Treatment and Management of Interstitial Cystitis


Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), is a chronic pain condition. It causes bladder pressure and pain. An individual with interstitial cystitis will feel the urge to urinate frequently but may only produce a small amount of urine. Although no known cure for interstitial cystitis yet exists, various treatment and management methods are available.


  • Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, can help with mild discomfort. If an individual needs stronger pain medication, talking with a health care provider about prescription pain medications is important.
  • Medications that treat heartburn can help with interstitial cystitis by reducing the amount of acid in the body.
  • Muscle relaxants, antihistamines and acupuncture may help stop bladder spasms.
  • Antidepressants can help manage pain and also help with frequent urination.


  • Easy stretches, walking and biking may help reduce symptoms
  • Learning stress-relieving techniques, such as guided meditation and yoga, helps the muscles to relax and strengthens them to better support the bladder.
  • A physical therapist will often recommend kegel exercises which can be done when an individual begins to urinate. The individual tightens the vaginal muscles to stop the flow of urine and then releases the muscles to continue urination.
  • Bladder training is another important exercise to learn because many people get into the habit of going to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge. Bladder retraining teaches timed urination which simply means holding the urine longer. Keep a diary of how often the urge to urinate surfaces; the goal is to increase the length of time between bathroom visits.

No cure for interstitial cystitis exists yet, so it is important for individuals with the condition to surround themselves with supportive family and friends. Joining a support group to hear how other people live with interstitial cystitis is also beneficial. The internet is a wealth of information and online support groups are available.

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