What is interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome?

Interstitial cystitis is a condition that’s characterized by an inflamed bladder with symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection but with no infection present.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

If you’ve been experiencing chronic urinary tract symptoms but do not have an infection, you may suffer from interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. These symptoms include:

  • Pressure in the abdomen/bladder
  • Pain in the abdomen/bladder
  • Prolonged lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Frequency and urgency of urination
  • Difficulty starting/completing a stream
  • Pushing or straining to start the stream
  • Pain with bladder filling

Causes and prevention

The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, but doctors believe the condition is associated with the following factors:

  • Inflammation
  • Neuro-muscular causes
  • Disruption in the G-A-G layer
  • Other chronic pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, or rheumatoid arthritis

Since there is no apparent cause for interstitial cystitis, you may need to try several treatments to find the best way to alleviate your symptoms, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Bladder instillations
  • Nerve stimulation to block pain and relax your bladder
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise, and smoking
  • Alternative medicine, such as acupuncture
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy

How is interstitial cystitis diagnosed?

If a patient is experiencing the symptoms of interstitial cystitis, Dr. Bahlani may use the following to confirm:

  • A cystoscopy
  • Pelvic exam
  • An examination of the condition of the pelvic floor muscles

Diagnosing this condition may require a “cystoscopy,” in which a tube-like instrument is inserted into the urethra. The tool has a tiny camera, with images sent in real-time to a video monitor, allowing a full view of the bladder and urethra.

Treating interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome

Every patient treated at Pelvic Pain Doc in NYC will have a customized treatment plan to address the unique factors contributing to pain and discomfort. Dr. Sonia Bahlani takes a holistic approach to treating patients, forging a positive patient-doctor relationship collaboratively to resolve the condition and enhance the quality of life.

The treatment may involve:

  • Several changes in lifestyle
  • Steroid injections in the bladder
  • Burning or fulguration of "Hunner's Lesions" for patients with this type of IC/BPS
  • Bladder instillation to treat inflammation of the bladder wall and lining
  • Nerve stimulation blocks pain and leads to the relaxation of the bladder
  • BOTOX injections
  • Physical therapy

She believes every patient deserves relief and to control pain rather than be controlled by it. A customized treatment plan will be developed to improve the condition significantly.

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Why choose us?

Pelvic Pain Doc is a boutique concierge urology and gynecology practice in NYC, established by Dr. Sonia Bahlani, who is fellowship trained in sexual and pelvic health, which many doctors are not. For 5-star care from a thought leader and expert in pelvic pain, including interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome, your treatment will be under the care of a recognized leader in the field. Many of the procedures for the treatment of IC/BPS in the field have been pioneered by Dr. Bahlani. 

Advanced treatments for bladder pain syndrome

Many patients achieve long-term relief with BOTOX injections. These injections should be performed by a surgeon that can perform them “in her sleep,” as you will find with Dr. Bahlani. Performed in-office, with minimal anesthesia, these injections are 90 to 95% effective. Dr. Bahlani brings the clinical acumen to diagnose interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome correctly and the surgical skills to achieve arguably the best results possible.

As a leader in pelvic pain, Dr. Bahlani is a published author and is frequently called upon as a guest on various media outlets and informational podcasts to discuss and dispel the myths and shed light on the causes and treatments for pelvic pain.

Contact us when you’re ready to learn more about treating interstitial cystitis.

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