Interstitial cystitis​

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Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the bladder lining.

Why does Interstitial cystitis (IC) happen?

The exact cause of IC is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of factors, including dysfunction of the protective lining of the bladder, a compromised immune response, and nerve abnormalities.

Common symptoms

People with interstitial cystitis experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms that can significantly impact their daily lives. Common symptoms include frequent and urgent urination, pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, and a constant feeling of pressure or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region. The severity of symptoms can vary among individuals and may fluctuate over time, with periods of remission and flares.


Treatment for interstitial cystitis aims to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. One of the first steps in managing IC is adopting a special diet, often referred to as an elimination diet. This involves avoiding certain foods and beverages that can trigger bladder irritation, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and acidic foods. By identifying and eliminating potential triggers, patients can experience relief from symptoms and reduce the frequency and intensity of flares.

Stress management and relaxation techniques can also play a significant role in managing IC symptoms. High levels of stress and anxiety can exacerbate bladder symptoms, so finding ways to cope with stress, such as through mindfulness practices, meditation, or yoga, can be beneficial.

Pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) is another essential component of IC management. A specialized pelvic PT can work with patients to strengthen and relax the pelvic floor muscles, which can alleviate pain and improve bladder function.

For medications, there are various options available to help manage IC symptoms. Medications that decrease the acidity of the urine can be prescribed to reduce bladder irritation and discomfort. Additionally, oral medications, such as antihistamines and tricyclic antidepressants, can help alleviate pain and reduce urinary urgency and frequency.

In some cases, bladder instillations may be recommended. This involves administering medications directly into the bladder via a catheter, providing targeted relief to the irritated bladder lining.

In some cases, cystoscopy with hydrodistention may be performed to stretch the bladder and improve symptoms.

Does Interstitial cystitis (IC) Last forever

Although IC can be challenging to cure completely, there are various approaches to successfully alleviate discomfort and minimize the impact of flares. The primary goal of treatment is to provide significant relief from symptoms, enabling individuals with IC to lead a fulfilling and comfortable life.

MEET Dr. Alexandra Dubinskaya

A leader in women’s sexual health

Dr. Alexandra Dubinskaya is a board-certified, fellowship-trained Urogynecologist and Sexual Health specialist whose mission is to enhance women’s quality of life by improving their pelvic and sexual health. Dr. Dubinskaya’s focus is on making a difference in people’s lives through state-of-the-art, compassionate, and personally tailored care.

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