Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Interstitial cystitis facts
- Overview of urinary function
- What is interstitial cystitis (IC)?
- What is the cause of interstitial cystitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis?
- How is interstitial cystitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of interstitial cystitis?
- Are lifestyle modifications of value in managing interstitial cystitis?
- Are there any special concerns about interstitial cystitis?
- What is the prognosis (outcome) of interstitial cystitis?
- Patient Comments: Interstitial Cystitis - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Interstitial Cystitis - Symptoms and Signs
- Find a local Urologist in your town
Interstitial cystitis facts
- PBS/IC is an inflammatory disease of the bladder that can cause ulceration and bleeding of the bladder's lining and can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder.
- The symptoms of PBS/IC are pelvic pain as well as urinary frequency and urgency.
- PBS/IC has a variable clinical course, meaning that symptoms can appear and disappear over time. Moreover, the intensity of symptoms varies among individuals and even within the same individual over time.
- The cause of PBS/IC is unknown, but abnormalities in the leakiness or structure of the lining of the bladder are believed to play a role in the development of PBS/IC.
- The diagnosis of PBS/IC is based on the symptoms, an abnormal potassium sensitivity test (PST), and elimination of other conditions that may be responsible for the symptoms.
- Treatment for PBS/IC most commonly utilizes heparinoid drugs to help restore integrity of the bladder lining along with other oral medications. Bladder distension and intravesical drug therapy are other treatments that may provide relief in PBS/IC.
Overview of urinary function
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown organs, are located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove water and waste from the blood in the form of urine, keeping a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood. The kidneys also produce erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the formation of red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a triangle-shaped, muscular chamber in the lower abdomen. Like a balloon, the bladder's muscular, elastic walls relax and expand to store urine and contract and flatten when urine is emptied through the urethra. The typical adult bladder can store about 1 ½ cups of urine.
Adults urinate about 1 ½ quarts of urine each day. The amount of urine varies depending on the fluids and foods a person consumes. The volume formed at night is about half that formed during the day.
Normal urine contains fluids, salts and waste products, but it is free of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The tissues of the bladder are isolated from urine and toxic substances by a coating on the inside of the bladder that discourages bacteria from attaching and growing on the bladder wall.
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