Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition causing bladder pressure, pain, and sometimes pelvic pain.

Interstitial Cystitis, commonly referred to as IC or bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic condition characterised by bladder pressure, bladder pain, and sometimes pelvic pain. The pain can range from mild discomfort to severe.


The basics

The walls of the bladder are lined with a layer of protective mucin. In individuals with IC, this layer might be damaged, allowing toxins in urine to irritate the bladder wall, leading to the condition's characteristic symptoms. While the exact cause of IC remains unknown, various potential factors like an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection, or allergy might contribute.

It's essential for those with symptoms suggestive of IC to seek medical attention. Though there's no one-size-fits-all treatment for IC, early diagnosis and intervention can help manage symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.

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Symptoms of IC can vary from one individual to another, but common manifestations include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • A persistent, urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urination, often in small amounts
  • Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills, which is alleviated upon urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

It's worth noting that symptoms may vary in intensity and can periodically flare in response to common triggers, such as menstruation, stress, or sexual activity.

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Therapies & treatments

Pelvic Physiotherapy

Pelvic physiotherapy can help alleviate some of the muscle tension and pain associated with IC.

Oral Medications

Including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, or antihistamines, which can help to relieve pain and urinary frequency.

Bladder Instillations

A combination of medications introduced directly into the bladder can help with the symptoms.

Nerve Stimulation

Electrically stimulating the nerves that communicate with the bladder can increase blood flow, strengthen muscles, and trigger substances that block pain.

Bladder Distension

Some individuals find symptom relief after the bladder is distended (filled with a liquid or gas).

Bladder Training

This involves training your bladder to hold more urine for longer periods to reduce frequent urination.

Dietary Modifications

Certain foods and drinks can exacerbate IC symptoms. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can be beneficial.

Education and Support

Understanding IC and being part of a support community can be invaluable in managing the condition and its associated emotional impacts.

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Self-care strategies

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Interstitial Cystitis

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