Interstitial Cystitis

Content written by Irwin Goldstein MD


Interstitial cystitis (IC) (also know as Painful Bladder Syndrome) is a condition in which the bladder lining becomes severely inflamed. The causes frequent urination (up to 60 times a day!) and severe pelvic pain and dysapareunia. Seventy-five percent of women with IC say that sex makes their pain and need to urinate worse.


While there are probably many different causes that start IC it is most commonly reported to start after “severe urinary tract infection” Hormonal, neurologic, immunologic, genetic, infectious, and environmental factors all play a role in the initiation of IC. Hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction frequently accompanies IC. An additional causes is Injury to the bladder mucosa.


Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis include: Urinary frequency, pain and burning with urination, bladder pain, and dyspareunia (sexual pain).


The following tests should be performed to diagnose Interstitial Cystitis: Cystoscopy, bladder biopsy, validated questionnaire (PUF), potassium sensitivity test, and a physical exam.


Treatment for IC include: Elmiron, bladder instillations of steroids, anesthetics, DMSO, hydrodistention of the bladder, antihistamines, and anti-depressants.