Interstitial Cystits – the other thorn in urology

If there’s a condition that frustrates patients and physician’s alike it’s Interstitial Cystitis (IC). The emotional upheaval that IC patients go through is paramount.

A big part of the problem is:

1. Few physician’s understand this condition

2. IC patients are often misdiagnosed

3. There are no good, long-term helpful treatments

4. Very few physician’s want to treat this condition

5. There is little appreciation for alternative treatments that can be helpful


How do you know you have IC?

Generally, symptoms include:

  • Painful urination
    • Pain that is worsened with bladder filling and/or improved with urination.[8]
    • Pain that is worsened with a certain food or drink.
    • Some patients report dysuria (burning sensation in the urethra when urinating).
  • Urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, and pressure in the bladder and/or pelvis.
  • Some patients report nocturia (waking at night to urinate), hesitancy (needing to wait for the stream to begin, often caused by pelvic floor dysfunction and tension), pain with sexual intercourse, and discomfort and difficulty driving, traveling or working.


The grand majority of IC sufferers are women but men with prostatitis have similar symptoms. Men can also have IC.


What’s the IC sufferer to do?

1. Find a physician that welcomes IC patients. Most urologist DO NOT want to see IC patients and you will know this soon after your meeting with him/her. Most IC welcoming physcian’s I know and have worked with are on the east coast – Dr. Robert Modwin, Dr. Philip Hanno, Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler and Dr. David Kaufman. This list is NOT complete by any means. For a wonderful resource around your area go to IC-network.

2. Just because a physician welcomes IC patients does not mean they have the answers that will cure you. IC, again, is often misdiagnosed and even when the correct diagnosis , curative treatment are often not available. Managing the condition will then become the goal.

3. Seek the help of a of a physical therapist that specializes in IC and pelvic pain. There is a complete list in ic-network.

4. Seek the help of a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. Naturopathic doctors are trained to treat the cause of health problems. Often, to heal IC, the wise physician has to look outside the bladder and treat other co-morbidities like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Naturopath’s and other nutritionally oriented physician’s can provide dietary help and dietary supplement guidance. IC-network can help you find a CAM practitioner too.

5. Get acupuncture treatments. This will almost definately help with the pain and discomfort and possibly alleviate urinary symptoms. To find an acupuncturist near you go to


Bottom line

IC is often misdiagnosed. The symptoms may overlap with other disorders, including endometriosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), chronic pelvic pain, overactive bladder (OAB), and vulvodynia.

Although a cure can be challenging, relief of up to 80% is possible once you go to the right group of physcian’s. I know, I see this all the time.  If your condition is taking an emotional toll – seek a psychotherapist. Believe me, they can be extremely helpful.

Best of luck and DON’T GIVE UP.



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