Diagnosis and Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome

J. Quentin Clemens, Deborah R. Erickson, Norma P. Varela, H. Henry Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Purpose:This guideline provides direction to clinicians and patients regarding how to recognize interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), conduct a valid diagnostic process, and approach treatment with the goals of maximizing symptom control and patient quality of life while minimizing adverse events and patient burden.Methods:An initial systematic review of the literature using the MEDLINE® database (search dates 1/1/83-7/22/09) was conducted to identify peer-reviewed publications relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of IC/BPS. The review yielded an evidence base of 86 treatment articles after application of inclusion/exclusion criteria. In July 2013, the Guideline underwent an Update Literature Review, a process in which an additional literature search is conducted and a systematic review is produced in order to maintain guideline currency with newly published literature. The 2013 review identified an additional 31 articles relevant to treatment. An Update Literature Review in 2022 (search dates: 06/2013 - 01/2021) identified 63 studies, 53 of which were added to the evidence base.Results:In contrast to the prior versions, the 2022 updated Guideline no longer divides treatments into first-line through sixth-line tiers. Instead, treatment is categorized into behavioral/non-pharmacologic, oral medicines, bladder instillations, procedures, and major surgery. This approach reinforces that the clinical approach for IC/BPS needs to be individualized and based on the unique characteristics of each patient. In addition, new statements were written to provide guidance on cystoscopy for patients with Hunner lesions, shared decision-making, and potential adverse events from pentosan polysulfate. The supporting text on major surgery also has been completely revised.Conclusion:IC/BPS is a heterogeneous clinical syndrome. Even though patients present with similar symptoms of bladder/pelvic pain and pressure/discomfort associated with urinary frequency and strong urge to urinate, there are subgroups or phenotypes within IC/BPS. Except for patients with Hunner lesions, initial treatment should typically be nonsurgical. Concurrent, multi-modal therapies may be offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • guideline
  • pelvic pain
  • quality of life
  • review
  • treatment


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