This test is designed to help your healthcare provider determine if you have a condition called interstitial cystitis. Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a breakdown in the lining of the bladder wall. Symptoms include bladder pain, urinary urgency, urinary frequency (sometimes urinating up to 60 times/day in severe cases), suprapubic (lower abdominal) or perineal (area between the vagina and anus) pain and pressure, and painful intercourse. It is also associated with other conditions like migraine headaches, irritable bowel
syndrome, fibromyalgia, and vulvodynia.


  • You will be asked to empty your bladder and provide a urine sample (to be tested for a UTI)
  • You will be directed to a room and instructed to undress from the waist down
  • The nurse will come in and ask you whether you are having any pain or urgency before the test is started
  • Pain and urgency will be evaluated on a “0-5” scale. “0” meaning no pain or urgency, and “5” meaning severe pain or urgency. Pain and urgency are to be evaluated separately
  • For purposes of establishing a baseline, before the start of the test any pain or urgency that you are having will be considered “0”
  • You will be asked to put your feet in the stirrups and lay back (just like for a pap smear)
  • The nurse will insert a small (pediatric) tube into the bladder
  • The first solution will be infused over 2-3 minutes. During that time the nurse will ask you to grade your pain and urgency.
  • That solution will then be drained and the second solution will be infused over 2-3 minutes. During that time, the nurse will again ask you to grade your pain and urgency.
  • You may be asked to empty your bladder into a commode or the solution may be drained through the tube at the nurse’s discretion.
  • After the 2 solutions have been infused, you will be asked which one was worse (which caused more pain and urgency). If one was worse, was the difference mild, moderate, or severe.
  • At the end of the test your bladder may be washed by instilling a solution of sterile water and a separate medication solution may be instilled. You will be asked to hold the 2nd solution for at least 20 minutes before emptying your bladder.

This test along with your physical exam and complaints of symptoms will assist your physician in determining if you have IC.

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