A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system – your kidneys, bladder, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder) or urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).
UTIs are usually either “upper” or “lower,” depending on where the infection is located. The most common are lower UTIs, which infect the bladder and can cause it to become inflamed (these are referred to as “cystitis”).
In most cases, these bladder infections are caused by bacteria, though they can sometimes be caused by certain viruses or fungi (yeast).
Both women and men get bladder infections, but they are much more common among women. For example, among people between the ages of 20 and 50, bacterial UTIs are about 50 times more common among women than men. In people older than 50, there’s less of a difference between the sexes. Read more
IC is a chronic condition that can cause frequent urination, bladder pressure and pain, and sometimes pain in the pelvis. This pain can be anywhere from mild to severe. Your symptoms may vary over time, and flare up when you’re stressed, during or after sexual activity, after eating certain foods, or if you’ve been sitting for a long time.
Also called “bladder pain syndrome,” IC is estimated to affect between 3 million and 8 million women and between one million and four million men in the United States alone.
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes IC, but many factors probably contribute. That’s why testing is so important. IC symptoms are caused by bladder inflammation, but many of the symptoms are similar to a urinary tract infection (UTI). In many cases, IC is a misdiagnosis and the issue may be a chronic UTI. Doctors need to rule out a UTI to treat you appropriately for IC.
It’s also possible to get a UTI in addition to IC, which could make your symptoms worse. Treating the UTI with the appropriate antibiotic or antifungal can then help you feel better.