What is IC/BPS?
Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome is a bladder condition that usually consists of multiple symptoms including, recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, and/or urinary frequency and urgency.
What is interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome?
Interstitial cystitis (in-ter-stish-uhl sĭ-stī’tĭs)/bladder pain syndrome, or as we call it, IC/BPS, is a bladder condition that usually consists of multiple symptoms. Most IC/BPS patients have recurring pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, and urinary frequency (needing to go often) and urgency (feeling a strong need to go).
IC may also be referred to as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), and chronic pelvic pain.
Types of IC/BPS
Researchers continue to study IC/BPS and investigate why IC/BPS symptoms can be different in different patients. Many believe that there may be additional subtypes, called phenotypes, of IC/BPS. This also helps to explain why there is such disparity in how IC/BPS patients respond to treatments. Of note is the national phenotyping initiative called the MAPP Research Network, which is supported by NIDDK, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Currently there are two recognized subtypes of IC/BPS: non-ulcerative and ulcerative.
- Non-ulcerative: 90% of IC/BPS patients have the non-ulcerative form of IC/BPS. Non-ulcerative IC/BPS presents with pinpoint hemorrhages, also known as glomerulations, in the bladder wall. However, these are not specific for IC/BPS and any inflammation of the bladder can give that appearance.
- Ulcerative: 5 to 10% of IC/BPS patients have the ulcerative form of IC/BPS. These patients usually have Hunner’s ulcers or patches, which are red, bleeding areas on the bladder wall.
End Stage (Severe) IC/BPS
About 5% of IC/BPS patients have persistent symptoms for more than 2 years and 5% of patients have end stage disease defined as very hard bladders with low capacity and terrible pain. Many of these patients also have Hunner’s ulcers. Learn more about how to treat severe IC/BPS. Watch the ICHelp YouTube interview with internationally-known IC/BPS expert Kristene Whitmore, MD, from the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute (PSHI).
Additional IC/BPS Resources
- Donate to ICA to receive access to valuable and informative resources that will keep you abreast of the latest IC/BPS research, news, and ICA announcements.
- Follow the ICA on Facebook.
- Subscribe to the ICHelp YouTube Channel.
- Follow ICHelp on Twitter.
- Follow icahelp on Instagram.
- Get an overview of IC/BPS from Dr. Robert Moldwin, director of the Pelvic Pain Center at the Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in New Hyde Park, NY.
- Ask the ICA your questions about IC/BPS.
- Join the discussions on the ICA Facebook Community and ICA’s Online Support Community.
- Join a Support Group.
- Check out ICA’s Virtual Patient Education resources.