History of Interstitial Cystitis

History of IC

Early descriptions of Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and its evolution as a clinical entity was traced back to the 19th century.

The earliest published record of Interstitial Cystitis (IC) appeared in an 1836 textbook by the Philadelphia surgeon Joseph Parrish, who documented a syndrome of chronic frequency, urgency, dysuria and pelvic pain he called “tic doloureux of the bladder.”  Tic doloureux was a diagnosis used to describe painful, idiopathic (arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause) disorders of nerves. Dr. Parrish attributed this term to his mentor, Dr. Phillip Syng Physick, who applied it to patients with severe lower urinary tract symptoms with no discernible etiology (the cause, set of causes, or manner of causation of a disease or condition). According to archival material from the Philadelphia College of Physicians, Dr. Physick by 1808 had developed a concept of bladder inflammation, a “bladder ulcer,” that produced lower urinary tract symptoms in the absence of bladder stone. [Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland (JKP), and the Division of Urology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California (CLP)]

Graphics by Mazoli

How did your Interstitial Cystitis start?

The exact cause of Interstitial Cystitis is not known, but it’s likely that many factors contribute. For instance, people with Interstitial Cystitis may also have a defect in the protective lining (epithelium) of the bladder. A leak in the epithelium may allow toxic substances in urine to irritate your bladder wall.

Your bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine. The bladder expands until it’s full and then signals your brain that it’s time to urinate, communicating through the pelvic nerves. This creates the urge to urinate for most people. With Interstitial Cystitis, these signals get mixed up and you feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than most people. Interstitial Cystitis most often affects women and can have a long-lasting impact on quality of life.

Symptoms severity is different for everyone, and some people may experience symptom-free periods. Although signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis may resemble those of a chronic urinary tract infection, there’s usually no infection. However, symptoms may worsen if a person with Interstitial Cystitis gets a urinary tract infection. [Mayo Clinic – Sept. 29, 2021]

We still have a long way to go. We need more research and clinical trials to get this disease under control so people with Interstital Cystitis (IC) can get back to living a healthy and happy life.



    1. Debbie – I am sorry to hear about your flare up. Interstitial Cystitis is not for the weak. I was diagnosed in 1995, and I have tried everything – lots and lots of medicine, herbal remedies, botox, stretching the bladder, physical therapy, dry needling, acupuncture. I think that depression and this chronic disease seem to be a common occurrence. I wish I could tell you something that would ease your pain. I will keep you in my prayers. Take care.


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