Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also called Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS).
It is a condition that results in discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region such as abdomen.
It is found that approximately 750,000 people in United States have interstitial cystitis. The majority of people suffering with interstitial cystitis are women.
There is no cure for interstitial cystitis, but treatments can help overcome the symptoms. Moreover, the exact cause of interstitial cystitis is not known by anyone. As there are several different causes and no particular treatment is considered to be “the best.”
The treatment for interstitial cystitis will vary from person to person. It is completely based upon the symptoms.
Even the symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis are different in different cases. You will experience a mild discomfort, stress, tenderness, or severe pain in the bladder as well as pelvic region.
You may have an urgent need to urinate, a frequent need to urinate, or a combination of both. The pain severity changes according to urine content in the bladder that is pain changes as the bladder fills with urine or as it empties.
The pain often gets worse during your menstruation. Sometimes, you may experience pain with sexual intercourse.
There are two most common treatments approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to overcome the problem of Interstitial Cystitis. One is oral pentosan polysulfate and the other is dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) that is placed into the bladder through a catheter.
The oral pentosan polysulfate is usually given with a dose of 100 mg three times a day. The possible side effects of pentosan polysulfate are very rare and if occurs then they are nausea, diarrhea and/ or gastric distress.
Normally, the treatment with oral pentosan polysulfate takes a minimum of three to six months for you to have a significant improvement in your symptoms.
The other FDA-approved treatment is dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which is placed into the bladder through a catheter. Usually this process is done once in a week for at least six weeks, and you can continue using this type of treatment as a maintenance therapy (but at longer intervals).
The DMSO helps overcome the Interstitial Cystitis symptoms in many ways including blocking inflammation, lessening pain and eliminating a type of toxin called “free radicals”, which can damage healthy tissues.
In some cases, the doctor combines DMSO with other medications such as heparin (same as pentosan polysulfate) or steroids (to decrease inflammation).
The major side effect of this combination treatment will be a garlic-like odor that remains for several hours after using DMSO.
When you feel painful in placing the DMSO into the bladder, then a local anesthetic is placed into the bladder through a catheter, or by mixing the local anesthetic with the DMSO.
A wide variety of other treatments for Interstitial Cystitis, although not approved by the FDA, are oral hydroxyzine, oral amitriptyline and instillation of heparin into the bladder through a catheter.
Besides these, you can have significant improvement with pain management that includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, strength opiates, acupuncture therapy and other non-drug therapies.