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. If you’ve been experiencing chronic urinary tract symptoms — such as a frequent, urgent need to urinate or pain during urination — but do not have an infection, you may be suffering from interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.

Symptoms of Interstitial cystitis

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 stream
Pain with bladder filling


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
  • Often associated with other chronic pain syndromes including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis


Since there is no clear cause for interstitial cystitis, treatment can take time. In many cases, you may need to try a number of treatments to find the one that works best to alleviate your symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • 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

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to see Dr. Sonia Bahlani.

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