Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is interstitial cystitis related to kidney pain?"
I'm a 35-year-old woman who was just diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. I'm being treated for the cystitis, but now I'm experiencing pain in my kidneys. Could this be related? What should I do?
First, let me say a little about interstitial cystitis and then I’ll try to directly answer your question. Interstitial cystitis is due to inflammation in the wall of the bladder, but unfortunately the exact cause of the inflammation is still not clear. The most common symptoms include pain during sexual intercourse, changes in bladder habits such as increased frequency or feelings of urgency, and pain in the area right above the pubic bone. The symptoms frequently slowly worsen over a period of months. Though the bladder is connected to the kidneys by tubes called ureters, the kidneys are not typically involved in interstitial cystitis. But to truly answer your question requires a little bit more information. Pain from kidneys is usually referred to the low back, so if by kidney pain you mean pain in your back, there is a connection to interstitial cystitis. Though pain in the area above the bladder is more common, occasionally pain from interstitial cystitis can be referred to the low back, the same place that kidney pain is frequently felt. The cause of the low back pain in interstitial cystitis is not from the kidneys rather it likely related to increased sensitivity of the nerves that supply that area of the back, just as pain from the bladder is related to increased sensitivity of the nerves that supply the bladder. So to answer your question, if you are having pain in your back it may be related to your interstitial cystitis without being related to your kidneys. Your primary care physician or a urologist can best evaluate your symptoms and help find solutions that will work for you. Good luck!
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