In a recent study, researchers describe an organic process behind Interstitial Cystitis: the Inflammatory Process! However, the CAUSE for inflammation is not well studied or understood.
In a recent study, researchers describe an organic process behind Interstitial Cystitis (IC). Current research suggests an inflammatory process is tied to IC. Through cystoscopy, researchers observed:
- submucosal (layer of tissue under the inner lining of some organs) inflammation, which is seen as glomerulations (blood from a ruptured blood vessel) suggesting that the bladder wall has been damaged, irritated, and/or inflamed.
- large groups of mast cells (cells which drive both inflammation and pain) are a diagnostic and predictive marker in Interstitial Cystitis, which in turn stimulates afferent fibers more. Afferent fibers are nerve fibers, typically a sensory fiber, that conducts impulses toward the brain or spinal cord or central nervous system.
- increased urothelial permeability (weakened barrier) due to diminished GAG levels. In a healthy bladder there is a natural barrier that protects the bladder lining from the urine. This barrier is called the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer. If this barrier is damaged, urine comes into direct contact with the tissues of the bladder lining and over time can cause damage to these tissues. Biopsies that show loss of tight junctions and adhesive junction proteins which indicate increased permeability.
- fibrosis may result from the inflammatory process and reduces the bladder capacity which leads to a further stretch of afferent sensory pain fibers.
Below is my take on the recent study put in simple terms.
People with Interstitial Cystitis have a damaged bladder lining that allows urine and the contents within the urine to seep into the bladder wall. The bladder wall becomes irritated and inflammed by the urine penetrating the lining. The bladder lining is no longer the protective layer that is needed for your bladder to work properly.
Because of the inflammation and irritation, the bladder sends signals to your brain that you need to “pee” again even when the bladder is not full. The tissues within the bladder wall become damaged over time which makes the bladder less elastic. The damaged fibers reduce the volume capacity of the bladder. The damaged fibers/tissues then send pain signals to the brain.