Interstitial Cystitis has been an illness that has been misdiagnosed and undiagnosed in many people over the years. Times are changing in the medical community and more urologists are recognizing IC as a real chronic illness. But there are still other conditions that Interstitial Cystitis can be misdiagnosed for.
Overactive bladder occurs when abnormal nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time. This makes the muscles squeeze without warning, and can cause patients to lose control of their bladder.
Symptoms of overactive bladder can include the need to urinate suddenly, which are common symptoms in IC Disease. The website All About IC reports that in a small study of less than 100 people who were diagnosed with overactive bladder over half actually had evidence that they had Interstitial Cystitis.
Urinary Tract Infections affect millions of people each year with most of them being women. A woman has a 1 in 5 chance of getting a UTI at some point in her life.
UTIs are caused by bacterial infections in the urinary tract, typically E.Coli. Common symptoms of UTIs include the urge to urinate frequently, pain or burning during urination, and an uncomfortable pressure or pain in the pelvic area. These are all symptoms of IC Disease. The difference with IC Disease is that no bacteria is present upon urine testing.
For years I was diagnosed (at least twice a year) with UTIs. Now I know that it was the IC. If you are treated for a UTI but you find your symptoms return frequently, check with a urologist to see if you possibly have IC Disease.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus. Patients with unresolved, chronic or persistent endometriosis often report chronic pain, usually in the pelvic area or lower back. They may experience painful urination, especially during their periods, and pain during or after sex. Other common symptoms of unresolved endometriosis may include painful or heavy periods, painful bowel movements during menstruation, and fatigue. Most of these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis.
Some women with endometriosis will have their entire uterus removed in order to have relief. If she is still not getting any relief or the symptoms do not go away, IC may be suspected. That would be awful for a woman to go through a surgery like that just to have the same symptoms returned, but it happens with IC. Women who have symptoms after the surgery have what is called unresolved endometriosis.
In a study of 60 patients at a regional pelvic pain center, 80% of women had both endometriosis and IC at the same time, which is why treating the endometriosis alone often may not relieve the pain.
Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix. It is a very common condition that will affect more than half of adult women during their life. Cervicitis is typically caused by infection, sexually-transmitted diseases or strep. If the cervix is irritated by a cervical cap or diaphragm, even normal vaginal bacteria can cause cervicitis.
Some symptoms of cervicitis can mimic IC, such as vaginal pain, pain during or after sex, and a feeling of pressure or heaviness in the pelvis.
Cervicitis can be treated and healed by treating whatever originally caused the problem (infection, STD, etc.) If you are being treated for chronic cervicitis, have your doctor check to see if you might possibly have IC Disease.
Vulvodyniais a chronic pain condition of the vaginal area that affects the external female genitalia, including the vagina, the labia, and the clitoris. The pain in Vulvodynia may be described as stabbing, burning, stinging, irritating, a dull and sharp ache around the vaginal opening. There is no infection found in women with Vulvodynia as a cause.
Symptoms of Vulvodynia that mimic that of IC Disease include chronic pain in the pelvic area, including the lower belly, the vagina, the perineum, and even the inner thighs. The pain may be continuous or intermittent. It may become more intense during a woman’s period, during sex, or after sex. For some women, the pain is sharp and localized, while for others, it feels more like an ache or a burning sensation.
It is possible that IC may be a cause of Vulvodynia for some women. The causes of Vulvodynia are unknown and this condition too can be difficult to diagnose.