Interstitial Cystitis


Interstitial cystitis or IC is a urologic syndrome characterized by excessive urinary urgency, frequency and pain.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a urologic syndrome characterized by excessive urinary urgency, frequency, nocturia (nighttime urination) and pain in the lower abdomen and/or perineum. It can occur at any age, however, the median age at diagnosis is between 42 and 46 years. The cause of IC is unclear. It is believed to be related to irregularities in the bladder lining and/or an allergic/immune response.

IC can severely affect an individual’s quality of life. Promising developments in the treatment of IC include medications, such as Elmiron, which works to restore the normal function of the bladder lining. Other drugs with calming effects on the bladder may also be helpful. Bladder instillations with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) have achieved variable success. Hydrodistention of the bladder under anesthesia is a common therapeutic and diagnostic procedure. In the most severe cases, surgery including denervation, urinary diversion and augmentation cytoplasty may be performed. All of these evaluation and treatment options are available at Urology Austin.

What Is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is more commonly referred to as bladder pain syndrome or BPS. It’s a common condition that’s experienced by women and men of any age.

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

Symptoms of cystocele are often mild and may not appear or cause problems for years after the mother has given birth.

When symptoms are present they include:

  • A burning sensation during urination
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased painful urination after eating highly-acidic foods
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvic region

Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

BPS is treated in several ways depending on the seriousness of the condition. Your urologist may recommend simple exercises that you can do at home that help strengthen the pelvic floor. Often times, a physical therapist is enlisted to help treat BPS through trigger point release and message therapy. Patients may also be asked to eliminate certain foods from their diets including caffeine, herbal teas, fruits and fruit juices, tomatoes and other foods with a high concentration of acid.

If the problem persists, your urologist may recommend medication to address BPS. Some medications are thought to coat the bladder and act as a “protectant” to lessen the pain. Within the medical community, alternative treatments such as meditation, acupuncture and biofeedback techniques have also been used with varying degrees of success.

In any case, when you meet with your urologist, discuss all available options. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes will eliminate the pain associated with interstitial cystitis.

Female Urethral Syndrome

Urethral syndrome is a condition involving pain at the urethra that can occur during urination or without regard to urination. Treatment may consist of oral medication or local estrogen replacement therapy. Urethral syndrome may exist as a component of interstitial cystitis.