What is the Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 15, 2013

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diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis

Many of the symptoms of interstitial cystitis are similar to those of bladder infections and or urinary tract cancer. For this very same reason, the exact diagnosis of interstitial cystitis has not yet been discovered.



[Read: Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis]

The diagnosis of interstitial cystitis depends on two factors: 

  1. The complete exclusion of any other diseases causing similar symptoms. The first step in diagnosing for interstitial cystitis is to rule out the existence of bladder cancer or urinary tract cancer in an individual. It must be noted that having interstitial cystitis does not increase the risk of having bladder cancer or urinary tract cancer. Once a patient is tested negative for any of the above mentioned cancers, the preliminary tests for presumed interstitial cystitis are carried out.


  1. Pain in the bladder accompanied by the frequent need to urinate or the urge to do so. 



Initial Evaluation of Interstitial Cystitis



The initial evaluation of interstitial cystitis is a combined examination including a physical exam and patient history. The patient history helps determine, if anyone from the patient’s family has ever been affected by interstitial cystitis among other important facts. Patient’s habits and normal urinating behaviours are tracked and recorded. The physical examination is carried out to check for tenderness in the pelvic region, and vaginal region in women and scrotum area in men. Negative results for a urinary tract infection and symptoms that last for more than six weeks usually point towards certain existence of interstitial cystitis. Doctors may employ questionnaires and other assessment and record tools to chart certain behaviour for better diagnosis.



[Read: Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis]


Evaluation of Complicated cases of Interstitial Cystitis



For complicated or advanced cases of interstitial cystitis, certain clinical tests are carried out for better diagnosis.

  • Urodynamics: It is a medical examination that tests the elasticity and strength of the muscles in the bladder, urethra and sphincter. Based on how well these muscles perform, a doctor is able to diagnose for more complicated cases of interstitial cystitis. After checking the urodynamic test results, a physician is able to suggest appropriate treatment plans.


  • Cystoscopy with hyrdodistention: This test is carried out in specific, if there are any blood cells found in the urine sample of the patient. In the presence of blood cells in the urine, there are higher chances of a cancer and hence treatment is suggested accordingly.

[Read: What is Interstitial Cystitis]


Wrong Diagnosis 


Many patients suffering from interstitial cystitis also suffer from other conditions of chronic pelvic pain and urinary urgencies. Allergies, sensitive skin and irritable bowel syndrome are some of the common overlapping conditions, in which a patient may be diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.



Read more articles on Interstitial Cystitis.






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