Interstitial Cystitis Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis

Are you experiencing chronic bladder pain or a persistent, urgent need to urinate?

Visit Steinberg Urology for a consultation with our urologists to address your concerns, perform diagnosis and provide you on advice as to what treatments are likely to fit your individual circumstances.


Interstitial cystitis (IC), also called bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic, or long-lasting, condition that causes painful urinary symptoms: pain, pressure, or discomfort in the suprapubic or bladder area which can cause urinary frequency or the urge to urinate that has been present for at least six weeks.

Symptoms of IC may be different from person to person. For example, some people feel mild discomfort, pressure, or tenderness in the pelvic area. Other people may have intense pain in the bladder or struggle with urinary urgency, the sudden need to urinate, or frequency, the need to urinate more often.

Health care professionals diagnose IC by ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms.

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of IC. Some researchers believe IC may result from conditions that cause inflammation in various organs and parts of the body.

Severe IC symptoms can affect your quality of life. You may feel like you can’t exercise or leave your home because you have to use the bathroom too often, or perhaps your relationship is suffering because sex is painful.

Working with experienced urologists at Steinberg Urology may help improve your IC symptoms.

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The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person. If you have interstitial cystitis, your symptoms may also vary over time, periodically flaring in response to common triggers, such as menstruation, sitting for a long time, stress, exercise and sexual activity.

The most common sign of interstitial cystitis is bladder pain, accompanied with a sensation of pressure. The pain normally gets worse as the bladder fills.

The urge to urinate is far beyond the norm. A patient with interstitial cystitis may feel the need up to 60 times, day and night.

Interstitial cystitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain.
  • A persistent, urgent need to urinate.
  • Frequent urination, often of small amounts.
  • Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Pain in your pelvis or between the vagina and anus

Although signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis may resemble those of a chronic urinary tract infection, there’s usually no infection. However, symptoms may worsen if a person with interstitial cystitis gets a urinary tract infection.

If you’re experiencing chronic bladder pain or urinary urgency and frequency, contact Steinberg Urology for a consultation.


Currently the cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. There may be a connection to other diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. People with interstitial cystitis may also have a defect in the protective lining (epithelium) of the bladder. A leak in the epithelium may allow toxic substances in urine to irritate your bladder wall.

Patients are typically women under 50. A family history of the condition may increase your risk.

Interstitial cystitis medical conditions

Interstitial cystitis may be related to such medical conditions as:

  • Autoimmune disease.
  • Allergies.
  • Defects in the lining of the bladder.
  • Vascular (blood vessel) disease.
  • Mast cell (cells that cause allergic symptoms) abnormalities.
  • Presence of abnormal substances in the urine.
  • Unidentified infections.


These factors are associated with a higher risk of interstitial cystitis:

  • You gender. Women are diagnosed with interstitial cystitis more often than men. Symptoms in men may mimic interstitial cystitis, but they’re more often associated with an inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis).
  • Your skin and hair color. Having fair skin and red hair has been associated with a greater risk of interstitial cystitis.
  • Your age. Most people with interstitial cystitis are diagnosed during their 30s or older.
  • Having a chronic pain disorder. Interstitial cystitis may be associated with other chronic pain disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.


Diet and lifestyle choices may help reduce the symptoms of painful bladder syndrome.

  • Avoid citrus fruits
  • Avoid spicy food
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Drink water to stay hydrated
  • Take warm baths
  • Manage stress

Interstitial cystitis can lead to isolation or depression, so it is also important to seek counselling for the necessary support in dealing with the condition.


Our urologist will ask if you have a history of health problems related to IC. He will ask questions about your symptoms and other questions to help find the cause of your bladder problems.

If you are a woman who has IC symptoms, your doctor may also perform a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, he will check your pelvic floor muscles to see if any of your painful symptoms are related to spasm in your pelvic floor muscles.

Doctors diagnose IC based on:

  • Pain in or near the bladder, usually with urinary frequency and urgency
  • The absence of other diseases and conditions that could cause similar symptoms, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder cancer, endometriosis in women, or prostatitis—infection or inflammation of the prostate—in men.

There is no definitive test to prove interstitial cystitis but tests typically include:

  • Medical history and bladder diary. Your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and may ask you to keep a bladder diary, recording the volume of fluids you drink and the volume of urine you pass.
  • Pelvic exam. During a pelvic exam, your doctor examines your external genitals, vagina and cervix and feels your abdomen to assess your internal pelvic organs. Your doctor may also examine your anus and rectum.
  • Urinalysis and urine culture. At the doctor’s office, you may be given a cup to take into the bathroom. A health care professional will give you instructions for collecting urine in the cup. White and red blood cells and bacteria in the urine may indicate a UTI, which can be treated with an antibiotic.
  • Cystoscopy. Doctors may use cystoscopy to look inside the urethra and bladder. Doctors use a cystoscope, a tubelike instrument, to look for bladder ulcers, cancer, swelling, redness, and signs of infection.



Urodynamic Testing


Lab Test


Painful bladder syndrome is a relatively common problem, and though there is no known cure, the symptoms can be treated to provide sufferers with relief.


For pain and inflammation. Medicine may be taken by mouth or put right into the bladder. There are many different medicines that may be used. Your doctor may suggest that you take over-the-counter pain medicine to help control mild bladder pain.


Dimethyl sulfoxide bladder therapy is an anti-inflammatory and bladder irrigating drug believed to reduce swelling and pain due to interstitial cystitis and improve blood supply to the treated area.


The pelvic muscles hold the bladder in place and help control urination. Exercising these muscles may relieve pelvic pain associated with muscle tenderness, restrictive connective tissue or muscle abnormalities in your pelvic floor.. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you perform this exercises correctly.


The bladder is removed and patients use a catheter to divert urine to a bag.

Bladder surgery is considered a last resort for patients with debilitating symptoms. The majority of patients will not require such an extreme solution.


The images and/or videos are not presented as a guarantee of result. The results may vary. Patients gave their consent for the publication of images and/or videos.


At Steinberg Urology we pride ourselves on our compassionate care we offer to those facing challenges that affect their quality of life. Our urologists have years of experience and a commitment to excellence.

If you need to discuss this sensitive medical concern, schedule a consultation at our clinic in a safe confidential environment. Let us help you achieve optimal health and wellness in a professional setting.


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