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Interstitial Cystitis (pronounced IN-TUR-STISH-UL SIS-TIE-TIS) is a chronic condition characterised by bladder pressure, bladder pain, and sometimes pelvic pain from mild discomfort to severe. 

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis include

  • pain in the pelvis

  • pain between the vagina and anus

  • burning or stinging pain in the urethra

  • chronic pelvic pain

  • a persistent, urgent need to urinate

  • frequent urination, often small amounts throughout the day and night

  • pain or discomfort while the bladder fills followed by relief after urinating

  • pain during intercourse


Causes of Interstitial Cystitis

It's likely that many factors are at play causing Interstitial Cystitis, such as a defect in the epithelium (protective lining) of the bladder, allowing urine to irritate the bladder wall.


Other suggested factors that may contribute to interstitial cystitis include an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection, or allergy.


Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis

There is no medical test to determine whether a person has interstitial cystitis.


To make a diagnosis of IC your doctor will need to understand your symptoms and medical history.


Other health issues will need to be ruled out and to do this you may have to have a pelvic exam, urine test, cystoscpy, biopsy, and/or urine cytology. 

Treatment and Management of Interstitial Cystitis

There is no simple treatment for interstitial cystitis, and each person responds differently.


You may need to try various treatments or combinations of treatments before you find an approach that relieves your symptoms including:

  • physical therapy to relieve pelvic pain associated with muscle tenderness, restrictive connective tissue, or muscle abnormalities in your pelvic floor

  • medications such as NSAID's to relieve pain, tricyclic antidepressants to help relax the bladder and block pain, antihistamines may reduce urinary urgency and frequency

  • nerve stimulation may reduce urinary frequency, increase the blood flow to the bladder and strengthen the muscles that help control the bladder or trigger the release of substances that block pain

  • bladder distention is the stretching of the bladder with water and some people notice a temporary improvement in symptoms after cystoscopy with bladder distention

  • medications instilled into the bladder using a catheter 

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