Interstitial Cystitis

Finding relief from interstitial cystitis can be frustrating. Often misdiagnosed as a chronic bladder infection or overactive bladder, people often suffer for years before receiving proper treatment. At Urology Partners, our specialists are experienced in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of this painful condition.

Call 866-367-8768

Interstitial cystitis sufferers can feel a persistent, urgent need to urinate up to 60 times per day.

What is interstitial cystitis?

This chronic condition is part of a spectrum of diseases known as painful bladder syndrome. Individuals who suffer from interstitial cystitis (IC) may experience mild to severe bladder pain and pressure, as well as pelvic pain. Women often experience pain between the vagina and anus, while men experience discomfort between the scrotum and anus. Pain during sexual intercourse and a persistent, urgent need to urinate—often up to 60 times per day—are other common symptoms. It’s not an exaggeration to say that interstitial cystitis takes a dramatic toll on a person’s quality of life. Women are affected more often than men.

What causes interstitial cystitis?

While the exact cause of interstitial cystitis isn’t known, there are factors that contribute to it. A healthy bladder expands to hold urine. When it’s full and needs to be emptied it signals the brain through pelvic nerves. In most people, this creates the urge to urinate. With interstitial cystitis, these signals get mixed up. Instead, individuals need to urinate more often and pass smaller volumes of urine. Some sufferers may have a defect in the protective lining of their bladder, allowing toxic substances in urine to irritate the bladder wall.

Diagnosing interstitial cystitis.

One or more diagnostic tests may be used to confirm interstitial cystitis. They include:

Pelvic exam of the external genitals, vagina, cervix and abdomen to assess the internal pelvic organs.  

Urine test to rule out a urinary tract infection.

Urine cytology to examine bladder cells and help rule out cancer.

Cystoscopy to view the lining of the bladder using a thin tube equipped with a tiny camera (cystoscope) inserted through the urethra.

Biopsy a sample of tissue collected from the bladder and urethra to check for bladder cancer or other rare cause of bladder pain.

Potassium sensitivity test to determine if a potassium solution triggers bladder pain and urgency—clear signs of interstitial cystitis. 

How is interstitial cystitis treated?

Unfortunately, there is not one course of treatment that eliminates all the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis for all sufferers. A combination of treatment options may be needed. They can include:

Physical therapy to relieve pelvic pain associated with muscle tenderness, restrictive connective tissue or muscle abnormalities in the pelvic floor.

Oral medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) to improve the signs and symptoms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen or naproxen) to relieve pain.

Tricyclic antidepressants to help relax the bladder and block pain.

Antihistamines to reduce urinary urgency and frequency.

Pentosan polysulfate sodium to help restore the inner surface of the bladder and protect the bladder wall from substances in urine that can irritate it.

Are you struggling with symptoms of interstitial cystitis?

Let the caring and experienced physicians at Urology Partners help you regain control of your bladder.

Call 866-367-8768

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