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Interstitial Cystitis (IC) vs. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

woman-reaching-for-toilet-paperYou wake up, use the bathroom, and suddenly feel familiar symptoms:  stinging, burning, and pelvic pain.  As the day goes on you continue to have symptoms and find yourself headed to the bathroom more than usual.  You wonder, “Is this an Interstitial Cystitis flare-up?  Or am I getting a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?  Should I wait it out, or should I go to the doctor?”

Sometimes it’s really hard to determine if you have an infection or are having an IC flare-up.  The symptoms are similar, and I’m sure plenty of women with IC have gone to the doctor to get on antibiotics unnecessarily.

These are the symptoms that both a UTI and IC share:

  • Burning when urinating
  • Stinging when urinating
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Frequency
  • Urgency


But if you have a Urinary Tract Infection, you may also experience the following:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Dark, reddish, cloudy, or foul smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Chills or Shaking
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upper Back Ache or Side Ache
  • Abnormal Discharge


Look at the lists and assess your symptoms.  If you are still unsure and you’re not ready to go to the doctor, grab a box of UTI test strips at your local drug store.  Follow the directions and match up the colors.  If it’s positive, you most likely have a UTI that needs a doctor’s attention.  If it’s negative but you’re still having symptoms, make sure you test again the next morning.  If at any time you’re unsure, it’s better to have a professional assess your symptoms.

Hopefully these tools will help you decide if you are experiencing a UTI or an Interstitial Cystitis Flare Up.

Posted in Bladder, Diagnosis, Interstitial Cystitis, Urinary Tract Infection

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