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Published on January 01, 2010

Women's Wellness January 2010

Understanding the Symptoms and Treatments of Interstitial Cystitis

Because there is no definite cause of IC, which is a painful condition characterized by the inflammation of the bladder wall, it is usually diagnosed by ruling out other conditions, such as bladder infections.

According to the Mayo Clinic, IC can affect children and men, but it most commonly affects women between the ages of 30 and 40. IC may often be associated with other chronic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel and fibromyalgia, but the connection between the syndromes is unknown.

The severity of symptoms caused by IC often fluctuates, and some people may experience periods of remission. Although there is no specific treatment option to cure the condition, there are a variety of medications and other therapies that can offer relief—such as Elmiron, an oral medication that is used to treat IC—and antihistamines. Some physicians may recommend nerve stimulation or bladder distension (the stretching of the bladder with inflammatory medications or bladder instillations).

Physicians may also recommend the following lifestyle changes to relieve the symptoms of IC:

  • Dietary changes – eliminating/reducing the intake of potential bladder irritants, known as the “four Cs” (carbonated beverages, caffeine, citrus products, food with a high concentration of Vitamin C)
  • Pelvic floor therapy – the specially trained female physical therapists at Crozer-Keystone’s Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Center can help to stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can reduce muscle spasms.
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Bladder training – urinating “on a set schedule” rather than waiting for the need to go

The Crozer-Keystone Center for Female Pelvic Medicine offers complete diagnostic evaluation and many treatment options for problems related to the female pelvic floor. Staffed by fellowship-trained urogynecologists, Jose Maceda, M.D. and Laurie Kane, M.D., patients have access to the latest surgical techniques and conservative therapies for female pelvic floor disorders.

For more information about pelvic floor disorders and treatment options available at the Crozer-Keystone Center for Pelvic Medicine, visit For an appointment with Drs. Maceda or Kane, call (610) 338-1810. For more information about Crozer-Keystone’s physical therapy services for pelvic floor disorders, call (610) 328-8800.

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