What is a Hydrodistention?

A hydrodistention is performed with a cystoscopy and is an outpatient surgical procedure. In hydrodistention, the bladder needs to be filled to a high pressure in order to see the typical abnormalities of interstitial cystitis (IC).  The bladder filling is a pressure that can cause significant pain if you are not anesthetized.

Why is a Hydrodistention Done?

Cystoscopy with hydrodistention allows your physician to see changes inside your bladder that are typical of IC, including the presence of pin-point sized red marks on the bladder wall, also called glomerulations or petechial hemorrhages. This procedure also allows physicians to see Hunner’s ulcers (patches), which are present in a small number of people with IC. Also, the hydrodistention allows your physician to check your bladder capacity under anesthesia.

Can a Hydrodistention Help?

Hydrodistention may reduce pain and discomfort in some IC patients, and therefore may be therapeutic as well as diagnostic. Some people report improvement that lasts 3-9 months. Not everyone gets relief from a hydrodistention.

What Can I Expect After Having a Hydrodistention?

Typically, your first attempt at urinating after the procedure can be painful and can contain blood. Some people experience discomfort or urethral burning after the procedure. Some physicians use bladder instillations after a hydrodistention.