Medicine bottle Oral Medications

Many different types of treatment are available to help manage IC (Interstitial Cystitis) symptoms and relieve pain. Some may work well for one person and not for another, so several types of treatment may be tried before you and your doctor determine the plan that’s best for you.

Your doctor may give you one or more of the medications below. Other medications may be available—talk to your doctor about your options.

  • Pain medications may be taken for a short time to help ease discomfort.

  • Antispasmodic medications may help relax the bladder muscles and decrease the need to urinate.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antihistamines may help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

  • Antidepressants in low doses may help relieve IC symptoms, perhaps by blocking pain receptors.

  • Medications to restore the bladder lining such as pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron)

Cutaway view of bladder Bladder Instillation

Also called bladder wash or bath, bladder instillation may help relieve inflammation or repair the bladder’s protective lining. During this treatment, the bladder is filled with medications using a slender tube called a catheter. One or more types of medication may be used. The medication is held inside the bladder for a period of time (usually from 15–30 minutes). Then the medication is urinated out or drained from the bladder through the catheter. Instillation treatments are often repeated several times over a period of two to three months. These treatments can sometimes be done at home.

Bladder Hydrodistention

Hydrodistention is a process where your bladder is filled with fluid to stretch the walls of the bladder. Some patients have relief from symptoms for a time after bladder hydrodistention is done to diagnose IC. If this is true for you, your doctor may choose to repeat the hydrodistention procedure as a form of treatment.

Medical Review Date: July 20, 2010 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Kidneys and the Urinary System section on Better Medicine

Did You Know?

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If you have cloudy, dark, bloody, or odd-smelling urine, you may have a urinary infection rather than IC.