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What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder condition which often presents with pelvic pain, urinary urgency and urinary frequency. Although this sounds very similar to a bacterial bladder infection, this chronic condition is not caused by an infection. The diagnosis is established by exclusion of other conditions such as infection, bladder stones, kidney disease, sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis, and other disorders. Sometimes, a camera into the urinary bladder called cystoscopy is performed to look for red patches or other abnormalities that can be seen with the camera.

IC is often associated with other concomitant diseases. In our practice we see IC can coexist with endometriosis, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and Sjögren’s syndrome. Often, the treatment for the underlying conditions helps the IC improve as well. We usually start with dietary changes (such as removing acidic food, citrus fruits and coffee from the diet). If that is not helpful, the specialist can recommend medications, supplements, psychosocial support, pelvic floor therapy, and biofeedback.



  1. Weinstock, L.B., Klutke, C.G. & Lin, H.C. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Patients with Interstitial Cystitis and Gastrointestinal Symptoms. Dig Dis Sci 53, 1246–1251 (2008).
  2. Patnaik, S.S., Laganà, A.S., Vitale, S.G. et al. Etiology, pathophysiology and biomarkers of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet 295, 1341–1359 (2017).
  3. Systemic Aspects Of Interstitial Cystitis, Immunology and Linkage with Autoimmune Disorders Joop Merwe-Tetsuo Yamada-Yasuki Sakamoto -
Anna Chung Patient Care Coordinator

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