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Interstitial Cystitis (IC) / Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS)

What is it?

Historically, the terms ‘IC’ and ‘BPS’ have been used interchangeably in clinical and research settings, but represent two different conditions that present in much the same way. A diagnosis of IC, for example, is made when marks known as Hunner’s Lesions are seen along the bladder wall; an objective finding that is not present in BPS.

Both conditions involve suprapubic pain that is related to bladder filling and increased urinary urgency and frequency. Both conditions feel like a severe urinary tract infection (UTI) when no infection is present.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Constant stabbing pain
  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Deep ache in the lower abdomen
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Worsened symptoms during menses

The cause of IC and BPS is not well-understood and can affect people of all ages and genders. Although IC and BPS are very similar in presentation, they require slightly different treatments approaches and have unique treatment outcomes.

How can Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy help?

There is a lot of research to support the use of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy as the first line of defense against symptoms. Treating tight muscles and connective tissue, for example, can improve overall symptoms and significantly reduce urinary urgency and frequency. Often the best successes occur with uniquely-tailored treatment programs to target individual needs.