Also referred to as bladder pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic, long-lasting condition that causes painful urinary symptoms. It is defined as pain, pressure, or discomfort in the suprapubic or bladder area, which can cause urinary frequency or the abnormal urgency to urinate and with smaller volumes of urine.
Men, women, and children can develop IC at any point during their life, with the condition mostly affecting women.
Interstitial cystitis may share some of the same symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) with the difference being there is usually no infection present. However, symptoms may worsen if a person with interstitial cystitis gets a urinary tract infection. Common interstitial cystitis symptoms include:
Symptoms severity is different for everyone. Some people may experience symptom-free periods and periodic flare-ups in response to triggers such as menstruation, prolonged periods of sitting, stress, exercise, and sexual activity.
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. However, several factors can contribute to the development of this condition, such as:
There are no definitive tests to diagnose painful bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis. Your urologist will perform a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosing by an elimination process, excluding conditions of similar symptoms, such as infections, cancers, and other forms of inflammation.
Tests include a pelvic exam, urine sample and urinalysis, urodynamic evaluation, cystoscopy and bladder biopsy, bladder distension and imaging scans.
There is no cure for interstitial cystitis. However, the symptoms can be managed through a series of strategies, individualised to each patient. Treatment options include:
Seek recommendations on suitable treatment options for interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome with Colin Teo Urology. Contact us to book an appointment today.