Bladder Home > Interstitial Cystitis Treatment

Bladder distention, medication, and self-help strategies are just a few of the treatment options for interstitial cystitis. A particular treatment may work for a while and then lose its effectiveness. Furthermore, people may have flare-ups and remissions or respond in varying ways to different types of treatment. Surgery is generally considered a treatment of last resort, since it does not necessarily improve symptoms.

Interstitial Cystitis Treatment: An Introduction

There is no cure for interstitial cystitis. Therefore, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms, which is a challenging task, because they vary from person to person. People may have flare-ups and remissions, and different patients respond to different forms of treatment. A particular treatment may work for a while and then lose its effectiveness. Sometimes, stress or a change of diet triggers symptoms. Occasionally, interstitial cystitis goes into remission spontaneously.
 
Interstitial cystitis treatment options can include:
 
  • Bladder distention
  • Bladder instillation
  • Medication, including Elmiron®
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Self-help strategies
  • Surgery (generally considered a treatment of last resort).

  

Bladder Distention

The most important test used when diagnosing interstitial cystitis is a cystoscopy done under anesthesia. This test uses an instrument called a cystoscope to see inside the bladder. A liquid or gas is then used to stretch the bladder (a technique called bladder distention).
 
Many patients have noted an improvement in symptoms after a bladder distention is done to diagnose interstitial cystitis. As a result, in many cases, the procedure is used as both a diagnostic test and initial therapy.
 
Researchers are not sure why distention can be an effective treatment for interstitial cystitis, but some believe that it may increase capacity and interfere with pain signals transmitted by nerves in the bladder. Symptoms may temporarily worsen 24 to 48 hours after distention, but should return to predistention levels or improve within two to four weeks.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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