What are the differences between interstitial cystitis and kidney infections? If you feel confused about their symptoms and treatments, please read this blog to get the understanding you need to make informed decisions about your urologic health.
Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis (IC) – also known as painful bladder syndrome– is a chronic health condition which affects the urinary bladder and surrounding pelvic region. It is characterized by recurring pain and discomfort in the bladder, along with frequent urination and urgency. The symptoms of IC can range from mild to severe and can impact quality of life.
Some common symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:
- Frequent urge to urinate, even when the bladder is not full.
- Pain or pressure in the pelvic area.
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Lower abdominal or back pain.
- Bladder spasms.
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely (urinary retention).
Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis
While there is no real cure for IC, there are several treatment options to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These include:
- Medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or bladder relaxants.
- Bladder instillation, which inserts medication directly into the bladder through a catheter to reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy, including pelvic floor physical exercises,to strengthen muscles and reduce pelvic pain.
- Diet modifications, such as avoiding trigger foods like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy and acidic foods.
- Bladder training, which involves gradually increasing the time between trips to the bathroom.
Symptoms of Kidney Infections
The symptoms of kidney infections, or pyelonephritis, often resemble interstitial cystitis, but the two conditions are not the same. It takes the expert assessment and diagnostic expertise of a urologist to determine if an infection is present in the bladder and if it has spread to the kidneys.
Some symptoms of kidney infections include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back pain, specifically on one side or in the upper back area
- Painful urination (a characteristic burning sensation) and urinary frequency
Treatments For Kidney infections
Bacteria in the urinary tract cause both bladder and kidney infections symptoms. As such, this condition is different from interstitial cystitis.
Depending on the results of the urinalysis performed at the urologist’s office, the doctor will select an oral antibiotic medication for the patient to take at home. Most of these prescriptions run for 10 days and must be finished completely to eradicate the bacteria in the urinary tract.
Other treatments for kidney infections include:
- Pain medication–over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort.
- Drinking plenty of water to stay well-hydrated, flush out the bacteria, and soothe the irritated urinary tract.
- Heat therapy–a heating pad or warm compress on the lower back.
- Resting as much as possible to allow the body to heal and to optimize the therapeutic effects of the antibiotics.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for treatment with intravenous (IV) antibiotics. This is reserved for those who are unable to take oral medications or who have other serious health complications.
Who Gets Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis affects more women than men. It is diagnosed in people between the ages of 30 and 40 years old, but it can occur at any age. Those who are more likely to develop interstitial cystitis include individuals who have a history of urinary tract infections (UTIs), autoimmune disorders, or other chronic pain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or fibromyalgia.
That said, the urologist must consider gender, medical history, and the results of a pelvic examination, urine culture, visualization of the interior of the bladder with cystoscopy, and other factors to determine a diagnosis.
Who Gets Kidney Infections?
Kidney infections develop more in women than men. This is because the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body) is shorter in women, making it easier for bacteria to reach and infect the urinary tract. In addition, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing a kidney infection.
People with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, are at a higher risk for kidney infections. Individuals with conditions that block or obstruct urine flow, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, may be more prone to developing them as well.
Age also may play a role in susceptibility to kidney infections. Young children and older adults develop these problems more easily due to their weaker immune systems or underlying health conditions.
Interstitial Cystitis and Kidney Infection Treatment in Sarasota, FL
Intercoastal Medical Group is a multi-specialty healthcare practice that delivers a wide range of services, including urology. Our board-certified urologist, Dr. Louis Cohen,sees his patients at our Cattleridge Medical Building I in Sarasota, FL.
To learn more about his services or to find out more about acute and chronic conditions of the kidneys and urinary tract, call our office team for an in-office consultation. You may also request an appointment online at your convenience. Come see us in Sarasota soon.