Interstitial Cystitis - painful bladder syndrome

Interstitial Cystitis - painful bladder syndrome

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis – also called painful bladder syndrome – is a chronic condition that causes uncomfortable pressure and pain in the bladder and/or pelvic area. The cause of interstitial cystitis is not known but it is suggested that autoimmune reactions, heredity, infection or allergy may play a role in its development. It can also be associated with other chronic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Interstitial cystitis can affect anyone, but is more common in women.

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can vary. Symptoms may also change over time or flare up in response to certain triggers, such as menstruation, sitting for an extended period, stress, exercise and sexual activity. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • A persistent, urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. In many cases, these symptoms may suggest interstitial cystitis, but they can also be signs of another health condition.

Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis

People who have interstitial cystitis are most commonly diagnosed in their 40s. The following may be used to help your doctor determine a diagnosis:

  • Medical history and a bladder diary
  • Complete pelvic exam
  • Urine test
  • Potassium sensitivity test
  • Cystoscopy
  • Biopsy of bladder and urethra tissue

Treating Interstitial Cystitis

There is no specific treatment that completely eliminates interstitial cystitis and no one treatment works for everyone. However, a variety of medications and other therapies may offer relief. Your doctor may suggest you try one of, or a combination of, the following:

  • Oral medications, such as ibuprofen or antihistamines to relieve pain
  • Nerve stimulation, which is mild electric pulses that may relieve pain or reduce urine frequency
  • Bladder distention, which is the stretching of the bladder with water or gas

Your doctor will work with you to determine the treatment option that is best for you.

Academic Urology Locations

  • Brinton Lake

    Crozer Medical Plaza
    500 Evergreen Dr.,
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

  • Bryn Mawr

    919 Conestoga Rd
    Building 1, Suite 300
    Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

  • Center for Pelvic Medicine, LLC

    919 Conestoga Rd
    Building 1, Suite 301
    Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

  • Coatesville

    213 Reeceville Rd
    Coatesville, PA 19320

  • Glen Mills

    100 Maris Grove Way
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

  • King of Prussia

    211 S. Gulph Rd.
    King of Prussia, PA 19406

  • Media

    200 East State Street
    Suite 205
    Media, PA 19063

  • Paoli

    2 Industrial Boulevard
    Building C, Suite 120
    Paoli, PA 19301

  • Phoenixville

    824 Main Street
    Suite 301
    Phoenixville, PA 19460

  • Pottstown

    20 Sunnybrook Road
    Pottstown, PA 19464

  • The Prostate Center

    211 South Gulph Rd.
    Suite 200
    King of Prussia, PA 19406

  • West Chester

    915 Old Fern Hill Road
    Building B
    West Chester, PA 19380

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