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Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Aug;24(8):1243-56. doi: 10.1007/s00192-013-2057-3. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: diagnosis and management.

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Department of Urogynaecology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Ireland.



The bladder pain syndrome (BPS) is a spectrum of urological symptoms characterised by bladder pain with typical cystoscopic features. Diagnosis and management of this syndrome may be difficult. There is no evidence-based management approach for the diagnosis or treatment of BPS. The objective of this study was to critically review and summarise the evidence relating to the diagnosis and treatment of the bladder pain syndrome.


A review of published data on the diagnosis and treatment of the BPS was performed. Our search was limited to English-language articles, on the "diagnosis", and "management" or "treatment" of "interstitial cystitis" and the "bladder pain syndrome" in "humans."


Frequency, urgency and pain on bladder filling are the most common symptoms of BPS. All urodynamic volumes are reduced in patients with BPS. Associated conditions include psychological distress, depression, history of sexual assault, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Cystoscopy remains the test for definitive diagnosis, with visualisation of haemorrhage on cystoreduction. A multidisciplinary treatment approach is essential in the management of this condition. Orally administered amitriptyline is an efficacious medical treatment for BPS. Intravesical hyaluronic acid and local anaesthetic, with/without hydrodistension are among new treatment strategies. Sacral or pudendal neuromodulation is effective, minimally invasive and safe. Surgery is reserved for refractory cases.


There remains a paucity of evidence for the diagnosis and treatment of BPS. We encountered significant heterogeneity in the assessment of symptoms, duration of treatment and follow up of patients in our literature review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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