What is Interstitial Cystitis (IC)?
If you’re struggling with urinary frequency (need to urinate often), urgency (needing to urinate suddenly because of pain), pressure and/or pain, you could have interstitial cystitis (in-ter-stish-uhl sĭ-stī’tĭs).
Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) officially defined as “An unpleasant sensation (pain, pressure, discomfort) perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, associated with lower urinary tract symptoms of more than six weeks duration, in the absence of infection or other identifiable causes.” (1)
In other words, your bladder may be interfering with your sleep, your work, your sexuality and your ability to live normally.
Is it IC? BPS? HBS
If you’re confused about the name of this condition, don’t be. Collectively, we call it Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS). In Europe, only patients with Hunner’s lesions are diagnosed with IC. Patients without lesions are diagnosed with BPS. In Japan, they use the name Hypersensitive Bladder Syndrome (HBS). In the USA and on our website, we use IC/BPS. Learn more about the history and names for IC.
Types of IC/BPS
For more than a century, IC was considered a “bladder disease” and/or dysfunction of the bladder wall. In the past decade, however, researchers & clinicians have come to accept that IC patients can have problems beyond their bladder, usually in their pelvic floor muscles and/or nerves.
Two subtypes became obvious years ago.
IC: Hunner’s Lesions – Roughly 5 to 10% of patients have Hunner’s lesions on their bladder wall. This is known as “classic IC” and it is very clear that they have a bleeding, damaged bladder wall. This video should resolve any thoughts that IC is “psychological.”