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Interstitial Cystitis

Screening and Tests for Interstitial Cystitis

Screening for interstitial cystitis isn’t easy, as there are no definitive tests for IC and IC symptoms are often similar to those of other urinary disorders. IC is diagnosed by a process of elimination—in other words, by ruling out other causes.

The diagnosis will generally begin with a medical history and physical examination, including a pelvic exam. After that, one or more of the following tests may be employed:

  • Urinalysis: This urine test involves a laboratory exam looking for various cells and chemicals, such as infection, excessive protein, white blood cells and red blood cells. A urine culture and cytology, which looks for abnormal cells in the urine that may indicate urinary tract cancers, may also be taken.
  • Cystoscopy: A flexible tube with a viewing device is inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural anomalies or obstructions, including stones or tumors.
  • Bladder wall biopsy: Tissues from the bladder wall are removed and examined under a microscope to see if cancer or abnormal cells are present.
  • Potassium sensitivity test: The PST tests the integrity of the bladder wall. A potassium chloride solution and sterile water are instilled into the bladder; increased pain indicates epithelial dysfunction.
  • Video urodynamics: This test shows how much urine is in the bladder before the patient feels the urge to urinate. 

Locations for Interstitial Cystitis