Interstitial Cystitis



Interstitial Cystitis is a bladder condition which affects the muscular and submucosal layers of the bladder, causing inflammation. It is also known as bladder pain syndrome or IC/BPS, The exact cause of this condition is not known, but it is considered as a “diagnosis of exclusion” which means that the diagnosis is reached through a process of elimination.


Due to the above reasons, there are multiple symptoms linked to interstitial cystitis. The most common symptoms are frequent urination, urgent urination, the need to urinate in the middle of the night and sterile urine cultures. The symptoms often overlap with other disorders of the urinary bladder like prostatitis, urethritis, urethral syndrome, and overactive bladder.


A thorough patient history, physical and lab tests are recommended to detect interstitial cystitis. The potassium test is no longer in vogue. Hydrodistention with cytoscopy is useful but believed cause damage to the bladder. This is why diagnosis of exclusion is the most widely agreed choice.


Bladder distension is one way of treatment which provides short-term relief for a few weeks or months, but there is inadequate supporting documentation to confirm a positive success rate. Similar is the case for bladder instillations which is however, the most popular form of treatment for interstitial cystitis. Diet control and medication are also administered. Surgery is recommended only for extreme cases although even here, results are not conclusive.


Interstitial cystitis has an adverse effect on quality of life. Sexual life is also impacted to the extent that suicidal tendencies have also been reported in about 11% of the patients. It is comparable to the quality of life in rheumatoid arthritis or end stage renal disease. Interstitial cystitis has an official disability code in the US.


Although no fixed guidelines exist for the prevention of interstitial cystitis as the cause is not known, excluding certain food items from the diet is believed to prevent it like:

·         Citrus fruits

·         Vinegar

·         Chocolate

·         Alcohol

·         Spicy or fermented food

Treatment cost

The cost varies but could be as much as $400.00 per year per patient which would be roughly about $8.00 per week.