How can you tell the difference between a flare in your IC symptoms and a bladder infection?

There are some patients who have IC who do get periodic bladder infections. Bladder infections in the IC patient can be devastating. A given patient may be doing very nicely on a specific course of therapy but a bladder infection often brings them "back to square one."

In general, flare means a sudden worsening in symptoms. A disease flare can mimic a bladder infection. Therefore, sudden changes in symptoms usually need to be looked at closer with a urine culture. Patients who get frequent recurrent infections may need further urological evaluation to seek a cause. Since infections of the bladder have such a dramatic impact on the IC patient, every effort should be made to prevent their occurrence or treat them very rapidly should they occur. Techniques such as antibiotic prophylaxis (taking low doses of a given antibiotic to prevent infection), antibiotic self-therapy, and hormone replacement therapy have been helpful in bladder infection prevention.