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Common Questions Answered For Bladder Pain Syndrome

Also referred to as Bladder Pain Syndrome (PBS) or Interstitial Cystitis (IC), it is a poorly understood condition that is difficult to diagnose at times. It is a chronic bladder health issue causing you to feel a lot of pain and pressure in the bladder area. Chronic inflammation of the bladder pain wall is not caused by bacteria or any other infectious microbe. Therefore, it does not respond to basic antimicrobial treatment. 

Although more common in women, it can affect both genders. It is a debilitating condition, causing much despair at times. Diagnosis and management are time-consuming. Therefore, there are a lot of queries revolving around this over the internet. We requested the best urologist in Karachi to answer some common questions relating to this syndrome. Let’s see what we found. 

How Does PBS Differ From A Normal Urinary System?

A normal urinary system comprises two kidneys that produce urine that is then stored in the bladder pain. The relaxed bladder is held in place by pelvic muscles located in the lower abdomen. Nerves around the bladder signal to your brain when it is full. The brain then signals the bladder muscles to squeeze the urine through the urethra and out of the body. This is a pain-free process. 

In PBS, it may feel like an infection of the bladder or urinary tract, but it is not. Discomfort or pressure in the bladder area may last for more than six weeks. Pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, bladder, urethra, or vagina may be felt as well along with the pressure. Urinary urgency and frequency may increase as well. 

What Are Common Symptoms Of This?

Symptoms of this syndrome may vary in severity from person to person. Pain may be constant or may come and go. Women may feel pain in the vulva or vagina, as well as the lower abdomen and bladder.  Men may feel pain in the testicles, scrotum, or rectal area. 

Urinary frequency is the most common symptom. You may need to urinate more than normal and even multiple times in one night. While urine leakage is uncommon for this condition, urinary urgency is not.

What Are Some Possible Causes?

Doctors do not yet completely understand why PBS occurs. Some possible causes include a defect in the bladder tissue which causes the bladder walls and muscles to weaken. Sometimes, there may be something in the urine that may cause this condition. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, vascular diseases, or abnormalities in your mast cells are some possible causative agents. 

Who Is At Risk For Getting This?

Anyone can get Painful Bowel Syndrome. However, if you are a woman of age greater than 30, you are more likely to have this condition. If you have any other condition that causes chronic pain, it is another risk factor. These conditions may include fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome. 

Name Some Common Tests For Diagnosing This.

Unfortunately, there are no specific tests for its diagnosis. A complete medical history needs to be taken including your fluid intake pattern throughout the day. A urinalysis, urodynamic tests, and cystoscopy to rule out bladder cancer will most likely be done. 

What Lifestyle Changes Need To Be Done After Diagnosis?

PBS has no cure. Lifestyle modifications need to be done along with some medical interventions. Dietary changes will need to be made as some foods worsen the condition. A good way to manage this is to note down what causes flare-ups. Citrus fruits and other acidic foods usually cause flare-ups in most people and therefore they must be avoided. An antacid can be taken with meals as well. Alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated beverages cause PBS symptoms. 

Walking, stretching, yoga, and light exercises are known to relieve pain symptoms. Physical therapy needs to be incorporated in your routine to reduce symptoms of this. Stress is known to trigger flare-ups. Learning to manage this stress either by yourself or via help from a healthcare professional may ease the triggers. 

How Do Bladder Stretching And Instillation Work?

Bladder instillation is a treatment technique in which DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) is instilled into the bladder using a catheter. DMSO is a steroid and a numbing medication. It blocks pain and removes free radicals that can damage tissue. This is usually done under anesthesia. 

Bladder stretching or hydrodistension fills the bladder pain with water, stretching it to full capacity. Relief from pain and urinary frequency is achieved in many patients after the procedure

Final Thoughts

It is a common condition causing much discomfort to the one experiencing it. It is necessary that you have regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider and follow the right treatment protocol for relief. Lifestyle modifications along with this will make your life easier. 

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