What is Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)?
Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) also known as Hypersensitive Bladder Syndrome (HBS) or Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS) or Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a chronic condition of urinary bladder that results in discomfort or pressure and pain in the bladder and pelvic region. This disorder may occur alone or in combination with other disorders such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, Sjogren’s syndrome and vulvodynia.
Women are more prone to Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) than men. In the USA alone, more than 1 million women are affected by this disorder out of 1.3 million individuals with this condition.
Symptoms of Hypersensitive Bladder Syndrome (HBS):
Symptoms may vary depending on the gender and from individual to individual. The frequency of the symptoms may also vary from week to week. Patients may begin to experience the symptoms suddenly. Women may experience the symptoms for the first time soon after childbirth or after a gynecological surgery or hysterectomy or after a bacterial infection in the urinary bladder. These include:
- Pain, frequency and urgency to urinate are the primary symptoms.
- Pain manifests itself in the form of burning sensation in the bladder, tenderness or discomfort, burning or stabbing pain in vagina, spasms in the bladder and its surrounding regions, pelvic floor, thighs, groin and lower bowel system.
- Pain increases when the bladder is full and reduces once it is emptied.
- In women the symptoms may worsen during menstruation.
- Men may experience pain in the scrotum, penis and perineum and women usually feel pain in the vaginal area.
- Pain in urethra and during sexual intercourse is common among both the genders.
- Frequency of urination may reach 60 times a day with increased night time frequency also known as nocturia in people suffering from Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS). Small amount of urine is passed at a time.
- Urgency to urinate because of increased discomfort and pain is a common symptom. A few people might also find it difficult to start urination if they have to postpone or retain urine for longer periods.
- No other bacterial or urinary infection is present.
- Wall of the bladder may get scarred leading to irritation.
- Patches of broken skin or hunner’s ulcers are sometimes found on the bladder wall.
- Pinpoint bleeding or glomerulations may appear on the wall of the bladder.
What Causes Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)?
Although several researchers throughout the world have been working on understanding this condition, its root cause is yet to be discovered. Research is being done considering the possibility of the heredity factor. It was observed that Interstitial Cystitis (IC) has affected a mother and her daughter or 2 sisters. But this condition does not usually run in families.
Treatment for Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS):
The symptoms were observed to disappear in some patients without any treatment or with a change in the diet. Moreover, not all patients respond to the treatment in a similar fashion. Considering these aspects, treatment options that alleviate the symptoms have been developed. These include:
- Oral medications – These include analgesics, antispasmodics, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants and anti-inflammatory drugs. Tricyclic antidepressants apart from reducing pain, decrease frequency of urination by increasing the capacity of the bladder. Elavil (amitriptyline) is a tricyclic depressant.
- Diet – Several patients have experienced a reduction in the frequency and intensity of symptoms by altering their food habits. Some of the beverages and foods that are thought to aggravate the symptoms are: artificial sweeteners, citrus juices and fruits, alcohol, caffeine, spices, vinegar, tomatoes and carbonated drinks.
- Bladder injections or instillations – Botulinum toxin A injections given inside the bladder wall though still in experimental stage may prove to be effective in alleviating the symptoms.
- Surgery – This is the last option to be considered if the symptoms do not subside even after trying the above options.
Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) may disturb an individual’s life in many ways. If you are an early stage victim, learn about the condition as much as you can and follow necessary precautions to avoid further complications.