Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain syndrome

an expert rundown of definition, symptoms, and treatment options

Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Bladder pain syndrome (BPS) is a non-infectious bladder condition where you have pelvic pain and problems peeing.

Symptoms of IC/BPS

- Pelvic pain
- A persistent, urgent need to urinate
- Frequent urination with smaller volumes of urine
- Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills
- Pain during sex
- Waking up several times during the night to pee

Living with IC/BPS often has significant physical and emotional impacts.
It can make it hard to walk/sit, socialise, work, have sex, and exercise, significantly affecting a person's quality of life.

Treatment options

Treatments for this condition vary from person to person and typically include bladder training, lifestyle changes, pelvic floor physiotherapy and psychological support.

A multidisciplinary approach that includes both physical and mental aspects of living with this condition (biopsychosocial approach) is the most effective as it targets all areas of your health.

Pelvic floor Physiotherapy and Psychology

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is widely considered one of the gold-standard approaches for IC/BPS as it can help alleviate pain and improve pelvic function, while psychological treatments can help to manage the emotional and psychological impact of the condition.

Femspace offer professionally guided self-help pelvic floor physiotherapy, psychological support and sex and relationship therapy.

In conclusion

Interstitial Cystitis is a complex and often misunderstood condition, but recognising and treating it is crucial for those who may be struggling with its symptoms. People with Interstitial Cystitis can benefit from a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, followed by a tailored treatment plan that may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

With the right support, people with Interstitial Cystitis can significantly improve their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Hannah Barned

Reviewed by Dr Claudia Chisari