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Misdiagnosis of Interstitial cystitis

Misdiagnosis of Interstitial cystitis

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis can be nearly identical to symptoms of other urinary tract conditions, especially urinary tract infection, and it is frequently misdiagnosed as such. Because of this, it is not unusual for a proper diagnosis of interstitial cystitis to be delayed for long periods of time.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis are also similar to symptoms of bladder cancer, prostatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases....more about Interstitial cystitis »

Alternative diagnoses list for Interstitial cystitis:

For a diagnosis of Interstitial cystitis, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Interstitial cystitis:

Diseases for which Interstitial cystitis may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Interstitial cystitis is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Interstitial cystitis: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Interstitial cystitis may include these medical conditions:

  • Bladder inflammation from radiation therapy
  • Unknown etiology
  • Unknown aetiology
  • more causes...»

Rare Types of Interstitial cystitis:

Interstitial cystitis: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Interstitial cystitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Discussion of diagnosis/misdiagnosis of Interstitial cystitis:

Because symptoms are similar to those of other disorders of the urinary system and because there is no definitive test to identify IC, doctors must rule out other conditions before considering a diagnosis of IC. Among these disorders are urinary tract or vaginal infections, bladder cancer, bladder inflammation or infection caused by radiation to the pelvic area, eosinophilic and tuberculous cystitis, kidney stones, endometriosis, neurological disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, low-count bacteria in the urine and, in men, chronic bacterial and nonbacterial prostatitis.

The diagnosis of IC in the general population is based on

  • Presence of urgency, frequency, or pelvic/bladder pain.
  • Cystoscopic evidence (under anesthesia) of bladder wall inflammation, including glomerulations or Hunner's ulcers present in 90 percent of patients with IC.
  • Absence of other diseases that could cause the symptoms. 
(Source: excerpt from Interstitial Cystitis: NIDDK)

Common Misdiagnoses and Interstitial cystitis

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash with redness and warmth, but not necessarily a physical breast lump. This type of breast cancer should be considered as an uncommon possibility for certain types of breast symptoms.

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of diabetes.

Interstitial cystitis an under-diagnosed bladder condition: The medical condition of interstitial cystitic is a bladder condition that can be misdiagnosed as various conditions such as overactive bladder or other causes of pelvic pain. This condition can cause chronic pelvic pain or symptoms of urinary incontinence, similar to overactive bladder. Millions of patients may be misdiagnosed - an estimated third of the 9 million women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP) or 4.5 million of the 17 million women with overactive bladder syndrome do not respond well to treatment, and may have interstitial cystitis rather than their given diagnosis. In other words, about 6 million US women may have misdiagnosed interstitial cystitis. See interstitial cystitis or overactive bladder, or incontinence.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Interstitial cystitis: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Interstitial cystitis

Failure to diagnose Interstitial cystitis may be associated with the following:

  • Interstitial cystitis is often undiagnosed in children as it is considered an adult disease
  • A lack of awareness about interstitial cystitis means it is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
  • Undiagnosed and untreated interstitial cystitis may lead to complications such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, fatigue, weight fluctuations, difficult travelling and reduced ability to participate in usual activities
  • There are no specific diagnostic tests for interstitial cystitis and thus it is often diagnosed through a process of excluding other possible causes of symptoms
  • Many bladder conditions, including interstitial diagnosis, are difficult to diagnose and have no specific diagnostic tests. This means that interstitial diagnosis is often misdiagnosed as some other condition or vice versa. Interstitial cystitis should be considered in cases where a person fails to respond to treatment for urination problems and pain which are diagnosed as some other condition. For example, someone diagnosed with overactive bladder syndrome who fails to respond to anticholinergic treatment may well have undiagnosed interstitial cystitis
  • Symptoms of interstitial cystitis may come and go in the early stages so treatment is often not sought (or a misdiagnosis occurs) and the condition becomes progressively worse with increasing damage to the bladder

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Interstitial cystitis

The following may be hidden causes of Interstitial cystitis:

  • The specific cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown but the immune system, genetic factors and infections diseases are believed to play a role in its development
  • There are a number of conditions that are often associated with interstitial cystitis:
  • Asthma, food allergy, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, hay fever, incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis
  • Gynaecological surgery also seems to be a risk factor for developing interstitial cystitis

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Interstitial cystitis

Wrong diagnosis of Interstitial cystitis may be associated with the following:

  • Due to similar urinary problems (increased urinary urgency), interstitial cystitis may be misdiagnosed as urinary incontinence or an overactive bladder
  • Blood in urine due to interstitial cystitis may also be caused by acute cystitis, bladder cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, kidney stones, benign essential hematuria, kidney cancer, prostatitis and pyelonephritis
  • Painful sex due to interstitial cystitis may also be caused by atrophic vaginitis, vaginismus, vulvodynia, vulvar vestibulitis, vaginitis, human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, urethritis, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic adhesions and retroverted uterus
  • Acute pelvic pain due to interstitial cystitis may also be caused by ovarian cyst, ovarian torsion, acute pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, primary dysmenorrhea, pelvic tumor, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, kidney stones, urinary tract infection, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, acute appendicitis and mesenteric adenitis
  • Interstitial cystitis in men is frequently misdiagnosed as chronic prostatitis
  • Interstitial cystitis is often overlooked as a differential diagnosis for pelvic pain symptoms. In fact, most sufferers of pelvic pain seek advice from a gynaecological specialist which means they are more likely to be diagnosed with a gynaecological disorder rather than a urological one
  • The pain caused by interstitial cystitis can occur in varying locations (lower back, lower abdomen and inguinal, urethral, vaginal, pelvic or suprapubic area) which increases the risk of misdiagnosis
  • Symptoms of interstitial cystitis such as painful sex and exacerbation before menstrual cycle increase the risk of misdiagnosis as a gynaecological disorder such as vulvar vestibulitis, endometriosis and yeast vaginitis
  • Interstitial cystitis may co-exist with other conditions such as urinary tract infection which may make it more likely to be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed
  • Urinary urgency and frequency and night time urination are symptoms of interstitial cystitis and overactive bladder which makes the two conditions difficult to differentiate
  • Urinary urgency, frequency and pain may also be caused by other disorders involving inflammation and infection. Some examples are chronic urinary tract infection, vulvovestibulitis, schistosomiasis, vaginitis, infected Bartholin gland, infected Skene gland, urethral diverticulum and tuberculous cystitis
  • Urinary urgency, frequency and pain may also be caused by neurological conditions such as Parkinson disease, cerebrovascular accident, multiples sclerosis, lumbosacral disk disease, detrusor hyperreflexia, spinal stenosis and spinal tumor
  • Urinary urgency, frequency and pain may also be caused by urological conditions such as overflow incontinence, bladder cancer, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, prostatodynia, bladder outlet obstruction, detrusor dysfunction and radiation cystitis
  • Symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person is another reason the condition is frequently misdiagnosed. Some people do not suffer any pelvic pain but may suffer vulvar pain or pain during sex. Men may suffer painful ejaculation and prostate inflammation. The pain may also occur in the perineal area
  • Males suffering from non-bacterial prostatitis or prostatodynia have similar symptoms to interstitial cystitis which can lead to misdiagnosis. Common features include pain, lack of response to antibiotics, urination problems and sexual dysfunction

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Interstitial cystitis or confirming a diagnosis of Interstitial cystitis, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Interstitial cystitis may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Interstitial cystitis. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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