Pain

The Stages of Interstitial Cystitis

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What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition characterized by bladder pain, bladder pressure, urinary frequency and urgency, bladder incontinence, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse. The symptoms can range from mild to severe discomfort, and from persistent to infrequent. It is possible for some individuals to have periods of remission. There is no test to diagnose this condition, it is a diagnosis of exclusion.

The Stages of InterstitialCystitis
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic condition that is variable, including periods of flares and remissions. Symptoms can fluctuate.

MILD
Interstitial cystitis typically begins with mild and intermittent symptoms, which often leads to it being misdiagnosed. The beginning stage of interstitial cystitis consists of frequent urination and occasional bladder pain. Uncomfortable sexual intercourse may be experienced during bladder pain flare-ups. Symptoms are typically mild during this stage and do not last for long periods of time. Symptoms have a slow onset at the beginning of the disease.

MODERATE
Symptoms become moderate during the progression of interstitial cystitis. Voiding hourly and/or post void urgency becomes frequent. Pain cycles will occur suddenly and are often intense. Moderate symptoms will generally occur after painful intercourse and may last between three to fourteen days before subsiding slightly. Pressure and pain may be felt around the bladder or pelvic area. Medical care is typically sought during this phase.

SEVERE
Severe interstitial cystitis is associated with flare-ups that become numerous during a short period of time and last for weeks or even months. Sexual intercourse becomes extremely painful and causes excruciating flare-ups. Symptoms become significant and development of urgent incontinence is experienced. Women will often see an increase in symptoms the week before and during their menstrual cycle. Decreased bladder capacity may occur due to physical damage to the bladder wall. During this stage, pain may become debilitating.


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