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Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a complex, chronic condition associated with recurrent bladder pain. Also called Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS), interstitial cystitis is more common in women and may worsen during their menstrual cycles. Severity of symptoms may fluctuate.


Common symptoms of interstitial cystitis may include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Discomfort (including pressure) in pelvic area
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Urgent urination, resulting in small amounts voided


Dietary changes. Avoidance of suspected, but not known triggers, including alcohol; spicy, sugary and acidic foods; and dairy products.

Oral medication. From over-the counter analgesics, like aspirin or ibuprofen, to prescribed medication.

Bladder instillation. The bladder is temporarily filled with medications using a small hollow tube called a catheter, which is then removed. Usually administered every week for six to eight weeks.

Bladder hydrodistention. While the patient is under anesthesia, the bladder is filled to its limit with water or saline solution. This procedure is believed to stretch the bladder and interrupt pain signals. Anti-inflammatory and other agents can also be instilled into the bladder at this time. Relief is often temporary.

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