Interstitial Cystitis / Painful Bladder Syndrome
Culture of Prostate Secretions
Although not commonly done, in men, the doctor might obtain prostatic fluid and examine it for signs of a prostate infection, which can then be treated with antibiotics.
Cystoscopy Under Anesthesia With Bladder Distention
The doctor may perform a cystoscopic examination in order to rule out bladder cancer. During cystoscopy, the doctor uses a cystoscope-an instrument made of a hollow tube about the diameter of a drinking straw with several lenses and a light-to see inside the bladder and urethra. The doctor might also distend or stretch the bladder to its capacity by filling it with a liquid or gas. Because bladder distention is painful in patients with IC / PBS, they must be given some form of anesthesia for the procedure.
The doctor may also test the patient's maximum bladder capacity-the maximum amount of liquid or gas the bladder can hold. This procedure must be done under anesthesia since the bladder capacity is limited by either pain or a severe urge to urinate.
A biopsy is a tissue sample that can be examined under a microscope. Samples of the bladder and urethra may be removed during a cystoscopy. A biopsy helps rule out bladder cancer.
Future Diagnostic Tools
Researchers are investigating and validating some promising biomarkers such as anti-proliferative factor (APF), some cytokines, and other growth factors. These might provide more reliable diagnostic markers for IC and lead to more focused treatment for the disease.
What are the treatments for IC / PBS?
Scientists have not yet found a cure for IC / PBS, nor can they predict who will respond best to which treatment. Symptoms may disappear without explanation or coincide with an event such as a change in diet or treatment. Even when symptoms disappear, they may return after days, weeks, months, or years. Scientists do not know why.
Because the causes of IC / PBS are unknown, current treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Many people are helped for variable periods by one or a combination of the treatments. As researchers learn more about IC / PBS, the list of potential treatments will change, so patients should discuss their options with a doctor.