What is the treatment of Interstitial Cystitis?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 13, 2013

treatment of Interstitial Cystitis

The exact cause for interstitial cystitis has not yet been discovered. Due to this reason, it is highly difficult to develop a complete cure for this disease. That being stated, there do exist treatments that can help to control the infections and regress the pain and discomfort to a large extent.


[Read: What is Interstitial Cystitis]

Following is a list of treatments for interstitial cystitis:

  • Diet and self management: Research has found that a great degree of comfort can be achieved through the management of diet in interstitial cystitis patients. Although, it is not clear, which foods can cause the bladder irritations to flare up; it is advisable to consume foods rich in fibre, which also helps to keep constipation at bay. Meeting a dietician to plot, which foods flare the symptoms is a necessity.


  • Physical therapy: This therapy employed to ease the pain and pressure has known to be highly effective. Physical therapy can be both internal and external. The internal methods are only resorted to once the patient is comfortable with the therapists. Some of the external physical therapies are skin rolling, nerve release, and joint mobilization.


  • Nerve stimulation: There are two possible ways, in which the nerves can be stimulated to help control the frequency of urine and bladder pain.

      I. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): It is electrical pulse used to relieve pelvic pain and urine frequency. These pulses can be applied either once or twice a day depending on the case. The wires are placed on the lower back or the pubic area, for best results. In severe cases, the wires may be inserted in the vaginal area of women or the scrotum region of men, for immediate relief.

     II. Sacral nerve stimulation: The main connections from the spinal cord to the bladder are the sacral nerves. Stimulation of these nerves helps reduce the pain in the bladder through promotion of blood circulation. The pulses from the wires used in the stimulation serves the same function that a pacemaker does for the heart muscles, in the bladder. If it is noticed that this treatment is substantially responsible for reduction of pain, a permanent device can be installed.


[Read: Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis]


  • Bladder distention: When the bladder muscles are stretched or exercised through the use of water or gas, the procedure is referred to as bladder distention. This procedure, when used on patients suffering from interstitial cystitis, may provide relief in the bladder pain.


  • Medications instilled into the bladder: Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is a prescribed medication that is inserted into the bladder through a thin tube called a catheter. Along with DMSO, other medication and anaesthesia may also be added. This concoction of medication is left in the bladder for 15 minutes and is then expelled through urination. This method of treatment helps reduce the muscle contractions and thus provides some pain relief.


  • Surgery: Surgical treatment of interstitial cystitis is the last resort. There are number of surgical methods that can be used once all other treatments have failed.

               I. Bladder augmentation: A portion of the bladder is surgically replaced with a part of the colon. This procedure doesn’t guarantee a reduction in pain.

              II. Fulguration: This treatment method is used to burn out ulcers caused during interstitial cystitis.

             III. Resection: This method of treatment also gets rid of the ulcers by cutting them off through a minimally invasive method. Instruments are inserted through the urethra to carry out the procedure.


[Read: Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis]


Choosing a certain path of treatment will involve some amount of trial and error and will vary from one individual to another. Due to the varying nature of symptoms between individuals and within the same individual, it is essential that various treatments are adopted to arrive on the best match. Although, the above mentioned treatments cannot completely cure the symptoms of interstitial cystitis, improvement in health is usually seen within a couple of weeks.  It could be a year before the symptoms are completely controlled, however, relief will be felt if the right treatment is chosen correctly.

Read more articles on Interstitial Cystitis.



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