ID: 263
Category: Urology
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 21 Jun 2023

For Bots

Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated Jun 21, 2023

Table of contents

Suggest changes

Interstitial Cystitis

Etymology and Pronunciation

interstitial (inter-sti-ti-al)
inter - Latin for "between"
interstice - English for "narrow space"
interstitial - Refers to the space between cells or tissues.

cystitis (cys-ti-tis)
cystis - Latin for "bladder"
-itis - Greek for "inflammation"

History of Interstitial Cystitis

Although Interstitial Cystitis has been known by its symptoms, it wasn't until the invention of some key technologies to make the condition diagnosable.

One of the key technologies that made the discovery of IC possible was the cystoscope. A cystoscope is a medical instrument that allows doctors to see inside the bladder using a small camera. This technology allowed doctors to visualize the abnormalities in the bladder wall and lining that are common in IC.

In the 1950s, researchers also began to use a technique called bladder distension, which involves filling the bladder with a saline solution to better visualize the bladder wall. This technique helped researchers to better understand the nature of IC and its relationship to bladder abnormalities.

In the decades following the discovery of IC, researchers have continued to use technological advancements to better understand the condition. Today, imaging technologies like MRI and ultrasound are being used to further explore the relationship between IC and the bladder. Additionally, researchers are using laboratory techniques to study the genes and proteins involved in the development of IC, which could lead to new treatments in the future.

Modern Understanding of Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis (IC), part of a category of diseases called "Painful Bladder Syndrome", is a chronic and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite its prevalence, IC remains relatively unknown and often misunderstood. This article aims to shed light on the nature, symptoms, causes, and available treatment options for Interstitial Cystitis, helping individuals better understand this enigmatic bladder disorder.

Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic condition characterized by persistent pain and discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region. It predominantly affects women, although men can also develop the disorder. IC is often a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other possible causes of symptoms such as urinary tract infections and bladder stones must be ruled out before confirming IC.

Causes of Interstitial Cystitis

The exact cause of IC is unknown, but there are several theories. Some experts believe that IC may result from a defect in the lining of the bladder, which allows irritants in urine to penetrate the bladder wall. Others believe that IC may be an autoimmune condition or a result of chronic infection. Some people may be genetically predisposed to IC, and certain triggers such as stress, diet, or hormonal changes may exacerbate symptoms. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for IC yet, but there are many treatments that can help manage the symptoms.

One common treatment for IC is medication. There are many types of medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of IC, such as pain and urgency, including anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Pelvic floor physical therapy is another commonly used treatment for IC. This therapy can help relax the muscles in the pelvic region and reduce pain and discomfort during intercourse.

Some people with IC also find relief from bladder instillations, in which medication is inserted directly into the bladder. These instillations can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Lastly, dietary and lifestyle changes can also improve the symptoms of IC. Some people may find that certain foods or activities trigger their symptoms and may need to make adjustments to their diet and lifestyle accordingly.

Lifestyle Changes

While lifestyle changes alone may not cure IC, they can help manage symptoms and improve overall quality of life. Here are some lifestyle changes that may be beneficial for individuals with interstitial cystitis:

- Diet modifications: Some people with IC find that certain foods and beverages can trigger or worsen their symptoms. Common triggers include acidic foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes), spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated beverages. Keeping a food diary and identifying personal triggers can help guide dietary modifications.
- Hydration: Drinking an adequate amount of water can help dilute urine and reduce bladder irritation. However, it is important to avoid excessive fluid intake, as it may increase the frequency of urination and discomfort. Find a balance that works for you.
- Bladder training: Gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits can help retrain the bladder and reduce the frequency of urination. Start by extending the time between bathroom breaks by a few minutes and gradually increase it over time.
- Stress management: Stress can exacerbate IC symptoms. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or any other activities that help you relax and unwind.
- Physical activity: Regular exercise can help alleviate stress, improve overall well-being, and promote healthy bladder function. Choose low-impact activities that don't put excessive pressure on the bladder, such as walking, swimming, or cycling.
- Bladder protection: Avoid prolonged sitting, especially on hard surfaces, as it can put pressure on the bladder. If necessary, use cushions or other supports to minimize pressure. Also, wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing to prevent unnecessary irritation.
- Sleep hygiene: Getting enough quality sleep is important for overall health and can help manage IC symptoms. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimize your sleep environment to promote restful sleep.
- Smoking cessation: Smoking can irritate the bladder and worsen IC symptoms. Quitting smoking can have numerous health benefits, including reducing bladder irritation.
- Heat or cold therapy: Applying a heating pad or cold pack to the lower abdomen or pelvic area may help alleviate IC-related pain and discomfort. Experiment with both options to see which provides more relief.
- Support network: Connect with others who have IC through support groups or online communities. Sharing experiences, tips, and coping strategies can be invaluable in managing the challenges of living with IC.

It's important to note that everyone's experience with IC is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consulting with a healthcare professional who specializes in IC can provide personalized guidance and treatment options based on your specific needs.

Nutrional Changes

Dietary changes can play a significant role in managing interstitial cystitis (IC) symptoms. Although triggers can vary from person to person, here are some general dietary modifications that may help reduce bladder irritation and discomfort:

- Elimination of potential triggers: Keep a food diary to track your symptoms and identify any specific foods that worsen your IC symptoms. Common triggers include acidic foods (e.g., citrus fruits, tomatoes), spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated beverages. Try eliminating these triggers from your diet and observe if it helps alleviate symptoms.
- Bladder-friendly foods: Incorporate foods that are considered bladder-friendly and less likely to irritate the bladder. These include non-citrus fruits (e.g., pears, watermelon, bananas), non-acidic vegetables (e.g., green beans, carrots, zucchini), lean proteins (e.g., chicken, fish, tofu), whole grains (e.g., quinoa, brown rice), and low-fat dairy products (if tolerated).
- Alkaline foods: Some people with IC find that consuming alkaline foods helps balance the pH of urine, reducing bladder irritation. Examples of alkaline foods include leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, melons, and most nuts.
- Hydration: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to help dilute urine and reduce bladder irritation. However, avoid excessive fluid intake, as it may increase the frequency of urination and discomfort.
- Gradual reintroduction: After eliminating potential trigger foods, gradually reintroduce them one at a time to assess your tolerance. This process can help identify specific triggers and allow you to customize your diet accordingly.
- Meal spacing: Eating smaller, more frequent meals rather than large meals can help reduce bladder pressure and discomfort. Spacing out meals and snacks throughout the day can minimize the frequency of urination.
- Cooking methods and spices: Steaming, baking, or grilling foods may be better tolerated than frying or sautéing. Additionally, using mild spices or herbs instead of spicy ones can help avoid bladder irritation.

Remember, it's essential to work closely with a healthcare professional, such as a urologist or dietitian, who specializes in IC. They can provide personalized guidance, suggest specific dietary modifications based on your triggers, and help create a tailored meal plan that suits your needs.


Pain or discomfort in the bladder region
Painful ejaculation
Blood in the urine/pee
Need to urinate/pee frequently
Painful intercourse (sex)
Abdominal pain
Pelvic pain

Confirmation Tests

- Cystoscopy
- Hydrodistention