Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a bladder condition characterized by frequent, painful urination, as well as a small bladder capacity, pain with intercourse and a feeling of constantly needing to go to the bathroom. It is not caused by infection, so typically, patients with IC do not respond to antibiotic treatment.
Historically, IC was thought to affect women 10 times more often than men. However, the latest medical information now reveals men are much more commonly affected than previously thought. Diagnoses commonly mistaken for IC include prostatitis, overactive bladder, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pelvic pain and fibromyalgia.
Interstitial cystitis is considered a diagnosis of exclusion. This means many other conditions may have to be ruled out before a patient is confirmed to have IC. These conditions may include a bacterial UTI, kidney stones and bladder cancer.
Past tests used to diagnose IC included bladder biopsy or distending the bladder with water while the patient is anesthetized. An easier, more accurate way to diagnose IC can now be performed in the office. The method is called potassium sensitivity testing and involves placing a small volume of test solutions in the bladder to confirm or rule out IC.
Many, many treatments have been used in the past for IC, most with modest results at best. More modern approaches to IC treatment utilize multi drug therapy but do result in satisfactory symptom control in a large majority of patients.
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