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A Condition That Mimics Enlarged Prostate

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It’s a condition as complex as its name: interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). If you have chronic pelvic pain and often feel the need to urinate urgently and frequently, you might be one of the estimated 5 million Americans affected by the condition’s symptoms. 

IC/BPS in men is difficult to distinguish from conditions such as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), prostate infection and benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate) because they have similar symptoms. Some experts think that interstitial cystitis and CP/CPPS are the same condition. They also suspect that interstitial cystitis is often misdiagnosed as CP/CPPS. Men who don’t respond to CP/CPPS therapy may want to consider trying an IC/BPS treatment.

A broad spectrum of symptoms

IC/BPS symptoms and their severity vary widely from person to person and can come and go in each individual. All people with IC/BPS experience some discomfort that can be attributed to the bladder. You may have mild or intense pain, burning, tenderness, spasms or pressure in your pelvic region, which includes the bladder and urethra (the tube that passes urine out of the body), or in your lower abdomen. Additionally, men may feel pain in the testicles, scrotum and penis tip and may experience painful ejaculation and urination. These symptoms are often accompanied by urinary urgency and frequency— even if your bladder isn’t full—and excessive nighttime urination. Some people with severe IC/BPS may need to urinate up to 60 times a day. Urinating typically relieves discomfort. You may also experience “flares” when your symptoms get worse, which can last for hours, days or weeks. Certain foods and beverages, sexual intercourse, long periods of sitting and stress can exacerbate symptoms.

Because there’s no definitive test for IC/ BPS, your doctor must make the diagnosis based on your symptoms and by ruling out other reasons for your symptoms, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder cancer and CP/CPPS. While UTIs have similar symptoms, people with IC/ BPS usually don’t have bacteria in their urine, a telltale sign of a UTI.

Finding relief

IC/BPS has no cure, so treatment is focused on managing symptoms. You may need to try several therapies before finding one or a combination of several (called multimodal therapy) that works for you. First-line treatment usually begins with self-care, such as modifying your diet, training your bladder to void on a schedule, controlling fluid intake and managing stress. If these measures don’t help, other strategies include physical therapy to relax abdominal, groin and buttock muscles; gentle stretching exercises to lessen symptoms; and analgesics such as aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain during flares. Prescription medications and surgical procedures may ease symptoms in some people when self-care doesn’t work.

If you think you may have IC/BPS, talk with your doctor. For more information and support, visit the Interstitial Cystitis Association’s website at 


Posted in Enlarged Prostate on May 16, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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