Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
The following may be helpful in diagnosing interstitial cystitis:
- Medical history and bladder diary. Your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms and may also request that you keep a bladder diary, recording the volume you drink and the volume of urine you pass.
- Complete pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor examines your external genitals, vagina and cervix and feels (palpates) your abdomen to assess your internal pelvic organs. Your doctor may also examine your anus and rectum.
- Urine test. A sample of your urine will be analyzed for evidence of a urinary tract infection.
- Potassium sensitivity test. In this test, your doctor places two solutions — water and potassium chloride — into your bladder, one at a time. You're asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 5 the pain and urgency you feel after each solution is instilled. If you feel noticeably more pain or urgency with the potassium solution than with the water, your doctor may diagnose interstitial cystitis. People with normal bladders can't tell the difference between the two solutions.
- Cystoscopy. Doctors sometimes use this test to rule out other causes of bladder pain. Cystoscopy involves an examination of your bladder through a thin tube with a tiny camera (cystoscope) inserted through the urethra. Cystoscopy allows your doctor to see the lining of your bladder. In conjunction with cystocopy, your doctor may instill a liquid into your bladder to help measure your bladder capacity. This procedure, called hydrodistention, is generally performed with anesthetics to reduce discomfort.
- Biopsy. During cystoscopy under anesthesia, your doctor may remove a sample of tissue (biopsy) from the bladder and the urethra for examination under a microscope. This is to check for bladder cancer and other rare causes of bladder pain.
Researchers are trying to develop tests that will help confirm the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis without an invasive procedure.
- Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/interstitialcystitis/. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Fitzgerald MP. Clinical features and diagnosis of painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Interstitial cystitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec17/ch228/ch228e.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Hanno PM, et al. Bladder pain syndrome. Medical Clinics of North America. 2011;95:55.
- Hanno PM. Painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis and related disorders. In: Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/113536197-2/0/1445/13.html?tocnode=54300277&fromURL=13.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-7216-0798-6..50012-1_840. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Engelhardt PF, et al. Long-term results of intravesical hyaluronan therapy in bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis. International Urogynecology Journal. In Press. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.
- Homma Y, et al. Clinical guidelines for interstitial cystitis and hypersensitive bladder syndrome. International Journal of Urology. 2009;16:597.
- Fitzgerald MP. Treatment of painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 23, 2010.