Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a health condition where the bladder hardens and the lining of its wall erodes. Irritation, as well as inflammation of the bladder will occur, which ultimately leads to scarring and stiffness of the urinary tract and bladder. Interstitial cystitis, which is commonly known as IC, affects millions of people around the world. In order to determine if a health condition is indeed interstitial cystitis, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has created a general guideline which has been standardized and used for the purpose of diagnosing interstitial cystitis.

Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis
When diagnosing interstitial cystitis, the patient typically has to undergo a number of tests, as well as a cytoscopy (a tiny camera is inserted into the body to see images of the ureter and the bladder, as well as the linings of the walls). Symptoms such as pain in the bladder or the frequent tendency to urinate are considered symptoms of this condition and are usually taken into account when diagnosing IC.

Inclusion Criteria for Interstitial Cystitis
Currently, the guidelines for diagnosing interstitial cystitis include two inclusion criteria. One criterion is the presence of glomerulation (small bleeding spots), which is also known as Hunner’s ulcer. Glomerulation or Hunner’s ulcer can be seen upon performing a cytoscopy on the patient. Another criterion is the presence of pain in the bladder and the frequent need to urinate.

Exclusion Criteria for Interstitial Cystitis
Among the exclusion criteria for diagnosing interstitial cystitis include:

– a bladder capacity that is greater than 350 cc upon performance of awake cystometry (the person is not sedated while the bladder is filled with water in order to determine its capacity)

– the absence of the need to urinate even when the bladder has been filled to 100 cc during a cystometry (rate of filling of liquid 30-100 cc/minute)

– Symptoms not lasting up to 9 months which are alleviated by urinary antibacterial drugs, antispasmodics and anticholinergics, as well as the nonexistence of nocturia (frequent awakening just to urinate, usually happens at night) are also considered as exclusion criteria.

– Still other exclusion criteria are frequent urination of less than eight times a day, a diagnosis of prostates or bacterial cystitis (in a period of 3 months), ureteral or bladder calculi (small stones), genital herpes (active), cervical/uterine/urethral cancer, urethral diverticulum, chemical cystitis such as cyclophosphamide, tuberculous cystitis, benign or even malignant tumors in the bladder, radiation cystitis and vaginitis.

– Patients who are under 18 years old also have less risk of having interstitial cystitis.

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