Cystitis is a general medical term meaning inflammation of the bladder. It can be caused by all sorts of things like infections (infectious cystitis or commonly called "bladder infections" or "UTIs"), allergies to food or environment (allergic cystitis), chronic bladder diseases (interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome), radiation after cancer surgeries (radiation cystitis), and so on. The most common form of cystitis and the one we usually all think about when trying to discern associated symptoms is infectious cystitis. But not all bladder symptoms should be treated with antibiotics, as many of us have come to expect. Read on for more information about a common imposter to the "bladder infection", one in which pain and urinary frequency can ruin someone's life.

Interstital Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a form of cystitis that causes chronic pelvic pain, urinary urgency, urinary frequency and painful sex. It is commonly found in patients with other chronic pain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis and vulvodynia (painful vulva) and therefore can easily be missed. Not all symptoms are present in every patient though. Symptoms are commonly confused with recurrent bladder infections, and many people get unnecessarily treated with antibiotics, which may interfere with their immune system and lead to real bladder infections. This syndrome is nowadays called painful bladder syndrome or bladder pain syndrome (BPS), since its causes are not well known. Unfortunately, it's cure is not well known either, since it seems to be triggered and related to many different things. It occurs in men and women, though women are much more prone to the disease. A thorough evaluation by a urogynecologist can help discern the differences in symptoms you may have. This will lead to a prompt diagnosis so that you do not have prolonged suffering. 

Click here to read more from our friends at the Interstitial Cystitis Foundation.

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