Treatment Options for Interstitial Cystitis

While there is no cure for IC, treatments can provide relief from painful symptoms. Your doctor may provide several different therapies that have been shown to alleviate and/or diminish many of the symptoms of IC.

  • Physical therapy – Physical therapy is often the go-to therapy for women suffering from IC and is an effective treatment for underlying pelvic floor dysfunction. Physical therapy has been shown to greatly improve painful symptoms associated with IC for many women. A physical therapist specifically trained in IC treatment will provide techniques aimed at relaxing as well as lengthening tight muscles in the pelvic area

  • Bladder instillation – Your doctor will insert a catheter into the bladder and instill special medication designed to provide relief from pain. The solution may also relieve inflammation

  • Neuromodulation and Botox – Implanted neuromudulation devices such as InterStim® send mild electrical impulses to the nerves in and around the bladder to stimulate blood flow and produce chemicals that block pain.  The impulses may also decrease urinary urgency in some patients. Botox injections can help with frequency and urgency symptoms  

  • Bladder distention – Your doctor stretches the bladder by filling it with liquid or gas for a short period of time while you are under general anesthesia. Some women find short-term relief from distention
  • Oral medication – Elmiron® is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of IC. This drug has been shown to improve symptoms including frequency, urgency, burning and pain

  • Surgery – Typically reserved for the most severe cases, surgery may be considered when all other treatments have failed to provide symptom relief. Surgical options may include diverting urine from the bladder or enlarging the bladder, but are usually only recommended as a last resort, if at all