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Alternative Names Return to topCystitis - interstitial; IC
Definition Return to top
Interstitial cystitis is a long-term (chronic) inflammation of the bladder wall.
Causes Return to top
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful condition due to inflammation of the tissues of the bladder wall. The cause is unknown. The condition is usually diagnosed by ruling out other conditions (such as sexually transmitted disease, bladder cancer, and bladder infections).
IC is frequently misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection. Patients often go years without a correct diagnosis. On average, there is about a 4-year delay between the time the first symptoms occur and the diagnosis is made.
The condition generally occurs around age 30 to 40, although it has been reported in younger people. Women are 10 times more likely to have IC than men.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Diagnosis is made by ruling out other causes. Tests include:
Treatment Return to top
There is no cure for IC, and there are no standard or consistently effective treatments. Results vary from person to person. As long as the cause is unknown, treatment is based on trial and error until you find relief.
Elmiron is the only medication taken by mouth that is specifically approved for treating IC. This medicine coats the bladder like Pepto-Bismol coats the stomach.
Other medicines may include:
Other therapies include:
Some patients find that changes in their diet can help control symptoms. The idea is to avoid foods and beverages that can cause bladder irritation. Below are some of the foods that the Interstitial Cystitis Association says may cause bladder irritation.
Experts suggest that you do not stop eating all of these foods at one time. Instead, try eliminating one at a time to see if that helps relieve your symptoms.
Support Groups Return to top
For additional information and support, see interstitial cystitis support groups.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Treatment results vary. Some people respond well to simple treatments and dietary changes. Others may require extensive treatments or surgery.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Be sure to mention that you suspect this disorder. It is not well recognized or easily diagnosed.
References Return to top
Hanno PM. Painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis and related disorders. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 10.
Moldwin RM, Evans RJ, Stanford EJ, Rosenberg MT. Rational approaches to the treatment of patients with interstitial cystitis. Urology. 2007;69:73-81.Update Date: 5/22/2008 Updated by: Scott M. Gilbert, MD, Department of Urology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.