How Can You Tell The Difference Between UTI & Interstitial Cystitis?

Signs and symptoms can resemble each other however interstitial cystitis shows no chronic infections and results can be negative.1,2

One of the distinguishing differences between UTI and IC is women with IC experience pain during intercourse which is not a symptom of UTI.3

Most of the infections of UTI and IC occurs in different parts of the urinary system with varying symptoms.4,5

UTI and Interstitial Cystitis? What is the difference? Unless you have medical knowledge or experience on the clinical condition, this is not the question you can ask yourself when rushing to the bathroom for yet another painful experience.

Most women would have come across some complicated phrases in clinical pathology from time to time, but do we know what it exactly means? However, having a better idea about these medical terms can help you handle those painful symptoms and follow self-care when you become a victim.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between UTI & Interstitial Cystitis?

Urinary Tract Infections and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) are often confused, as symptoms of the two are very similar. Hence the latter is conflated as the UTI since most people are familiar with urinary tract infections when compared to interstitial cystitis. Most of the infections of UTI and IC occurs in different parts of the urinary system with varying symptoms.

You can find relief from UTI with a course of antibiotics or over the counter medications however, there is no cure for IC. But, several therapies such as pelvic floor therapy, dietary modifications, and bladder distention can provide relief from symptoms or alleviate pain.4,5

Urinary Tract Infection is an infection in any part of your urinary system that gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. It is one of the most common infections in females and more than 8 million people visit the healthcare center with such infection. The infection can occur in the kidney, bladder, ureters, and urethra, and the microorganisms triggering this infection are very small to be seen with a human eye.

When you have UTI you may feel like peeing all the time even if you just released. Also, you may experience a burning sensation and pain while urinating and your urine may contain blood or pus with a stinky smell. Signs and symptoms can resemble each other however interstitial cystitis show chronic infections but results can be negative.1,2

What Is An Interstitial Cystitis?

This is the most common type of urinary tract infection but perhaps a chronic condition causing bladder pressure and, in some cases, pelvic pain. When the bladder starts to fill, you may experience pressure with severe pain that gets worse over time. IC infection can occur both in men and women. Women have pain during sex wherein men have pain either during sex or after. One of the distinguishing differences between UTI and IC is women with IC experience pain during intercourse which is not a symptom of UTI

Most of the time, IC is caused by bacterial infections however there are instances when sensitivity to chemicals in certain products or reactions to certain drugs can result in this condition. IC disappears on its own after a couple of days with proper self-care.3

References:

  1. Admin. “Telling the Difference Between a UTI and Interstitial Cystitis.” Aperiomics, 4 Dec. 2019, www.aperiomics.com/telling-difference-uti-interstitial-cystitis/.
  2. “Having to Go: Understanding Interstitial Cystitis.” Central Park Urology – Dr. David Kaufman, www.centralparkurology.com/understanding-interstitial-cystitis.
  3. “Is It A UTI or IC? – Blog.” Colorado Urology, 9 May 2019, www.coloradouro.com/blog/2019/01/15/oh-my-aching-bladder-is-it-a-uti-or-ic/.
  4. Balentine, Jerry R., and Pamela I. Ellsworth. “What Is the Difference Between a Bladder Infection vs. UTI?” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 11 Oct. 2017, www.medicinenet.com/bladder_infection_urinary_tract_infection_uti/ask.htm.
  5. “Bladder Issues in Women: UTI or IC?” Bladder Issues in Women: UTI or IC?: North Pointe OB/GYN: Gynecologists, www.npobgyn.com/blog/bladder-issues-in-women-uti-or-ic.

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