Today I’d like to talk about something that a lot of my EndoSisters suffer from: Interstitial Cystitis, also known as IC.
Interstitial what? That’s what I thought the first time I heard of it a few years ago. Heck, my doctor even suspected I had it (we check every time I go in for surgery, and so far: no tell-tale signs). I’ve been telling myself for a few years now that I needed to research and write about it…so today I am!
What is it?
Let’s start off with: it’s been around for quite a while. The first written description of IC was back in 1836 by Philadelphia surgeon, Joseph Parrish.
In the past, I’ve researched how Endometriosis can affect the renal system, specifically the bladder or ureters, and how that could even cause blockages that cause kidney issues and severe problems.
Today, I’m going to talk about Endometriosis and the actual kidney.
A study published in October of 2018 discussed a 45-year-old woman who had flank pain and blood in her urine. Imaging studies found a mass on her left kidney. A surgery was performed to remove the suspected renal mass and a portion of her kidney, and pathology confirmed it was an Endometriosis lesion. It was removed from her “renal parenchyma,” which is the solid part of the kidney that filters blood and makes urine.
You’ve likely heard that Endometriosis can grow in all sorts of places inside the body. Well, the bladder and urinary tract are no exception. Endometriosis implants can grow on or inside the walls of the bladder or along the urethra.
Common symptoms patients may complain about with bladder Endo are frequently needing to pee, pain when the bladder is full, painful urination, and an urgent need to pee. Some also suffer from blood in their urine when they’re on their cycles (may be hard to distinguish…given the natural course of what a period does…). This urine-blood may not be perceptible to the naked eye and require a lab test. And as usual, many EndoWarriors only have these symptoms during their periods; others have them 24/7. It should also be noted that many with bladder Endo don’t present any symptoms.
Many people born with a uterus have Endometriosis and don’t even know it. They may be cis-gender, transgender, non-binary, or others. And there have been rare instances of men developing Endometriosis, too. I sure didn’t know what it was until I received my diagnosis. I’d never even heard of it. Endo-what?
So what are the red flags of Endometriosis? If I only knew about this list prior to my diagnosis, I would have gone to my doctor years ago! I met every single one of these symptoms!! Every. Single. One.
You may have Endometriosis if you have any of the following issues: