Pelvic pain can indicate any of several conditions. And since many of these share symptoms with one another, the only way to know for certain what you’re dealing with is to seek an expert diagnosis from a qualified medical professional like Dr. Khashayar Shakiba at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey in Hackensack.
As a board-certified urogynecologist, he specializes in the complex problems that occur with the female reproductive system, including interstitial cystitis. Here are some of the most common signs you might be suffering from this condition.
Signs of interstitial cystitis
The symptoms of interstitial cystitis often mirror those of other conditions, such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney stones
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Overactive bladder
- Bladder cancer
Dr. Shakiba runs tests, such as a pelvic ultrasound, biopsy, uroflowmetry, urinalysis, and others to rule out all other causes of your symptoms before developing a diagnosis. If he diagnoses one of these other conditions, he discusses your treatment options for it with you.
Classic interstitial cystitis symptoms vary in frequency and intensity from woman to woman, but they typically include the following five problems:
1. Chronic pelvic pain
When you have interstitial cystitis, you feel a distinct pressure in your lower abdomen in the area of your bladder. You may feel it constantly or after a triggering event, such as intercourse, menstruation, or a spicy meal.
2. Frequent urination
Interstitial cystitis inflames and irritates the walls of your bladder and eventually results in scar tissue that hardens the bladder and makes it less flexible. No longer able to stretch and hold much urine, your bladder feels full when it’s not, and you feel the need to urinate up to 60 times throughout the day.
3. Painful sex
The inflammation and pelvic pain from interstitial cystitis makes it hard to enjoy sex, as intercourse exacerbates the pain.
4. Urinary urgency
In addition to frequent urination, you may also find that when the urge to urinate hits, it feels like an emergency. That’s because the nerves in your bladder that normally send a signal to your brain alerting it that it’s time to go, send mixed messages when you have interstitial cystitis. You may think you have an urgent need to urinate, only to find out that you actually only had a few drops of urine to release.
5. Perineal pain
The area between your vagina and anus is called the perineum, and it often becomes tender or painful when you have interstitial cystitis.
Who gets interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is most common among fair-skinned women over the age of 30. About 12% of women show early signs. Although men can suffer from it as well, it’s far less common. No one knows for sure what causes this condition or why some people get it and others don’t, but some theories suspect the following factors:
- Nerve disorder
- Autoimmune reaction
- Damaged bladder lining
- Allergic reaction
- Urine contents
If Dr. Shakiba determines you have interstitial cystitis, he helps you navigate a wide range of treatments that can help you live with this incurable chronic condition. From nutritional and lifestyle changes, to pain medication, Botox® injections, and even minimally invasive surgical intervention, he can help you find relief from your symptoms so you can live your life more comfortably.
If you suspect you’re suffering from interstitial cystitis, schedule a consultation at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey using our online booking tool, or call us at 201-301-2772 today.