Interstitial Cystitis

Introduction
Interstitial cystitis is an inflammation in the bladder that causes pain even when no infection is found. This inflammation in the bladder can cause frequent urination, urgent need to urinate, painful urination, incontinence, and frequent need to urinate at night (nocturia).

Symptoms

  • Frequency of urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Pain while urinating
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Depression
  • Urinary incontinence

 

Diagnosis
Interstitial cystitis is usually diagnosed after other illnesses and conditions are ruled out. There are no tests specifically for interstitial cystitis but there are tests that rule out other conditions. These other tests that may be performed include:

Urine culture
Cystoscopy
Biopsy

Treatment
Treatment options for interstitial cystitis vary. Self-care at home is an option that requires little to no medical treatment. Some home care includes a specified diet excluding certain foods that worsen the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Quitting smoking and consistent exercise also helps to alleviate the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Bladder training is another option that may be able to reduce urinary frequency.

There is no cure for interstitial cystitis so the goal of treatment is to provide symptom relief. There are many different causes of interstitial cystitis, so no single treatment is effective for all people with the affliction. Medical treatments including specific medications, bladder instillations of drugs, various procedures and surgeries, as well as other therapies are all considered for interstitial cystitis treatments.

Prognosis
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that brings periods of relapse and remission. Symptoms vary from mild or severe over time. There is no cure and treatments are directed at reducing the severity of the symptoms to alleviate some of the issues.

Resources
Interstitial Cystitis Association
The Interstitial Cystitis Network