For many women, occasionally running back and forth to the bathroom is a fact of life. It’s usually attributed to a UTI—not a bad guess considering 20 of women will have one at some point—but it may actually stem from a chronic condition called interstitial cystitis. The symptoms are nearly identical: urgency, frequency and bladder pain that comes and goes. But that’s where the similarities end, says Varuna Raizada, MD, a Scripps Clinic urogynecologist. UTIs are caused by bacteria; IC can have many causes ranging from autoimmune disease to highly acidic "detox diets." The treatments differ, too. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics, but for chronic IC, experts like Dr. Raizada often recommend lifestyle changes, stress management, avoiding irritants, and sometimes medication. Read more about these conditions here.
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