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Interstitial Cystitis (cont.)

Other Therapies for Interstitial Cystitis

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is delivered through a device that is worn externally. The device delivers mild electric pulses to the bladder area and helps relieve pain and urinary frequency in some people with IC.
  • Bladder distention: The urinary bladder is stretched by filling it with water under general anesthesia. This test is used for diagnosing IC and may provide relief as well. Bladder distention provides relief for some people with IC, at least over the short term, probably because the bladder is stretched and its capacity is increased. The procedure may interfere with the transmission of pain signals by nerves in the bladder and thereby provide pain relief. Symptoms may temporarily worsen 24-48 hours after bladder distention but usually improve two to four weeks after the procedure.
  • Sacral nerve stimulation implants are surgically implanted devices being tested for people with IC.
  • Self-help strategies such as bladder training, dietary changes, stress reduction, and low-impact exercise may help alleviate the symptoms of IC.
  • Physical therapy with biofeedback for pelvic floor relaxation may be helpful in some people.

Next Steps for Interstitial Cystitis


IC is a condition with a variable course. For many people, the severity of symptoms fluctuates. For some, the condition goes into periods of remission. Rarely, some people may experience rapidly worsening symptoms. Although there is no treatment that reliably eliminates the symptoms of IC, a number of medications and therapies offer relief.

Support Groups and Counseling

IC has a profound adverse effect on the quality of life. Joining a support group may be especially helpful. A local chapter of the Interstitial Cystitis Association can help in providing a continuing network of support. Support and attention to associated psychosocial problems can greatly improve the person's response to treatment.

Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology


"Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2015
Medical Author:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Interstitial Cystitis »

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a clinical syndrome characterized by daytime and nighttime urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain of unknown etiology.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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