Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Are there any special concerns about interstitial cystitis?


There is no evidence that PBS/IC increases the risk of bladder cancer; however, the long-term effects of PBS/IC have not been well-studied and require further observation and research.


Researchers have little information about the relationship between pregnancy and PBS/IC but believe that PBS/IC does not affect fertility or the health of the fetus. Some women have a remission from PBS/IC during pregnancy while others have more pain and pressure during the third trimester, possibly due to the weight of the fetus on the bladder.

Coping with PBS/IC

The emotional support of family, friends, and other individuals with PBS/IC is very important in helping patients cope with PBS/IC. Studies have found that patients with PBS/IC who are educated about PBS/IC and become involved in their own care do better than patients who do not. Support groups for people with interstitial cystitis also have been beneficial for many.

What is the prognosis (outcome) of interstitial cystitis?

PBS/IC is a chronic condition that is characterized by periods of relapse and remission. Doctors do not fully understand why the symptoms worsen at particular times or disappear and then reappear months or years later. Symptoms may be mild or severe and may vary in intensity even in the same individual over time. There is no cure for PBS/IC, and treatments are directed at reducing the severity of symptoms.

There has been no treatment that has been shown to be effective in slowing the progression of the disease or in preventing recurrences.

Additional sources of information about PBS/IC:

Interstitial Cystitis Association of America
110 North Washington Street, Suite 340
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 1-800-HELP-ICA (435-7422) or 301-610-5300
Fax: 301-610-5308

American Urogynecologic Society
2025 M Street NW., Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-367-1167
Fax: 202-367-2167

European Society for the Study of Interstitial Cystitis


Abrams, P., L. Cardozo, M. Fall, et al. "The standardisation of terminology of lower urinary tract function: report from the Standardisation Sub-committee of the International Continence Society." Neurourol Urodyn 21 (2002): 167.

NIH Publication No. 05-3220 June 2005

United States. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. "Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome." <>.

van de Merwe, J.P., J. Nordling, P. Bouchelouche, et al. "Diagnostic criteria, classification, and nomenclature for painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis: an ESSIC proposal." Eur Urol 53 (2008): 60.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2015

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