Medicine, Procedures, Therapies


I have been asked write about how I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (IC).  The most common way to diagnose IC is for your doctor to perform a cystoscopy.  I had that procedure done in 1995 by my Urologist.

guitarA cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra).  A cystoscope (hollow tube) equipped with a lens (a tiny camera) is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder. []

My doctor performed the cystoscopy in a hospital using general anesthesia.  A biopsy (a sample of tissue) of my bladder was also done to rule out bladder cancer.  The procedure is quick, and I did not feel any discomfort during the procedure.  There is some pain after the cystoscopy.  You may have a burning sensation when you urinate.  Also, you may have more bladder spasms and pressure.  The discomfort does not last long.

During the cystoscopy, your doctor will likely do a hydrodistension.  The doctor fills your bladder with a liquid to stretch its walls.  Bladder distention is a technique used to diagnose interstitial cystitis, but it also helps relieve pain for some patients, possibly because it increases the bladder capacity or interferes with the nerves that transmit pain signals from the bladder. []

Over the years I have had several hydrodistensions.  The first and second hydrodistensions seemed to help for about 3 months; however, as I got older and my bladder got older, my bladder wall’s elasticity has diminished and thickened.  My last hydrodistension was very painful.  The pressure and spasms were intense.  Again, the pain and discomfort does not last long.

Let me know how your experience was with a cystoscopy and hydrodistention.

Thanks 🙂



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