Intersitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome, is a painful dysfunction which can be described as a feeling of recurring urinary tract infections and can include recurring pain throughout the bladder or pelvic floor region (area of muscles, tissues, ligaments and nerves that run from the pubic bone to the tailbone). Other symptoms include urinary frequency, pain prior to, during or after urination, pressure throughout the low abdomen, inability to completely void or difficulty initiating urination, excessive trips to the bathroom at night, back or abdominal pain, painful or difficult sex, and/or incontinence.
Although the specific cause of interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome, is unknown, it is theorized that irritation or inflammation of the bladder lining or nerve can cause this dysfunction.
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluationto assess your symptoms. The evaluation may be internal and/or external. You and your therapist will work together to ensure your comfort throughout the process. If your therapist feels you may need further examination or testing that she cannot perform, she will refer you to an MD.
Treatment for painful bladder syndrome include releasing muscular spasms throughout the pelvic floor, back, and/or hip muscles, which may be performed with stretching and gentle manual release. Your physical therapist may also work with you to address the timing of emptying your bladder and discuss specific bladder irritants that may give you an increased sense of urgency.