Introduction: The concept of interstitial cystitis (IC) has changed dramatically during the last decades, eventually representing a symptom complex with varying contents.
To include all patients with bladder pain, the umbrella term 'bladder pain syndrome' (BPS) has been suggested, incorporating the classic presentation of IC as a separate phenotype. This change of concepts has not been uncontroversial. Bladder pain syndrome often has a profound effect on the patients' quality of life. Generally, recognition of this problem complex is hampered by insufficient familiarity in the medical community. The correct diagnosis is often delayed by several years and may be preceded by multiple medical consultations and treatment attempts. There is no doubt that an early and correct diagnosis is of great significance for the patient.
Areas covered: In this article, a critical review of methods and means to approach the diagnosis is presented including some notes of current controversies.
Expert opinion: The key to an early diagnosis is symptom recognition. We are dealing with a heterogeneous concept including various phenotypes. The successful treatment requires understanding and expedient use of objective means, such as cystoscopy, biopsy and input from the multidisciplinary team. In the literature, limited evidence exists for the management of BPS/IC, due to heterogeneity in methodology and description of the syndrome(s). A more consequent use of available methods is desirable. For the immediate future, better understanding of the aetiology, pathogenesis and presentation of various BPS/IC phenotypes is indispensable.
Fall M, Peeker R. Are you the author?
University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrens University Hospital, Department of Urology, Göteborg, SE-41345, Sweden.
Reference: Expert Opin Med Diagn. 2013 Jan;7(1):17-24.