Medicine, Procedures, Therapies

Differences Between IC and a UTI

Do I have IC or a UTI?

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful bladder condition with an unknown cause.  Urinary tract infection (UTI) happens when bacteria infect parts of the urinary tract, usually the bladder. They are separate conditions, but because they cause similar symptoms, it’s easy to confuse the two – [GoodRx].

With a UTI, there will be signs of infection or bacteria in the urine, in which case you can be treated with antibiotics. IC, on the other hand, is not an infection. 

It is very common for IC to be misdiagnosed (and even treated) as UTI. So it is important to seek help from a urologist if:

  • You continue to have symptoms without signs of infection in your urine.
  • Your symptoms persist for 6 weeks or more.
  • You are having pain in addition to urinary symptoms.
  • Your symptoms are frequently treated with antibiotics without definite signs of infection in your urine.

Take a look at the list of symptoms below for Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – [Prime Health Proactive Integrative Medicine in Denver, Colorado].

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis (IC):

  • Pelvic pain
  • Bladder pain
  • Bladder pressure
  • Bladder stiffening, scarring
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Decreased bladder capacity
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Low-grade fever
  • Discomfort in penis or scrotum
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI):

  • Bladder infection (then potentially bacterial cystitis)
  • Kidney infection
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating (called “dysuria”)
  • Urinary leakage
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Cloudy urine
  • An unusual odor to your urine
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Accidental daytime wetting, in children (not bedwetting by itself)

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