What are the characteristics of ulcerative interstitial cystitis (IC)?

Updated: Dec 04, 2020
  • Author: Eric S Rovner, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The hallmark of classic interstitial cystitis is a diffusely reddened appearance to the bladder surface epithelium associated with 1 or more ulcerative patches surrounded by mucosal congestion (ie, Hunner ulcer) on the dome or lateral walls of the bladder upon cystoscopic examination. These ulcers may become apparent only after overdistention, because discrete areas of mucosal scarring rupture during the procedure. Overdistention in this type of interstitial cystitis results in fissures and cracks that bleed in the bladder epithelium.

In the United States, the ulcerative type is rare (< 10% of cases), and some authors consider this type to be more resistant to therapy. Biopsy findings show that the ulcerative lesion can be transmural, associated with marked inflammatory changes, granulation tissue, mast cell infiltration, and, in some cases, fibrosis. This classic form of interstitial cystitis can be associated with progressively smaller bladder capacity over time.

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