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Is Long-Term Antibiotics Treatment Good For Interstitial Cystitis?

Patients struggling from recurring interstitial cystitis could find better outcomes from a long-term course of antibiotics.1

Antihistamines approved by the Food and Drug administration may reduce urine urgency and frequency and are effective in treating Interstitial cystitis.2,3

Clinical studies demonstrate that tricyclic antidepressants help relax your bladder and block pain.4

Interstitial cystitis is chronic pain and irritative pelvic disease that causes recurring bouts of pain and pressure in the bladder. The symptoms of prostatitis and interstitial mimic that of a bladder infection. Therefore, the doctors often contemplate that it is a urinary infection and provide antibiotics to relieve the symptoms.

Although there is no specific cure, yet many treatments offer some relief, either singly or in combination. Many interstitial cystitis patients responded to antibiotic therapy despite culture results.

Is Long-Term Antibiotics Treatment Good For Interstitial Cystitis?

Is Long-Term Antibiotics Treatment Good For Interstitial Cystitis?

Nearly millions of people suffer from long term bladder conditions and urinary infections. Clinical studies state that the disorder is caused by inflammation in the nerve ending and pelvic floor. However, diagnostic test often doesn’t produce effective results and only 75% of the cases were diagnosed accurately. Most cases were diagnosed in the early ’40s when they reported problems such as chronic pain in the bladder, migraine, and fatigue.

Since there was no known cure for interstitial cystitis, several treatments were suggested for this disease to offer some kind of relief either singly or in combination. Clinical studies showed that there was no clear way to demonstrate who responded best to the treatment.1

Pilot Study On Oral Antibiotics

A study was conducted on a randomized 50 patients who sought medical attention after showing symptoms of interstitial cystitis. They were advised to receive a placebo or antibiotics over 18 weeks. The first line of treatment used was administering rifampin plus a sequence of doxycycline, erythromycin, metronidazole, clindamycin, amoxicillin, and ciprofloxacin over 3 weeks.

These antibiotics were chosen based on the previous study which provided a reasonable success for improving the symptoms in interstitial cystitis patients. The primary purpose of rifampin and ciprofloxacin was to clear infections caused by bacteria and fungi. Fluconazole was given every week to prevent candida vaginitis and to provide an overall improvement.

Patients who were given antibiotics showed an increased level of improvement when compared to IC patients who were tested with a placebo. The results showed that 12 out of 25 patients in the antibiotic group responded well to treatment but only 6 out of 25 patients noticed an improvement in the placebo group.

Studies concluded that the clinical reports advocate a long course of antibiotics that are often associated with reduced warning signs in certain patients in interstitial cystitis. However, the downside was these patients show an increased level of morbidity. Hence, this therapy was not considered as a major level of treatment in IC patients.2,3

Don’t Self-Medicate When You Have Interstitial Cystitis Flares

Most individuals try to self medicate when they notice interstitial cystitis flares without the consent of their healthcare provider. Nevertheless, this is not advisable due to the following factors

  • Infections Occasionally Cause IC Flares- Not all infections are caused by interstitial cystitis, most of the infections are caused due to several problems such as bladder wall injury, pelvic floor dysfunction, pudendal neuralgia, and few others so don’t be misguided
  • Antibiotics Can Produce Side-Effects- Antibiotics have the potential to produce temporary relief however they can produce serious adverse effects.
  • Antibiotics May Worsen Infections- Certain antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacterial flora in the gut that eventually leads to the overgrowth of chronic bacteria producing serious inflammation of the colon.4


  1. “Antibiotics Could Be Key to Relieving Chronic Bladder Pain.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 20 Mar. 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180320100847.htm.
  2. Nickel, J C. “Antibiotic Therapy for Interstitial Cystitis?” Reviews in Urology, MedReviews, LLC, 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476055/.
  3. Publishing, Harvard Health. “Diagnosing and Treating Interstitial Cystitis.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/diagnosing-and-treating-interstitial-cystitis.
  4. “Antibiotics Could Be Key to Relieving Chronic Bladder Pain.” Www.springer.com, www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/research-news/all-english-research-news/antibiotics-could-be-key-to-relieving-chronic-bladder-pain/15541578.

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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 25, 2021

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