Alternative Names: IC, Painful Bladder Syndrome, PBS, Bladder Pain Syndrome, BPS, Hypersensitive Bladder Syndrome
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) refers to an uncomfortable and annoying inflammatory condition of the bladder. The classic symptoms include urinary frequency and pain above the pubic region. The interstitial cystitis patient has a small capacity, irritated bladder. Urgency and pain intensity can vary greatly from patient to patient. No one is certain of the cause.
patients often have other chronic conditions as well, such as allergies, irritable bowel syndrome
, and sensitive skin.
Approximately 5 to 9 times as many women than men are affected, and approximately one third of women who suffer chronic pelvic
pain are found to have interstitial cystitis
Diagnosis and Tests
As with urethral syndrome, many other more common urologic problems are diagnosed incorrectly before the proper diagnosis is made. Interstitial cystitis
must be diagnosed with the use of the cystoscope, an instrument which can directly visualize the interior of the bladder.
Treatment and Prevention
While there are numerous treatments for IC there is no outright cure. Medical treatments for interstitial cystitis
have included overstretching of the bladder with water, instillation of a dilute silver nitrate solution into the bladder, and steroid
use. Currently, treatments for interstitial cystitis
are aimed at relieving symptoms rather than achieving a cure. For patients with only mild symptoms, nonprescription aspirin or ibuprofen may be enough to relieve bladder discomfort.
For some people, the pain and other negative effects of the condition may be aggravated by a variety of foods. The list can be very long but some of the commonly mentioned ones include tomatoes, spices, chocolate, caffeinated
and citrus beverages, high-acid foods and artificial sweeteners. In order to determine which (if any) of these foods may be aggravating your symptoms, you might try eliminating all of these foods for a week or two, and then reintroducing them one by one, at weekly intervals. You may then be able to tell which ones cause you problems.
IC begins gradually and becomes progressively worse. Symptoms may go away for a period of time (remission), but usually return. A survey in 1998 found that among people with interstitial cystitis
- 40% were unable to work
- 27% were unable to have sex due to pain
- 27% had marriage breakdown
- 55% contemplated suicide
- 12% had attempted suicide