The blood thinner heparin may be an effective treatment for Interstitial Cystitis (IC) according to the Interstitial Cystitis Association. IC is defined as pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort related to the bladder. It is typically associated with urinary frequency and urgency without infection or other pathology. It also is referred to as chronic pain syndrome (CPPS), painful bladder syndrome (PBS), and bladder pain syndrome (BPS).
Most often occurring in women, IC is often mistaken for chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The cause is largely unknown, however some factors may be connected to the disease, such as bladder trauma, bladder over distention, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, autoimmune disorder, bacterial infection and spinal cord trauma. The disease is subcategorized as non-ulcerative IC, by far the most common form, and ulcerative IC.
In the treatment of IC, heparin mimics the activity of the bladder’s mucous lining, which may be defective in those with IC. According to clinical studies, some improvement was found in about half of the patients who were on a heparin treatment plan. The heparin treatment may be given by injection or bladder instillation, however bladder instillation is the recommended delivery for patients with IC. The treatment of bladder instillation of heparin begins as daily routine and is reduced to three to four times a week after three to four months. Self-catheterization can be taught to patients who want to administer the treatment at home.