You may be asked to keep a bladder diary for a few days to record information, such as how often you urinate and how much and what kinds of fluid you consume.
For more testing, you may be referred to a specialist in urinary disorders (urologist) or urinary disorders in women (urogynecologist).
What you can do
To get the most from your visit to the doctor, prepare in advance:
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they're related.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins or other supplements you take. Many over-the-counter supplements can irritate the urinary tract. Also note the doses and how often you take the medication or supplements.
- Have a family member or close friend go with you. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Take a notepad or an electronic device with you. Use it to note important information during your visit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
For interstitial cystitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Will my symptoms eventually go away?
- What kind of tests might I need?
- Will changing my diet help with my symptoms?
- Could the medicines I take be aggravating my condition?
- Are there any medications that would help ease my symptoms?
- Will I need surgery?
Make sure that you understand what your doctor tells you. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions for clarification.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor. Potential questions your doctor might ask include:
- How often do you feel the urge to urinate with little or no warning?
- Do you feel the urge to urinate immediately after you've urinated?
- Do you ever urinate less than two hours after you finished urinating?
- Do you wake up at night to urinate?
- Do you have pain or burning in your bladder?
- Do you feel pain in your abdomen or pelvis?
- Are you currently sexually active?
- How much do your symptoms bother you?
Oct. 11, 2016
- Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/interstitialcystitis/. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Clemens JQ. Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Interstitial cystitis. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/voiding_disorders/interstitial_cystitis.html. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Wein AJ, et al., eds. Bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis) and related isorders. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Clemens JQ. Management of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Diagnosis and treatment of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association. http://www.auanet.org/education/guidelines/ic-bladder-pain-syndrome.cfm. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Dysuria, bladder pain, and the interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- The urinary tract and how it works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Anatomy/urinary-tract-how-it-works/Pages/anatomy.aspx. Accessed July 1, 2016.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Ariz. July 7, 2016.
- Pang R, et al. The Chinese approach to complementary and alternative medicine for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Translational Andrology and Urology. 2015;4:653.
- Carrico D, et al. Guided imagery for women with interstitial cystitis: results of a prospective, randomized controlled pilot study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;14:53.