Overview

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also known as painful bladder syndrome. At Advanced Urology, we are experts in providing the leading, most cutting edge solutions for IC. Schedule a consultation today!

IC is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder lining affecting 12 million men and women each year. IC can cause pain and pressure in the bladder, pelvis, and lower back. It can also cause burning, urinary frequency, and urgency. Many patients are misdiagnosed with a urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics. We are experts in treating IC and can provide the best, latest and most cutting edge therapies to fix the problem. This includes Botox® and sacral neuromodulation (also known as Interstim® or nerve stimulation).

IC can be extremely frustrating as many physicians are not comfortable diagnosing or treating the disorder. Many patients feel lost and helpless. The constant feeling of discomfort and the need to stay close to a bathroom can significantly impact quality of life. Our experienced urologists can offer many advanced therapies that no one else can offer.

We are proud members and supporters of both IC Network and IC Association, two national non-profit associations dedicated to helping patients with IC. It is important to choose us as we are knowledgeable and provide the latest treatments. We are here for you. Schedule a private consultation today.

Causes

While the exact cause of Interstitial cystitis (IC) is not known, several factors have been identified that may contribute to the development of the condition.

  • Viruses that attack the bladder lining.
  • Chemical exposure from chemotherapy.
  • Over consumption of sodas, coffee, and alcohol.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction from childbirth or pelvic surgery.
  • Patients struggling with other pain syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, vulvodynia, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Bladder over-distention which is caused by long periods without access to a bathroom.

Damage to the bladder allows particles from the urine to get into the bladder lining. These particles, such as potassium, can cause further damage to the bladder. Normal repair of the bladder does not occur in patients with IC. Research has shown that this may be due to a protein called antiproliferative factor (APF). APF has only been found to be produced in patients with IC. APF prevents the growth of bladder cells, thereby inhibiting bladder repair.

We are experts in treating IC and can provide the best, latest, and most cutting edge therapies to fix the problem.

Symptoms

Pain is the predominant symptom of Interstitial cystitis (IC).  Other symptoms may include some or all of the following:

  • Pain in your pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women or between the scrotum and anus in men.
  • Chronic pelvic pain.
  • Pain as the bladder fills and relief when it is emptied.
  • Urgency to use the bathroom to reduce pain (this is in contrast to urgency from Overactive Bladder to avoid leakage).
  • Frequent urination of small amounts.
  • Painful sexual intercourse.

The signs and symptoms may vary and come and go over time. The severity can range from mild to severe. Flares can be triggered by menstruation, sitting for a long time, stress, exercise and sexual activity. Although symptoms may mimic a urinary tract infection (UTI), lab results are clear of infection.

Tests

All testing is performed with anesthesia to make your experience painless. We have a state of the art surgery center with advanced technology to help diagnose and treat interstitial cystitis (IC).

We will perform very comprehensive and thorough testing including:

  • Physical exam to check for tenderness and abnormal growths.
  • Urinalysis and culture to check for infection.
  • Urodynamics to evaluate bladder filling and emptying (high tech bladder testing).
  • Kidney and bladder ultrasounds to evaluate for stones or abnormal kidney drainage.
  • Cystoscopy with hydrodistention which fills the bladder to evaluate the bladder wall. The hydrodistention allows your urologist to see bleeding wounds also known as glomerulations and much larger wounds called Hunner’s lesions. See a video here of what we are looking for. We then instill agents to help the bladder heal.

Cystoscopy

  • Bladder biopsy may be performed during the cystoscopy to check for bladder cancer and other rare causes of bladder pain.

Treatments

We provide the latest, cutting edge treatments for interstitial cystitis (IC) including sacral neuromodulation and Botox®. We are the best in treating IC in the Southeast. No one else can offer such comprehensive, advanced therapies in one location.

They include:

  • Lifestyle modifications such as reducing or eliminating foods and beverages that are acidic, smoking cessation, sleep modification, exercise, and reducing stress.
  • Prescription medications
    • Antihistamines such as hydroxyzine and cimetidine have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of IC. Hydroxyzine reduces histaminic activity in the bladder wall. Cimetidine reduces acid production in the stomach. The main side effect is drowsiness.
    • Amitriptyline is an antidepressant shown to improve the symptoms of IC. It reduces bladder spasms and slows the nerves that carry pain messages. The side effects make it hard for some patients to tolerate. They include drowsiness, constipation, and increased appetite.
    • Uribel® is a urinary analgesic that reduces bladder pain, spasm, and urinary frequency. It is taken as needed for discomfort or pain.
    • Elmiron® is an oral medication that is FDA approved for treating IC. Although its mechanism of action is unknown, it is thought to restore the inner surface of the bladder. It has been shown to improve urinary frequency, urgency, burning, and pain. The full effect may take up to 2-4 months.

 

  • Bladder instillation places compounded solutions to heal the bladder lining into the bladder via a scope. The procedure only lasts several minutes and is done with anesthesia. This can tremendously help pain and inflammation.

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  • Botox® injections into the bladder to block the muscles and nerves that lead to a feeling of urgently needing to urinate.Results typically last for 6-9 months.

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Learn more at www.botox.com

 

 

 

  • InterStim® therapy delivers mild electrical pulses to your bladder similar to what a pacemaker does for the heart. Stimulating the sacral nerves reduces urinary urgency. A small wire is placed along the nerve to the bladder near the bone in your pelvis called the sacrum. The wire is attached to a small controller that can be buried underneath the skin of the buttocks.

How Interstim® Works

 

We have the most experience in the United States in treating hundreds of patients with InterStim® therapy. We use this experience to give you your best opportunity to return to the freedom of a normal life. InterStim® therapy is covered by Medicare and is also covered by many major private insurance companies.

With the therapy’s two-step process, you can test it out to see if it will work for you before making a long-term commitment. The testing period is called an “evaluation” or a “trial assessment.”

We will discuss the evaluation procedure with you and the options for using either a temporary lead (a thin wire) or long-term lead for the evaluation.

How Will I Know If InterStim® Therapy Works for Me?

We will decide together whether your evaluation was successful. The evaluation is considered a success if you experience a significant reduction in your symptoms.

For example, your evaluation may be considered a success if you went to the bathroom 20 times per day before the evaluation and went 10 or fewer times per day during the evaluation.

For long-term InterStim® Therapy, we will perform a minimally invasive procedure that is safe and FDA-approved; doctors have been performing the procedure for more than 15 years. The neurostimulator is placed under the skin of your upper buttock, above where you sit and below your waistline. The lead (thin wire) goes from the neurostimulator to a sacral nerve, located near the tailbone.

How Is Long-term Therapy Different from the Evaluation?

During the evaluation, you wear a temporary, external neurostimulator on your waistband. In long-term therapy, the long-term neurostimulator is placed under your skin during a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure, so the neurostimulator is internal rather than outside your body. You control the neurostimulator with a hand-held programmer that works like a remote control to turn the stimulation up and down or on and off.

 

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Learn more at http://www.everyday-freedom.com/.

 

 

 

 

  • Bladder distention is a procedure where your urologist fills your bladder with liquid or gas. Patients that have undergone a cystoscopy with hydrodistention sometimes find they experience relief. This procedure is repeated if the response is long lasting.
  • Surgery may include diverting urine from the bladder or enlarging the bladder. It is reserved for the most severe cases. Urologists rarely use surgery as it can lead to other complications.

 

Atlanta Center for Urinary Control: The State’s Premier Provider of Urinary Control Treatment