I've had a chronic/recurrent urinary issue for a few years and doctors have been consistently unhelpful. Do I need to insist on a referral to a specialist, try something else or just chill out? Gross details inside.
The problem: frequent urge to pee, even immediately after peeing. It's not a "desperate have to go now" urge, but a slight discomfort, a feeling that I'm not quite done even though I am. The feeling seems to be lower in my bladder, maybe centred in my urethra instead of my bladder. No pain in the bladder or urethra, no incontinence, no blood in the urine, not a total life ruiner but it can get annoying.
It showed up one summer three years ago, stayed for a few months and then went away. Since then it has shown up for stretches of a couple months, and then gone away completely for longer periods of time. I haven't been able to establish a connection to diet, sex, or other behavior except that it seems to happen more in the summertime. It started before I was ever sexually active, so I don't think it is a sex thing. I have since had routine STI screenings and nothing came back.
I went to several doctors during the initial episode and got multiple UTI tests, all which came back negative, and after which I was told to calm down and/or go home. I talked to my regular doctor about possibly going to a urologist and the possibility of interstitial cystitis
; she said she didn't feel it was necessary and that IC typically involves serious pain. She also said that the diagnostic for IC involves filling the bladder with fluid and seeing if you feel pain and pointed out that it was unlikely that it would happen for me. I do not have any pelvic or urethral pain, only discomfort/urge to urinate.
I also have history of being a bit of a hypochondriac and freaking out over various minor symptoms. I feel like this may have led my regular doctor to downplay the severity since she's used to just telling me cool it. On the other hand, she might be right since all the extra medical procedures may just leave me with additional bother and anxiety and lead to nothing. I live in Canada and do not have to pay to see a doctor but seeing a specialist requires a lot of waiting.
I had pretty much accepted that this is going to be annoying symptom that I will have to live with sometimes, but I'm a month into a bout of it right now and it's getting kind of annoying and I'm wondering if I've given up too soon. Should I put my foot down and get a urologist referral? Is it worth the bother to get tested to see if I have IC with my relatively minor, pain-free symptoms? Is there a chance I have something else like kidney stones, gynaecological issues, or irritation in my urethra? Are there any supplements or lifestyle changes I could try in the meantime?
Sorry for the long post - any and all advice is appreciated.