Font Size

Interstitial Cystitis (cont.)

Medical Treatment

There is no cure for IC. The goal of treatment of IC is to provide relief of symptoms. Because there are probably many different causes of IC, no single treatment is effective for all people with IC. Treatment is tailored to the individual, based on the symptoms. Usually, different treatments are tried until symptoms improve.

People with IC may have flare-ups and remissions. A particular treatment may work for a time and then quit working. Sometimes, a change of diet or stress triggers the symptoms.

Most people with IC are helped by one or more of the following treatments:

  • Dietary and smoking restrictions: Elimination of food items that worsen symptoms
  • Medications: Anticholinergics, antimuscarinics, sodium pentosan polysulfate, tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs
  • Bladder instillations of drugs: Dimethyl sulfoxide, heparin, corticosteroids
  • Procedures, such as hydrodistention with cystoscopy (stretching of bladder)
  • Surgery
  • Other therapies: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, sacral nerve stimulation, biofeedback

It is important to remember that no treatment works immediately. It may take weeks to months for symptoms to improve. Most people need to continue treatment for their whole lives because it is possible for IC symptoms to recur, even if the disease has been in remission for a long time.

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

Must Read Articles Related to Interstitial Cystitis

Frequent Urination
Frequent Urination Having to urinate more than eight times a day or waking up to go to the bathroom more than once a night is considered frequent urination. Symptoms include urgen...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Interstitial Cystitis:

Interstitial Cystitis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial Cystitis - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis - Diet

What changes to your diet have helped manage your interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis - Treatment

What was the treatment for your interstitial cystitis?

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 »

Medical Dictionary