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How To Diagnose Interstitial Cystitis & What Is The Best Medicine For It?

Interstitial cystitis refers to a chronic health condition, which causes recurring pain or discomfort in the urinary bladder and the nearby pelvic region. IC also causes urgent, frequent, and painful urination. Approximately 700,000 to one-million people of America are patients of interstitial cystitis. 90percent of IC patients are women and the average onset age of the problem is 40years.(1)

IC leads to stiffening and scarring of the urinary bladder, reduction in the bladder capacity and glomerulations i.e. pinpoint bleeding issues.(2)

Interstitial cystitis in its severe case forces patients to suffer from unrelenting pelvic pain and it necessitates bathroom trips for every 10minutes to 15minutes that too during both day and night to get relief.(3)

How To Diagnose Interstitial Cystitis?

There is no specific test to diagnose the condition of interstitial cystitis. However, if you visit your doctor’s office because of bladder pain combined with the urgency or frequency to urinate, doctors will take steps to rule out other conditions. Both women and men initially need to rule out bladder cancer, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and sexually transmitted diseases. For this, doctors mainly conduct the following tests to rule out other health conditions-

Urine Culture And Urinalysis: In this test for interstitial cystitis, you have to urinate in a cup, which pathologists will check in a lab to detect any type of urine infection.

Postvoid Residual Volume Of Urine: Doctors will use an ultrasound method to measure the exact amount of urine, which stays in your urinate bladder just after you urinate.

Cystoscopy: Doctors and pathologists use a combination of a camera and a thin tube i.e. cystoscope to view the inner contents of your urethra and the bladder. This test is preferable only if a patient has blood in the urine or if lifestyle changes do not help.

Bladder Stretching: Doctors will fill your urinary bladder with gas or liquid for stretching it out. However, interstitial cystitis patients have to sleep under anesthesia. In some situations, doctors conduct this test as a treatment or by combining it with cystoscopy.

Biopsy Of Urethra And Bladder: Pathologists will collect a small piece of tissue and test it. The test is preferable to conduct at the time of cystoscopy.(4)

What Is The Best Medicine For Interstitial Cystitis?

There is no specific medication to cure the condition of interstitial cystitis. However, depending on your specific condition, doctors recommend medicines under the following categories-

Oral Medications: Oral medications, which prove to bring improvement in the interstitial cystitis signs and symptoms, include the following-

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: NSAIDs for interstitial cystitis are available as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, both of which aim to relieve your pain.

Tricyclic Antidepressants: Doctors prescribe you imipramine or amitriptyline medications to help you in relaxing your urinary bladder and blocking pain.

Antihistamines: Loratadine or any type of antihistamines reduces your frequency and urgency to urinate and relieve the related symptoms.

Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium: Food and Drug Administration has approved the medication of pentosan polysulfate sodium to treat the condition of interstitial cystitis.

Even though its functionality is unknown among us, it helps in restoring the inner bladder surface to protect its walls from certain substances in the urine, which may irritate it. You may need approximately two months to four months period before you start getting relief from your pain, while you need six months to experience a reduction in your urinary urgency or frequency.

Medication To Instill In The Urinary Bladder: In the process of bladder instillation, your doctor will place the prescribed medicine of dimethyl sulfoxide in the bladder by using a thin and flexible tube i.e. catheter from the urethra. In some cases, doctors mix the solution with other medicines, like local anesthesia medicine, and keep in the bladder for approximately 15minutes. You have to urinate it for expelling the solution.(5)


To conclude, we should say that there are different types of diagnostic procedures to rule out other conditions and identify the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Moreover, doctors prescribe different medications to relieve pain, inflammation, bladder infection, and other related problems to manage your IC symptoms.


Also Read:

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:July 1, 2020

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