The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown organs, are located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove liquid waste from the blood in the form of urine, keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood, and produce erythropoietin, a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a triangle-shaped chamber in the lower abdomen. Like a balloon, the bladder’s elastic walls relax and expand to store urine and contract and flatten when urine is emptied through the urethra. The typical adult bladder can store about 1 1/2 cups of urine.
Adults pass about a quart and a half of urine each day. The amount of urine varies, depending on the fluids and foods a person consumes. The volume formed at night is about half that formed in the daytime.
Normal urine is sterile. It contains fluids, salts and waste products, but it is free of bacteria, viruses and fungi. The tissues of the bladder are isolated from urine and toxic substances by a coating that discourages bacteria from attaching and growing on the bladder wall.
People with interstitial cystitis (IC) have an inflamed, or irritated, bladder wall. This inflammation can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, glomerulations (pinpoint bleeding) and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining.
IC, also known as painful bladder syndrome and frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome, is a complex, chronic disorder that has baffled doctors for as long as it has been recognized.
Estimates of the number of people who have IC run as high as 500,000, but no one knows for sure how many people have it. About 90 percent of IC patients are women. While people of any age can be affected, about two-thirds of patients are in their twenties, thirties, or forties. IC is rare in children. In a few cases, IC has afflicted both mother and daughter, but there is no evidence that the disorder is hereditary, or genetically passed from parent to child.
Two Types of Interstitial Cystitis
Because IC varies so much in its symptoms and severity, most researchers believe that it is not one but several diseases. Two types of IC are usually described; they are mainly distinguished by whether ulcers have formed on the bladder wall. Most researchers believe that IC does not generally progress from the nonulcerative to the ulcerative form.
This disorder is the most common type of IC. It usually affects young to middle-age women who have a normal, near normal, or increased bladder capacity when measured under general anesthesia. Glomerulations can be seen in the bladder wall.
This type of IC tends to be found in middle-age to older women. Bladder capacity is low (less than 1 1/2 cups) when measured under general anesthesia. The decrease is thought to result in part from fibrosis, the formation of threadlike tissue that makes the bladder stiff and small. Cracks, scars, and Hunner’s ulcers (star-shaped sores) in the bladder wall may bleed when the bladder is filled to capacity during a cystoscopy.
No one knows what causes IC, but doctors studying the disorder believe it is a real, physical problem-not a result, symptom, or sign of an emotional problem.
One area of research on the cause of IC has focused on the lining of the bladder called the glycocalyx, made up primarily of substances called mucins and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). This layer normally protects the bladder wall from toxic effects of urine and its contents. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that this protective layer of the bladder was “leaky” in about 70 percent of IC patients they examined and may allow substances in urine to pass into the bladder wall and trigger IC symptoms. The researchers also found that patients with Hunner’s ulcers had “leakier” bladders than patients without the ulcers.
Some people are diagnosed with IC after taking antibiotics for a presumed urinary tract infection. Therefore, it has been suggested that antibiotics may damage the bladder wall and make it “leaky.” This idea has been studied carefully, but antibiotics have never been found to harm the bladder wall. Thus, other ideas are more likely to explain why some IC patients are diagnosed after a urinary tract infection. It is possible that the infection started an autoimmune response against the bladder, the patient’s original symptoms were from IC all along, or an infecting organism is in bladder cells but is not detectable through routine tests.
The symptoms of IC vary greatly from one person to another but have some similarities to those of a urinary tract infection:
- decreased bladder capacity
- an urgent need to urinate
- frequently day and night feelings of pressure
- pain, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum (the area between the anus and vagina or anus and scrotum), which may increase as the bladder fills and decrease as it empties
- painful sexual intercourse in men
- discomfort or pain in the penis and scrotum.
- In most women, symptoms usually worsen around the menstrual cycle.
As with many other illnesses, stress may also intensify symptoms but does not cause them.
Below is a adjunctive treatment program that has been developed and utilized by Health Professionals for their Interstitial Cystitis patients with very good to excellent results.
Obviously the closer you can follow this program, the better it will serve the nutritional and immune system needs your body has to bring positive changes.
Please keep in mind that it might take several months of treatment to bring about complete results. If you have any questions about this, please ASK!
Enzyme and Probiotic Immune and Intestinal support. More Information