Interstitial Cystitis Terminology

The terminology used to describe the health condition most commonly known as interstitial cystitis has changed several times in recent decades. This is likely to have arisen from an unclear but developing understanding of the condition, and the intention to describe the condition as accurately as possible.

The term interstitial cystitis (IC) was the original name used to describe the condition and was renamed to interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) from 2002 2010. The condition has also been referred to as urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS).

Each of these terms will be discussed in more detail below, in addition to the reasoning and use of each term.

Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis is the simplest and most common term currently in use. It was the original name of the condition, referring to the inflammation of the bladder, usual with specific involvement of the epithelial cells.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)

The original term was extended to become interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IB/BPS) in the period from 2002 to 2010. This change was intended to describe the health condition more accurately, as the pain of the bladder is the most common symptom but the pathology of the condition is not well understood.

Urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS)

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) initiated the use of the term urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS) in 2008. This umbrella term encompassed all pain syndromes that were associated with the bladder, including interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.

Other Terms Currently in Use

As a result of the frequent name changes, there are currently several names commonly in use to refer to the health condition. These terms include:

  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)
  • Urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS)
  • Painful bladder syndrome (PBS)
  • Bladder pain syndrome (BPS)
  • Hypersensitive bladder syndrome (HBS)

These terms are used with varying frequency in different parts of the world. In most countries, interstitial cystitis is the most commonly used term, although other nomenclature is usually understood.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Yolanda Smith

Written by

Yolanda Smith

Yolanda graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of South Australia and has experience working in both Australia and Italy. She is passionate about how medicine, diet and lifestyle affect our health and enjoys helping people understand this. In her spare time she loves to explore the world and learn about new cultures and languages.


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