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Interstitial Cystitis
Chronic Pain Syndrome of the Bladder

Severe pain in the bladder and lower abdominal region, up to 60 visits to the toilet a day and a corresponding restricted quality of life – interstitial cystitis (IC) is characterised by a drastic disease pattern. Many people have a long history of suffering behind them before a correct diagnosis is made. An estimated 100,000 people in Germany, 90 per cent of whom are women, suffer from IC.

Just like chronic cystitis, which causes painful bladder infections at intervals of only a few weeks, IC is associated with defects in the mucous membrane, the glycosaminoglycan layer (GAG layer) of the bladder. Unlike “ordinary” cystitis, IC is not caused by bacteria and does not respond to antibiotics. The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is still unclear. Immunological and infectious causes are suspected, as well as increased permeability of the bladder mucosa for toxic substances. Stress can also aggravate existing IC.

How Does Interstitial Cystitis Manifest Itself?

  • frequent emptying of the bladder with small amounts of urine (pollakiuria)
  • increased need to pass urine at night (nocturia)
  • reduced bladder capacity (<250 ml)
  • painful urination

Various examinations are necessary to exclude other diseases with similar symptoms. In addition to a detailed survey of those concerned, this also includes the keeping of a micturition diary, which documents how often and how much urine is emptied from the bladder. Further investigations include a physical examination, an ultrasound scan of the urinary tract, i.e. of the bladder and kidneys, as well as a urine examination. This is followed by a measurement of urine flow, a measurement of bladder pressure, an X-ray of the urinary bladder and a cystoscopy.

The Path to Pain Relief
Our Treatment Recommendations for Interstitial and Chronic Cystitis

If you are suffering from interstitial cystitis, your treating physician will decide on an individual treatment programme with you, depending on the severity of the disease pattern and the response to the different therapies. Since the disease is very difficult to treat, it requires a great deal of patience and cooperation until optimal results are achieved.

The aim of a treatment is to close the gaps in the GAG layer and thus restore its protective function. An intact GAG layer acts as a protective film in the urothelium against microorganisms, carcinogens, crystals and other substances in the urine.

The so-called »EMDA®«* method (electromotive drug administration) can apply pain-relieving, membrane-regenerating drugs specifically to the bladder tissue via a special catheter with an electrode, where it will take immediate effect.

»EMDA®« method

* Only available in Germany and Switzerland