Interstitial Cystitis

Also called: Bladder pain syndrome, IC, PBS, Painful bladder syndrome

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that causes discomfort or pain in the bladder and a need to urinate frequently and urgently. It is far more common in women than in men. The symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may have pain without urgency or frequency. Others have urgency and frequency without pain. Women's symptoms often get worse during their periods. They may also have pain with sexual intercourse.

The cause of IC isn't known. There is no one test to tell if you have it. Doctors often run tests to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. There is no cure for IC, but treatments can help most people feel better. They include

  • Distending, or inflating, the bladder
  • Bathing the inside of the bladder with a drug solution
  • Oral medicines
  • Electrical nerve stimulation
  • Physical therapy
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Bladder training
  • In rare cases, surgery

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

The following features are indicative of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • pain in your pelvis
  • pain between the scrotum and anus in men
  • persistent, urgent need to urinate
  • frequent urination
  • discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating
  • pain during sexual intercourse

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Common Causes of Interstitial Cystitis

The following are the most common causes of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • autoimmune reaction
  • defect in the protective lining (epithelium) of the bladder
  • leak in the epithelium

Risk Factors for Interstitial Cystitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • fair skin and red hair color
  • being a women
  • age 30 or older
  • chronic pain disorder

Prevention of Interstitial Cystitis

No, it is not possible to prevent Interstitial Cystitis.
  • unknown cause

Occurrence of Interstitial Cystitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Interstitial Cystitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Interstitial Cystitis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Interstitial Cystitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Interstitial Cystitis:
  • Medical history and bladder diary: To measure the volume of fluids you drink and the volume of urine you pass
  • Pelvic exam: To assess the external genitals, vagina and cervix
  • Urine test: To evaluate the signs of a urinary tract infection
  • Cystoscopy: To determine the bladder capacity
  • Biopsy: To diagnose the bladder cancer and other rare causes of bladder pain
  • Urine cytology: To assess the presence of cancer
  • Potassium sensitivity test: To evaluate the interstitial cystitis

Doctor for Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • Urologist
  • Urogynecologist

Complications of Interstitial Cystitis if untreated

Yes, Interstitial Cystitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Interstitial Cystitis is left untreated:
  • stiffening of the bladder wall
  • lower quality of life
  • sexual intimacy problems
  • emotional stress
  • depression

Procedures for Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

The following procedures are used to treat Interstitial Cystitis:
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: Raises the blood flow to the bladder and lowers the pelvic pain
  • Sacral nerve stimulation: Lowers the urinary urgency associated with interstitial cystitis
  • Bladder distention: Improves the symptoms
  • Surgery: Lowers the pain and treats the interstitial cystitis

Self-care for Interstitial Cystitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • Avoid spicy diet: Limiting the foods in your diet that irritate your bladder
  • Get Bladder relaxing training: To control urinary urges by using relaxation techniques
  • Wear loose clothing: Do not wear belts or clothes that put pressure on your abdomen
  • Avoid smoking: By lowering the stress
  • Exercise: Lowers the interstitial cystitis symptoms

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Interstitial Cystitis:
  • Acupuncture therapy: Reduces the pain and other symptoms by rebalancing the flow of life energy

Patient Support for Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

The following actions may help Interstitial Cystitis patients:
  • Support group: By joining support group, provides sympathetic listening and useful information about the interstitial cystitis

Time for Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Interstitial Cystitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 3 months

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Interstitial Cystitis.

Related Topics

Bladder Diseases

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