The symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person. They can also occur in cycles. Some people experience periods of intense symptoms followed by periods of remission. Pain can be severe enough to keep people from working or even walking.
Symptoms can include:
- Discomfort, pain, or pressure in the bladder or pelvic area when the bladder is full and relief when the bladder is emptied
- Urgent need to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate (up to 60 times per day in severe cases)
- Pain during and after intercourse
- Blood and pus in the urine
- Men with pain in testes, groin, or tip of penis
- Nocturia (urination at night, especially when excessive) from once to over 12 times every night
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. In addition, your urine will be tested for pus and bacteria. If bacteria are present in the urine, you will likely be diagnosed with acute cystitis—a typical bladder infection. If no bacteria are present, your doctor will likely do other tests.
A diagnosis of interstitial cystitis will only be made after other conditions have been ruled out and a cystoscopy with bladder distention has been done. This consists of distending (stretching) the bladder to its full capacity by instilling liquids through the cystoscope. If interstitial cystitis is present, there will be characteristic changes in the wall of the bladder following this distension (usually called glomerulations, or occasionally Hunner's ulcers). These findings are usually interpreted as confirming a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis. Random biopsy of the bladder might be performed if any abnormality seen.
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