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Glossary of terms: A  
 
AARDA American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.  
Ablation Removal of affected tissue in part of the body. In the case of PBS/IC patients, this usually refers to fulguration or laser treatment of Hunner’s ulcers or lesions  
Acetylcholine Acetylcholine is a molecule released at nerve endings as a neurotransmitter. It transmits nerve impulses in the parasympathetic nervous system and is particularly important in the contraction of muscle cells.  
Acidosis A condition in which the body fluids and tissues are too acid.  
Acute Having a rapid onset and brief but severe course (opposite of chronic).  
Adverse events Side effects from a drug, medical device or other treatment.  
Aetiology The cause of a disease (see also: etiology).  
Afferent nerve An afferent nerve is a nerve conveying sensory impulses from the skin, tissues or organs to the central nervous system (opposite to efferent nerve).  
Albuminuria Higher than normal amounts of a protein called albumin in the urine. Albuminuria may be a sign of kidney disease.  
Alkalinized lidocaine Lidocaine is a commonly used anaesthetic. Alkalinized lidocaine is the combination of lidocaine and sodium bicarbonate for intravesical administration. Lidocaine alone will not pass through the bladder lining (epithelium). However, alkalinization of lidocaine with sodium bicarbonate appears to allow the lidocaine to be absorbed into the the bladder wall, giving immediate relief of symptoms.  
Alkalinization (of urine) Alkalinization of urine using e.g. potassium citrate or sodium bicarbonate may relieve the discomfort in the bladder of patients with bacterial cystitis.  
Allergen Any substance that causes an allergy. See allergy.  
Allergy A response within the body to a specific substance (known as an allergen) in the environment, leading to a local or systemic inflammatory response. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances. An allergic person’s immune system believes such allergens to be damaging and therefore produces a special type of antibody (IgE) to attack the invading substance. This leads other blood cells to release additional chemicals (including histamine) which together cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Local responses include symptoms in the nose, eyes, ears, airways, skin and head. A systemic response is known as anaphylaxis.
PBS/IC patients are frequently faced with allergy or multiple allergies, including food, chemicals and medicines. In some cases, patients receiving treatment (antihistamines) for their allergy find that this treatment also has a beneficial effect on their PBS/IC.
Medicine intolerance can cause a problem with treatment for their PBS/IC. A solution is sometimes found here by treating the PBS/IC bladder intravesically rather than using oral treatment. With intravesical treatment where the drug is instilled directly into the bladder, less of the medication is absorbed by the body and there are consequently fewer side-effects.
 
Allodynia Allodynia means “other pain”. It is a condition in which a normally painless stimulus is experienced as being painful.  
Alpha-blockers Also called alpha-adrenergic antagonists. Alpha-blockers relax certain muscles and help small blood vessels remain open. Alpha-blockers also relax smooth muscle cells. They are used to treat high blood pressure and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). By relaxing the smooth muscles surrounding the prostate, alpha-blockers increase the flow of urine and improve symptoms.  
Anaesthesia Anaesthesia means the loss of feeling or sensation in a part or all of the body. The term is usually applied to the use of drugs (anaesthetics) aimed at reducing or eliminating pain or sensation to enable surgery to take place. An anaesthetic may have a general, regional, local or topical effect.  
Analgesic A drug that alleviates pain, painkillers. This group of drugs includes paracetamol, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotic drugs (opioids) such as morphine and many more.  
Anaphylactic shock A life-threatening allergic reaction characterised by a swelling of body tissues including the throat, difficulty in breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure.  
Antibiotics Antibiotics are a group of medications used to treatment bacterial infections. Different types of antibiotic are used to treat different infections. Since PBS/IC is not due to bacterial infection, antibiotics are not an appropriate form of treatment, unless a PBS/IC patient also has a bacterial infection in the bladder in addition to the PBS/IC. Side effects of antibiotics include overgrowth of yeast (candida/thrush) and may result in e.g. vaginal candida.  
Antibody A protein made by white cells (B-lymphocytes) and plasma cells as a response to infection or contact with other (foreign) substances. Antibodies circulate and bind to the antigen (e.g. a foreign substance or infectious agent) and render it harmless in cooperation with other components of the immune systems (e.g. complement proteins, phagocytic cells). Antibodies are classified according to their structure (IgA, IgG, IgM, IgD and IgE).  
Anticholinergic Anticholinergic drugs inhibit the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses and thereby reduce spasms of smooth muscle, such as in the bladder of PBS/IC and overactive bladder syndrome patients. Possible side effects include dryness of the mucous membranes such as in the mouth and nose.  
Anticoagulant A drug which prevents the clotting of blood.  
Anticonvulsant Anticonvulsant (also called antiepileptic): A type of drug originally intended to prevent or alleviate different forms of epilepsy. This group of drugs includes the older drug carbamazepine, and the newer drugs gabapentin and pregabalin. Anticonvulsants are now also used to treat neuropathic pain and this is the rationale behind their use for the treatment of pain in PBS/IC patients.  
Antidepressant Antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline) are believed to work in PBS/IC by blocking nerve signals that trigger pain and may also decrease muscle spasms in the bladder, thereby helping to reduce pain and frequency of urination.  
Antigen A substance which stimulates an immune response and the formation of antibodies or specific T-lymphocytes. An allergen is a type of antigen.  
Antihistamine A drug which inhibits or counteracts the action of histamine in the body by blocking the receptors. There are two types: H1 and H2.  
Anti-inflammatory drug A drug which counteracts or suppresses inflammation.  
Antimalarials Drugs used to prevent or treat malaria. Some of them, such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, various forms of lupus erythematodus, Sjögren’s syndrome, sarcoidosis and many other chronic diseases.  
Antimicrobial Preventing or interfering with the growth of microorganisms.  
Antimuscarinic A drug that counteracts the effects of muscarine or blocks the muscarinic receptors (e.g. M2 and M3). Antimuscarinic drugs are the most commonly used treatments for overactive bladder syndrome where they reduce urgency, frequency and urge incontinence.  
Antinuclear antibodies Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) are antibodies that react with nuclear substances of cells. ANA are often found in connective tissue diseases such as SLE and Sjögren’s syndrome, but also in 5-30% of healthy subjects.  
Antioxidant Any substance that reduces damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and thereby modifying chemical structures. Well-known antioxidants include a number of enzymes and other substances such as vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene that are capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation.  
Antiproliferative factor (APF) Antiproliferative factor, a peptide found in the urine of PBS/IC patients, inhibits bladder cell proliferation (the “repair” of the bladder wall). Currently being studied as a potential diagnostic marker for IC.  
Antiseptic A chemical which destroys or prevents the growth of bacteria or other microorganisms causing disease. Antiseptics can be applied to the skin or used internally to treat infections of the intestines or bladder.  
Antispasmodic Drug that reduces or eliminates spasms, including in the bladder.  
Anuria A condition in which the body stops making urine.  
Anus The opening at the lower end of the bowel through which the faeces are discharged. It is controlled by two anal sphincters which keep it closed except during defecation.  
Apoptosis Programmed cell death, the normal removal of cells which forms part of the normal maintenance and renewal of cell tissue in the body.  
Artery A blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart.  
Arthralgia Pain in one or more joint(s).  
Arthritis Inflammation of one or more joint(s).  
Atrophy Thinning or wasting of surface tissue due to degeneration of cells. Urogenital tissues are hormone-dependent and urogenital atrophy occurs as a result of oestrogen withdrawal due to the menopause.  
Assay A test or trial used in laboratories to determine the strength, potency or purity of a substance.  
Asymptomatic Not showing any symptoms of a disease, even if the disease is present.  
Atonic A description applied to muscles which lack their normal elasticity.  
AUA American Urological Association. Professional association for urologists in the USA.

 
Augmentation A surgical procedure to make the bladder bigger. In most of these procedures, scarred, ulcerated and inflamed sections of the patient’s bladder, leaving only the base of the bladder and healthy tissue. PBS/IC can sometimes recur on the segment of colon used to enlarge the bladder.  
Autoantibody An antibody which binds to molecules or cells of one’s own body as if they were foreign..  
Autoimmune disease

A chronic disease that is mainly caused by the action of the immune system in the abcence of any known other cause.

Our body has an immune system that protects us from disease such as due to infection. In an autoimmune disease, our immune system produces antibodies or T-lymphocytes which attack our own tissues causing illness. Some autoimmune diseases are organ-specific, i.e. they attack one specific organ in the body. Others may be systemic or generalized: this means that they attack many different organs or systems throughout the body.

 
Autonomic nervous system The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the part of the nervous system that regulates the organs (the viscera) of our body such as heart, stomach and intestines. The ANS is part of the peripheral nervous system and functions in an involuntary, reflexive manner. The ANS is divided into the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system on the basis of anatomical and functional differences.  
   
   
       
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