Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a complex and chronic bladder condition. IC symptoms range from mild to severe, occasional to constant. Symptoms include pain, pressure or discomfort. Patients urinate more frequently and have an increased urge to urinate. IC is also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), chronic pelvic pain and frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome. An estimated 3.3 million women and 1.6 million men in the U.S. suffer from some form of IC.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Womens Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
The exact cause of IC is still unknown. Researchers are investigating theories to understand the causes of IC and to determine appropriate treatments. These include:
The following are the most common symptoms of IC. However, each person may experience symptoms differently.
There is no definitive test to diagnose IC, and symptoms of IC mimic those of other urinary disorders. A variety of diagnostic tests and procedures may be necessary. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, these include:
There is no one specific way to diagnose IC and no cure for IC, making it difficult to treat. However, if a patient has typical symptoms and a negative urine examination shows no infection, IC is often suspected. Treatments focused on relieving symptoms may include:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in interstitial cystitis. Our goal is to alleviate symptoms so you can return to every life. Appointments are confidential and private.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, routinely collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your urologist discovers that an underlying illness has contributed to your interstitial cystitis, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an evaluation.
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