagocytosis and production of growth factors related to angiogenesis. [13,14].”
Published by National Library of Medicine (USA)
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