Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) indicates pain in connection with the bladder, along with frequent and urgent urination. PBS can be mistaken for bladder infection, but there is no evidence of bacteria in the urine.
There are no definitive tests that can pinpoint PBS so it is diagnosed only after all other causes like kidney stones, infection or endometriosis have been ruled out. This process of elimination is accomplished through such tests as biopsy of the bladder wall, cystoscopy, urinalysis, urine culture and urine cytology.
Pain increases as the bladder fills and temporarily eases upon urination.The need to urinate is urgent and frequent.
Pain may be above the pubic bone, in the urethra, in the side or the lower back. Pain may be mild or amplified to a searing burn.
Some sufferers will also experience asthma, endometriosis, environmental allergies, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lupus, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, vulva pain (vulvadynia), pain during sex, or severe pain during menses.
Occurence and severity of PBS may fluctuate, increasing in "flares" and diminishing into remission. For some, it is also tied to changes in the menstrual cycle.
Life can be greatly affected by PBS. Up to half of all sufferers are unable to hold a full time job, and over half are unable to get a proper night's sleep.
The terms Painful Bladder Syndrome and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) are used interchangeably by some, though in general IC is viewed as a particular type of PBS. IC includes all PBS symptoms, with the inclusion of negative changes to the lining of the bladder.
Diet can affect symptoms, as can exercise or sex, or being sedentary for extended periods of time.
Some food and beverages may contribute to increased inflammation of the bladder. Avoidance of artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate and acidic foods is recommended. An elimination diet may reveal which foods and drinks are adding to the problem.
Gentle stretching of the pelvic muscles may reduce symptoms, like squatting or laying back with legs spread.
Bladder training is helpful to some people. This is done by urinating at set intervals, and using various relaxation techniques to help wait it out till the appointed time. The goal is to try to increase the length of time between bathroom breaks.
Surgery should only be considered as a last resort as damage could result, and success in relieving PBS is not certain.
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