Diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis

The process of diagnosis includes the need to eliminate other possible causes. This includes a range of tests that primarily can lead you down the Interstitial Cystitis path of elimination. Before attending a medical appointment, try to keep a record of your symptoms; considering your diet, possible triggers, hormone changes you notice and anything you believe to be relevant in preparation.

  • Urinalysis

This is the first test that can and should be done. Ask your medical practitioner to test a sample of urine using the urinalysis test and by sending the sample to a laboratory. These tests do not eliminate all infection but do eliminate the possibility of a generalized infection. If you suspect you may have an embedded infection, it is likely you will need to look into deeper testing, such as ‘Microgen DX’ which is a more thorough test (unfortunately not offered by the NHS in the UK). My advice is to take this time to consider your diet and cycle, note any correlations and be aware of the results of your urinalysis. Sometimes antibiotics can temporarily ease some of the pain or symptoms; however, if you are receiving clear urinalysis results, you may still be faced with the persuasion of antibiotic use. You should be aware that you are able to seek a second opinion and it is at this stage you are able to ask for a referral or an alternative consultant’s opinion. Perhaps now is the time to consider requesting a urology referral for further investigation?

  • Cystoscopy

This is a procedure carried out within the outpatient department of the Hospital Urology ward. This procedure is offered under local and general anesthetic and involves a cystoscope being inserted through the urethra and into the bladder, with the intention of observing the bladder wall. When used in conjunction with hydrodistention (see below), this is a successful way to diagnose Interstitial Cystitis and differentiate between this and Painful Bladder Syndrome.

  • Bladder Hydrodistention

Bladder hydrodistention is a process carried out during a cystoscopy. Once the cystoscope is firmly in the bladder, the bladder is filled with water and the effects of this filling and emptying are observed through the cystoscope. During this procedure, the urologist will be able to see the extensiveness of the damage to the internal bladder wall, seeing the inflamed nerve clusters, lacerations, cuts and damage to the bladder lining. Due to the invasiveness and the levels of pain within IC patients, you will be sedated to have this procedure carried out and usually are simply home the same day.

  • Biopsies

A biopsy is when a surgeon removes a sample of tissue through the procedure of a cystoscopy, in order to rule out the chance of bladder cancer and carry out further studies or investigations. This test is primarily to rule out other intensive possibilities and is also carried out within the outpatient’s department.

  • Residual Urine Test

This test is carried out by using a scanner to determine if you're retaining any urine and is non-invasive.

  • Urodynamics

This test involves inserting a catheter and filling the bladder with water. You must then empty your bladder whilst confirming your urine flow and bladder reaction to urine pressure.​

So now that you are on your process to diagnosis, let's take a look at some dietary changes?



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To help you ensure you plan on keeping the bright through the dark


You may find it useful for managing any trigger foods


Helpful tool for recording any cycles of pain; always useful for monitoring your progress