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Interstitial Cystitis

What are the causes of IC?

Although the exact cause for the development of IC is not yet known, there are certain factors that are known to increase the risk. Genetics plays a role in some cases. This disorder is mainly seen in women.

What are the symptoms of IC?

The symptoms vary from person to person in case of IC. These are some of the commonly seen symptoms of IC:

  • Frequent urgent urination

  • Loss of bladder control

  • Painful urination

  • Bladder pain

  • Urethral pain

  • Pain in lower abdomen/pelvic region/lower back/perineal area

  • Vulva/vaginal pain (in rare cases)


How is IC diagnosed?

There are several different diagnostic tests that help to determine the development of IC in a person, including:

  • Medical history

  • Physical examination

  • Urine test

  • Cystoscopy

Are there stages of IC?

IC generally begins as a slight change in urination frequency but the symptoms gradually increase and worsen as the disease progresses.
The stages (severity of symptoms) of IC in a person help to determine the best-suited treatment for the patient. 

How is IC treated?

As the exact cause for acquiring IC is not yet known, the treatment mainly focuses on treating the symptoms that the individual patient is experiencing.
The doctor may use one or a combination of several treatment methods, including:

Oral medication
Oral medications are used to decrease the inflammation on the bladder’s lining (epithelium) and restore the protective covering.

The doctor may choose to administer medication directly to the bladder using minimally invasive catheter technique. This treatment is performed in multiple sessions to ensure complete relief from the discomforting and painful symptoms.

What can be expected after IC treatment?

The treatments for IC are long-term and work gradually to remove all the symptoms effectively. The treatment methods are aimed to mainly put the condition ‘in remission’ as it is not curable.

Is it possible for IC to recur after successful treatment? How can recurrences be prevented?

Although the exact cause is unknown IC is seen returning (recurring) in some cases. This can be effectively treated using suitable treatment methods. The doctor will provide medications and instructions that will help prevent the recurrence of IC after initial treatment. 


Frequently Asked Questions: 

How does diet affect IC?

There are certain foods that are known to affect the IC and worsen the symptoms in the patient. Mainly four foods are usually advised to be avoided in case of IC, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee and chocolate as these are known to cause irritation in the bladder as these are rich in potassium. Other dietary restrictions may include spicy foods carbonated water and alcoholic drinks.

The doctor will be able to advise best on the exact dietary restriction the patient should follow to avoid IC and prevent its recurrence.

Is IC hereditary?

Some research evidence suggests that genetics may have a role to play in the development of IC in a person. It is advised to make the female family members aware of this so the symptoms, when noticed, may be reported and appropriate treatment provided on time.


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