Do Your Symptoms Point to Urinary Tract Infection or Interstitial Cystitis?

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Urinary Incontinence  Plano, TX Approximately 1 in 5 women will suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of a urinary tract infection in her lifetime. Many women are prone to these minor infections and must develop strategies to minimize the risk of bacterial invasion into the bladder. The symptoms of a UTI are pretty easy to identify, especially if you’ve had more than one infection. What needs to be known about the signs of a urinary tract infection is that they very closely resemble those that are associated with interstitial cystitis.

Two conditions with similar symptoms can create frustration because the path to relief comes in two different ways. Here, we discuss the cause of urinary tract infection symptoms vs. those of interstitial cystitis so more women can obtain adequate treatment when they need it.

What causes urinary tract infection?

Bacteria are at the heart of a urinary tract infection, or UTI. Tiny microorganisms get into the urethra under the right circumstances. According to research, sex may be one of the prime opportunities for a urinary tract infection to begin. Additional risks include diabetes, holding urine too long, and chronic constipation. Whatever it is that allows bacteria to accumulate in the urethra and the bladder, symptoms are soon to follow.

Indications of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Frequent, intense need to urinate.
  • Burning sensation with urination.
  • Low urine output after urgent need to urinate.
  • Cloudy or dark-colored urine.
  • Foul urine odor.
  • Pain in the pelvic area or low back.
  • Fever and chills.

What causes interstitial cystitis?

The same symptoms that occur as a result of bacteria can result when the there is an abnormality in the lining of the bladder. This is the case with interstitial cystitis, a pelvic condition for which there is no known cause. The similarities between the two may initially lead to confusion. However, the standard screening performed to diagnose a urinary tract infection measures the existence of bacteria in the urine. If a urinalysis comes back negative (no bacteria), further tests may be performed to observe the condition of the bladder lining.

Treatment options for interstitial cystitis continue to improve, and many women can manage symptoms well with appropriate lifestyle modifications. The first step in resolving uncomfortable symptoms is to consult with an experienced Urologist. To schedule a visit to our Plano office, call (972) 403-5425.

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