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FYI: Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

Note: Symptoms of a condition called Interstitial Cystitis (IC) mimic those of an acute UTI. Intense pain and pressure in the lower abdomen come with the need to urinate. (This can be more than 50 times a day.) Nine out of 10 persons who have IC are women. Antibiotics do not give relief, because bacteria is not present with IC. This condition needs medical diagnosis and treatment.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)


National Association for Continence (NAFC)

800.BLADDER (252.3337)

Urinary Problems

Common urinary problems in women are urinary incontinence, overactive bladder (OAB), and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Signs &


Causes &

Risk Factors


to Ask


Urinary incontinence means you lose bladder control or can’t store urine like you should. Although there are many types, the most common ones in women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

For Stress Incontinence

Urine leaks out with a sudden rise in pressure in the abdomen. This can occur when you cough, sneeze, lift, jump, run, or strain to pass stool.

For Urge Incontinence

Urine is released before you can get to the toilet due to a sudden and intense urge to urinate.

For Overactive Bladder

You urinate often (8 or more times during the day and at least 2 times during the night) and you have a sudden and urgent need to urinate.

For Urinary Tract Infections

Bladder Infection Symptoms

•  You urinate more often than usual. It burns or stings when you urinate.

•  Your urine is bloody or cloudy.

•  You have pain in the abdomen or over your bladder.

•  Confusion or other change in mental status, especially if you are over age 70.

Kidney Infection Symptoms

•  Fever and shaking chills. Nausea and vomiting

•  Pain in one or both sides of your mid back.

Sometimes, there are no symptoms with a UTI.

For Urinary Incontinence

Problems occur with bladder muscles and nerves that help you hold or release urine and structures that support the bladder. This can be due to many factors:

•  Physical changes due to aging or injury.

•  Pregnancy and childbirth.

•  Menopause.

•  Multiple sclerosis.

•  Spinal cord injury.

For Overactive Bladder

Abnormal nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time. This causes spasms in the bladder muscles to squeeze without warning.

For Urinary Tract Infections

Bacteria infect any part of the urinary tract – the kidneys, bladder, and ureters (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder).

For Incontinence:

•  Bladder training, pelvic floor muscle training, or Kegel exercises.

•  Medications.

•  Medical treatment, such as an electric or magnetic stimulation device.

•  Surgical procedures.

For Overactive Bladder

Medications that help relax muscles of the bladder and prevent bladder spasms.

For Urinary Tract Infections

An antibiotic is prescribed to treat the specific infection. Pain relievers are taken as needed.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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