Magazine 14 May 2024

This is the correlation between cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome

Dear reader, ❤️

Do you know what irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis have in common?

Both can severely affect a person’s quality of life. If you suffer from any of these disorders or are simply interested in learning more, you are in the right place.

In this article we will explore together the possible causes and symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome: is there a correlation?

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

For most people with irritable bowel syndrome, symptoms are limited to sporadic discomfort. However, for other people the condition severely affects their quality of life.

The most common symptom is pain or discomfort in the abdomen, most often on the left side of the lower abdomen. In particular, women often see a link between pain and the menstrual cycle.

Another common symptom is a change in bowel habits.

To be precise, bowel movements may alternate between constipation and diarrhea: occasionally, you may feel an urgent need to go to the bowels or you may feel very tight bowels. Afterwards, there may be a feeling that the intestines have not emptied completely.

Other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may include:

Read also: The effects of bearberry on cystitis: everything you need to know

Causes of irritable bowel syndrome

The exact reasons why a person may develop irritable bowel syndrome are not currently known.

In any case, they could be a combination of:

  • More frequent or more intense contractions of the muscles of the intestinal wall: this can occur if signals from the brain to the stomach are somehow interrupted during the passage of food through the digestive tract;
  • Increased sensitivity to pain in the interior;
  • Inflammation of the intestines, such as following an infection such as gastroenteritis;
  • their own genetic makeup;
  • Psychological factors, such as stress;
  • antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and diclofenac.

Irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis: are the two related?

Although the exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, many factors are likely to contribute.

For example, people with interstitial cystitis may also have a defect in the protective lining (epithelium) of the bladder. A leak in the epithelium can cause toxic substances in the urine to irritate the bladder wall.

Other possible but unproven factors include an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection, or allergy.

But that is not all.

The following factors are associated with an increased risk of interstitial cystitis:

  • gender: interstitial cystitis is diagnosed more often in women than in men. In men, symptoms may resemble those of interstitial cystitis, but are often associated with inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis);
  • Age: Most people receive a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis after the age of 30;
  • Have a chronic pain disorder: interstitial cystitis may be related to another chronic pain disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.

That’s right, just like that.

Over the years there has been some research showing that individuals suffering from interstitial cystitis are more likely to suffer from other chronic disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.

The reason for this overlap is not known, but it suggests a more systemic dysfunction. Researchers are examining the role of inflammatory processes, a ‘cross-sensitization’ between nerves in the bladder and bowel, and other central nervous system dysfunction to better understand the underlying factors responsible for initiating and maintaining these chronic conditions.

Should you discover that you have both conditions, it is ideal to establish a good partnership with a health care provider. Only a professional can help the patient choose among the various treatment options for both conditions, to identify those that can benefit both, without exacerbating one or the other.

But that is not all.

Since some foods are known to aggravate both conditions, keeping a symptom diary and following an elimination diet-with the help of an expert-can help identify foods that contribute to bowel or bladder symptoms.

Finally, because it is possible that there is dysfunction at the systemic level that contributes to both interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome problems, it may be helpful to consider holistic approaches to health.

Which ones?

Mind/body activities, such as yoga, meditation and regular use of relaxation exercises, can help relieve anxiety and stress, other factors that can increase pain sensation.

If you should have any other doubts, remember that you can always write to me! ❤️

I give you a big hug,

Lorenza

Read also: Here’s why even more people suffer from cystitis during the Covid-19 outbreak

In this article we talked about…

  • The most common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is pain or discomfort in the abdomen, most often on the left side of the lower abdomen. Women often see a connection between pain and the menstrual cycle.
  • Other symptoms may include feeling unwell, indigestion, headache, backache, feeling bloated, bladder problems and in sexual life, anxiety and depression.
  • The exact reasons why a person may develop irritable bowel syndrome are not currently known, but it could be a combination of more frequent or more intense contractions of the muscles of the intestinal wall, increased sensitivity to pain, inflammation of the intestines, genetic makeup, psychological factors, and medications. In addition, it may be related to other chronic disorders such as interstitial cystitis and fibromyalgia.
  • The exact causes of interstitial cystitis are unknown, but could be related to factors such as a defect in the protective lining of the bladder, an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection, or allergy.

FAQ on the correlation between cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome


What are the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include pain or discomfort in the abdomen, most often on the left side of the lower abdomen, and change in bowel habits. Other symptoms may include feeling unwell, indigestion, headache, backache, feeling bloated, bladder problems, problems in sex life, anxiety and depression.

What are the possible causes of irritable bowel syndrome?

The exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome are not known, but it could be a combination of more frequent or more intense contractions of the muscles of the intestinal wall, increased sensitivity to pain inside, inflammation of the intestines, genetic makeup, psychological factors such as stress, antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

What factors are associated with an increased risk of interstitial cystitis?

Factors associated with an increased risk of interstitial cystitis include gender (more common in women), age (most people receive a diagnosis after age 30), and the presence of a chronic pain disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.

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