She can also have urgency which means the urgent need to go to the toilet to urinate, but little result when she does. She usually has urinary frequency, that is, she has to urinate more frequently than normal and often during the night as well.
Her bladder pain characteristically feels worse before and after she urinates. She has a few moments of relief only when actually urinating. Her pain may be like electric shocks to the bladder area. She may also get referred pain, either shooting needling type pains in her urethral area or a bruised aching sensation in her clitoral area, or both.
She may have also noticed that acidic foods as well as foods such as chocolate, red wine, old cheese, nuts, yogurt, avocados and bananas make the pain worse.
Repeated courses of antibiotics do not help her. In fact, if an infection is not present, she might have noticed that antibiotics make the pain worse.
She could be told the problem is all in her head and psychiatric help recommended.
Ic Can Begin With An Infection
In fact, the majority of women with IC did start off at the beginning with bacterial infections of their bladders. At first, these infections would be treated with antibiotics and clear up right away. After a while however, there would be no bacteria present in the urine and the antibiotics would not help.
Bacteria seem to pre-sensitize the bladder, making it more vulnerable, especially if certain other agents or promoters are present. These promoters include certain foods, drugs, chemicals, viruses, hormonal influences, chronic yeast infections and stress.
The Perfect Design Of A Woman's Urinary System
A woman's urinary tract is designed very efficiently but quite differently from a man's. The main function of the urinary tract is to transport urine (which is the body's liquid wastes) from the kidneys and safely out of the body.
Urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder, which is a collapsible bag for holding urine. The bladder functions like a holding tank for urine. From the bladder the urine flows through the urethra to the outside.
A woman's urethra is two inches long while a man's is ten inches long. The woman's urethra is like a corrugated tube with a large surface area that can stretch and flatten out during childbirth to allow the baby's head to pass through.
Women have a muscle or sphincter located in the wall along the whole length of the urethra which acts like an on/off valve. This muscle allows control over the timing of urination. Urologists used to think that women didn't have this external sphincter and unknowingly ruptured this muscle by performing urethral dilations to stretch open the urethra. These days, this operation is rarely required.
When a woman urinates, the urethra is placed perfectly so that the urine streams over the outer and inner vaginal lips, over the area between the vagina and the rectum (the perineum), and finally over the rectum itself. As the urine streams over these areas, it thoroughly cleanses them.
The urine also cleanses the bladder as well, washing out the bacteria that normally accumulate inside it. In fact, bladder infections are not so much a matter of bacteria getting in, as they are a matter of the bacteria not getting out.
To wash the bacteria out of the bladder, it is necessary to have a good strong stream of urine flowing out. The force of a normal stream of urine should be able to "move dirt on the sidewalk," according to Dr. Gillespie. If a woman's urinary stream is sluggish and doesn't empty her bladder completely, this will predispose her to repeated bladder infections.
What Happens In IC
The bladder itself is lined with a protective layer that is secreted, like mucous, by the cells that line the bladder. This protective layer protects the inside of the bladder from the acids and toxins in the urine and it also prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.
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