Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome

Interstitial cystitis is a painful chronic condition of the bladder that affects quality of life for millions of women. While there is no cure for the condition, our San Antonio OBGYNs can provide treatment and relief.

This issue causes chronic inflammation and irritation of the bladder, which causes the bladder to stiffen and become unable to expand when it fills with urine. Normally, when the bladder is full, nerves in the bladder signal the brain that it’s time to urinate. Women with interstitial cystitis will not get these signals. Instead, they will feel like they need to urinate more frequently and may only pass a small amount of urine when they do.

Risk factors

Researchers and physicians don’t know what causes interstitial cystitis. However, they do know that certain factors increase a woman’s risk of developing this condition.

  • Women are more prone to develop the condition than men.
  • Interstitial cystitis usually occurs in women age 30 and older.
  • Women who have red hair and/or fair skin may be at higher risk.
  • Women who have fibromyalgia, IBS or other chronic pain disorders may be more at risk.

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis

When a woman develops this condition, she may think that it’s a urinary tract infection. However, when she comes to our San Antonio OBGYNs for diagnosis, her urinalysis will indicate there isn’t an infection.

One of the primary symptoms is pain. A woman may notice that her pelvic area or the area between her vagina and anus is painful. She may have chronic pelvic pain or pain when she is having sex. Another hallmark is a feeling of discomfort or pain as the bladder begins to fill up with urine, with the pain going away after urination.

Certain urinary symptoms are distinguishing characteristics of interstitial cystitis. Women note that they feel an urgent need to urinate. They feel the need to urinate quite frequently, yet when they do, they may only produce a small amount of urine.

Diagnosis and treatment

There is no definitive test to diagnose interstitial cystitis. Our San Antonio OBGYNs will order a urinalysis to rule out other problems, such as a urinary tract infection. We ask our patients to keep a record of how often they urinate and the volume of urine passed each time. Our team also wants to know how much fluid they drink each day. In some cases, we may refer our patients to a urologist for further testing.

There are several ways to treat the symptoms of interstitial cystitis.

  • Dietary changes
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve stimulation

Our San Antonio OBGYNs are here to help women with interstitial cystitis find relief. If you are suffering from a painful bladder, it’s time to get help. Contact us today.