Cystitis interstitial

Interstitial Cystitis: What You Need to Know

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is an inflammatory bladder condition that can cause moderate to severe bladder pain, urinary urgency and frequency, and pelvic pain. IC can greatly impact your day-to-day life, but fortunately, you can manage your symptoms with the help of your doctor. Read on for information about IC, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

What are the Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis?

Symptoms associated with IC can include:

  • Pain: This can vary from sharp pain in the lower abdomen to a feeling of pressure or pain in the bladder area.
  • Urgency: This is an increased sensation of needing to urinate even when your bladder may not be entirely full.
  • Frequency: You may be making frequent trips to the bathroom—for example, more than eight times a day or at night multiple times—even though you may not be drinking large amounts of fluids.
  • Pelvic pain: This may include general discomfort in the pelvic area, pain during sexual activity, or pain in other areas that are linked to the urinary system.

How is Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects you might have IC, they’ll do a physical exam to check for signs of inflammation or infection in the area. They may also request a urinary flow study (UFS) or cystoscopy to check the inner lining of the bladder. Your doctor may also use urine samples to test for infection.

How is Interstitial Cystitis Treated?

Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may suggest any of the following treatments:

  • Medications: These can include anti-inflammatories, over-the-counter pain relievers, or oral medications that can help reduce the symptoms of IC.
  • Bladder instillations: These involve the insertion of a solution directly into the bladder to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: This type of therapy can help you manage your pelvic floor muscles and reduce pelvic pain or discomfort.
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet, such as avoiding spicy foods and acidic drinks, can help reduce your IC symptoms. You may also benefit from quitting smoking and avoiding caffeine.

Remember: There are many other treatments for interstitial cystitis and your doctor can help you create a treatment plan that works for you.