Urinary Tract Infection and Interstitial Cystitis

Article written for aperiomics.com
by Kate Williams

Telling the Difference Between a UTI and Interstitial Cystitis

Misdiagnosis is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The average American is said to get a wrong or delayed diagnosis at least once in their life. Senior fellow at RTI International and founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, Mark L. Graber admits that diagnosis is extremely challenging given that while there are thousands of diseases, there are only hundreds of symptoms. It is often the case that misdiagnosis is recognized in hindsight, even when patients have already been discharged. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis may even result in the development of other chronic illnesses. However, the traditional position of medicine is that even if the underlying cause is unknown, action must be taken immediately to address symptoms and make a patient’s quality of life better– whether the illness lasts months or years.

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

Urinary Tract Infections and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) are frequently conflated, as symptoms of the two overlap. The latter tends to be mistaken as the former because UTI’s are more commonly known and their symptoms can mimic those of IC. Simone Gorrindo described her symptoms as debilitating after she was constantly misdiagnosed as having a recurrent UTI. She originally experienced UTI symptoms at the age of 17, and despite four years of painful intercourse, resulting in a fear of intimacy, antibiotics were unable to resolve her symptoms. The emotional toll that this all took on her life, forced her to seek out another specialist who said it was clear that she had IC and not recurrent UTIs.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is one of the most common infections in the urinary system, and the second most common type of bodily infection. Causes can be traced to a transfer of bacteria from the rectum to the urethra, and in most cases this bacterium is Escherichia Coli (E. Coli). Its severity varies depending on how much bacteria has yet to be drained from the body. High levels of bacteria cause the infection to spread to both the upper and lower urinary tracts. It can be accompanied by frequent urges to urinate, a burning sensation, cloudy urine, fever, and pain in the lower abdomen and back. It occurs in both men and women, although it is much more common in women.

Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

Interstitial Cystitis (IC), or Bladder Pain Syndrome is a syndrome of chronic pain in the bladder whose etiology is not fully understood. Various theories have been proposed to cause symptoms of IC including, general inflammation, neurological damage, autoimmunity, genetics, and infection. The International Continence Society and the European Society for the Study of IC define IC as a condition with chronic (>6 months) pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort perceived to be related to the urinary bladder accompanied by at least one other urinary symptom like persistent urge to void or frequency with or without cystoscopic abnormalities. Medical groups had once thought that the cause was not infectious, but growing evidence supports this was caused by current limitations in testing capabilities. There is a strong and real possibility that patients are being diagnosed with non-infectious IC prematurely. The median age of those who are diagnosed is 40, but in some cases, symptoms show before the age of 30. The Urology Care Foundation estimates that 1 to 4 million men and 3 to 8 million women currently experience symptoms of IC, and it goes without saying that this is a worrying statistic. The percentage of these millions that have an infectious case could be staggering.

Testing – Is it really necessary?

Simone’s case is just one of many. In addition, chronic illness is on the rise in the United States. By 2025, it is projected to affect an estimated 164 million Americans– nearly half the population– according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Extensive research by Maryville University shows that chronic illnesses are constantly on the rise, and therefore comprehensive infection testing, such as Xplore-Patho, may be wise. Current standard testing methods are insufficient in showing a comprehensive report of the pathogens causing IC and UTIs, leaving undiagnosed pathogens and lingering infection in other areas. Here at Aperiomics we provide the world’s most comprehensive microbial identification service with our Xplore-Patho Urine Collection Kit, which can identify ~100% of known microorganisms- including every know bacterium, virus, fungus, and parasite. Xplore-Patho provides clinicians with the information they need to make better clinical decisions regarding their patient’s infections.

About Aperiomics:

Aperiomics combines the latest advancements in science, technology, and medicine to change the way healthcare providers identify causes of infection. With the only microbial database of its kind and superior data analytics, we are able to precisely detect pathogens with 97% sensitivity and 99.99% specificity.  The Xplore-Patho test gives clinicians an unprecedented advantage in identifying infections that often evade diagnosis.

The only company able to identify every bacterium, virus, fungus, and parasite known to modern science, Aperiomics has created a new gold standard with its Xplore-Patho test.


Article written for aperiomics.com
by Kate Williams