Interstitial Cystitis (IC), also known as chronic pelvic pain, is a painful inflammatory condition affecting the bladder and/or pelvic region. IC is not brought about by one specific trigger, instead, it can result from various factors making it difficult to evaluate and treat. Depending on its underlying cause, IC may be treated with medication, diet or behavior modification and stress management. If these options aren’t effective in controlling symptoms, a bladder instillation may be prescribed.
What is a bladder instillation?
A bladder instillation is an in-office procedure in which medication or a combination of medications are injected (instilled) into the bladder through a urinary catheter. This procedure can be done in the office or the patient can be taught to do it at home. The instillation is performed in an effort to relieve pain and inflammation. An instillation requires very little preparation and patients are able to leave following the procedure. The provider will advise their patient if any medications should be stopped beforehand.
Prior to undergoing treatment, the patient will be asked to drain their bladder. A catheter can then be used to drain any remaining urine. While the patient is lying down, a catheter that contains medication will be inserted through the urethra into their bladder. Once inside the bladder, the medication will be released and the catheter removed. The goal is to have the patient hold the medication inside their bladder for 30 minutes to two hours if possible. This allows the bladder to be in direct contact with the medication for a suitable period of time. While it is being held, the patient will be asked to change positions so that the medication coats the entire bladder.
The physician will determine how many instillations the patient will need for their initial treatment series, and if additional maintenance treatments are recommended to address lingering symptoms. During subsequent visits, patient should try to hold the medication in their bladder for longer periods of time.
Following a bladder instillation, any abnormal or bothersome urinary symptoms should be reported the provider. It is also recommended that patients drink plenty of water to help flush the bladder.