Interstitial Cystitis: An Update on the Disease Process and Treatment

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic pain disorder of the bladder that is often underdiagnosed and mistreated. The difficulties in diagnosis stem from numerous theories regarding pathophysiology and etiology, including the breakdown of the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer, altered permeability of the urothelium, uroinflammation, and neural up-regulation. Dysfunction of the bladder increases the struggle for proper treatment and continues to prove difficult for health care providers to correctly diagnose and manage IC. If diagnosed and/or managed inappropriately, IC may contribute to increased symptom burden and decreased quality of life with respect to activities of daily living. When evaluating a patient's clinical presentation in combination with predefined risk factors, a health care provider can better establish a true diagnosis of IC, which, in turn, leads to better management of IC-associated symptoms. This review will help health care providers better understand the disease process by discussing pathophysiology, pain pathways, and common symptoms of IC, with the goal of better aiding them in the proper diagnosis and treatment of patients with IC.

Journal of pain & palliative care pharmacotherapy. 2018 Sep 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Amanda M Daniels, Adam R Schulte, Christopher M Herndon