Cystitis can be an embarrassing condition – the word’s gotten round that it can be caused by vigorous sex. However, interstitial cystitis, sometimes called ‘painful bladder syndrome’ is quite different. It refers to when the bladder has been inflamed for a long period of time, and this is not caused by bacteria like ordinary cystitis. In fact, the causes of this condition are unknown. Interstitial cystitis causes recurring and sometimes fairly intense pain in the pelvic area, as well as an increased need to urinate. Sufferers may experience the need to pass urine up to around 60 times a day, and the urgent need to pass urine can cause pain and spasms in the vagina. Pain can occur in the urethra (the passage which transports urine), the abdomen (tummy) and the vagina, and sex can make the pain worse. Unfortunately with this condition, symptoms are often constant or
recurring. The causes of interstitial cystitis may be unclear, but there are ways of treating it. Medication can be given for the pain, and surgery can be used as a last resort, but there are a couple of treatments for the bladder that can help. One is
bladder distension, where the bladder is filled with water to make it capable of holding larger amounts of urine. Another is called bladder instillation, and again the bladder is filled up but with a medicated solution that can improve the inflammation inside
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