Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis (IC), or painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition affecting the bladder. Symptoms of IC include distressing bladder pressure, urinary urgency, and pain in the bladder and/or pelvic region.

The bladder is a muscular, hollow organ. Normally, when the bladder is full of urine, it triggers the urge to urinate and empty the bladder. In a woman with interstitial cystitis, the signal from the bladder to the brain is dysfunctional, causing urinary urgency, pain, and the need to urinate frequently even when the bladder is not full. Many women with IC will report symptoms of urinary urgency and frequency, and will have had multiple negative tests for urinary tract infections.

What Causes Interstitial Cystitis?

What causes painful bladder syndrome isn’t entirely clear. In general, the symptoms could result from:

  • Bladder infections
  • Vaginal atrophy due to menopause
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Defects in the epithelial skin cells that line the bladder walls

Interstitial cystitis is often associated with chronic pain disorders as well as pain with sexual intimacy.

What Are the Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis?

Painful bladder syndrome symptoms will vary among and affect women differently. Unfortunately, symptoms can mimic those of a bladder infection and can range from mild to severe. In addition, discomfort may come and go or be constant. Symptoms often get worse during a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Signs of interstitial cystitis often include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Pain in the urethra, above the pubic bone, or pelvic area
  • Pain when the bladder is filling
  • Pain in the vulva, vagina, and/or pelvic floor
  • Pain during sexual intercourse or orgasm

What is the Best Treatment for Interstitial Cystitis?

In the past, medications were the first line of defense in treating interstitial cystitis. However, taking medications may come with risks, such as certain types of eye damage.

At The Pelvic Floor Institute located in Bartow, and soon in Sarasota, Florida, we strive to educate our patients so that they to understand all their treatment options beyond medications. We offer treatments for interstitial cystitis that include:

  • Botox injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Bladder retraining
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Physical activity and exercises

Many of our patients report substantial symptom improvements after one or more of the treatments mentioned above.

If you think you are experiencing interstitial cystitis, contact us at The Pelvic Floor Institute. Dr. Lennox Hoyte is a world-renowned pelvic floor specialist and expertly treats women throughout Tampa Bay, Sarasota, and the state of Florida who are suffering from IC and all types of pelvic floor disorders.