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Glossary of terms: C  
Calcium channel blockers Also called calcium antagonists or calcium blockers. A group of drugs that reduce the amount of calcium that enters the smooth muscle. Since muscle cells need calcium to contract, calcium channel blockers can cause muscle cells to relax. Used to treat heart disease and high blood pressure. Can also reduce contractions of smooth muscle in the bladder. May sometimes cause urinary retention.  
Candida Candida albicans is a normal inhabitant of the mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. It is a monocellular fungus (yeast) that can cause disease through overgrowth in organs with mucous membranes such as the vagina, penis and mouth. Candida infections can be acute or chronic, localised or systemic. A serious systemic form of Candida is known as Deep Candidiasis which can lead to multi-system organ failure. Candida can cause chronic vulvar and vaginal irritation and burning. Typical of vaginal candida is: a thick white vaginal discharge, pain during sex, pain passing urine. In men it can cause: burning, itching, redness and red patches under the foreskin or tip of the penis, pain passing urine. Candida can also occur in the urinary tract where it usually affects the bladder, but through entry via the urethra, it may ascend via the ureters to the kidneys. Candida in the upper urinary tract may cause fever and pain in the back. It may be indistinguishable from bacterial pyelonephritis. Symptoms include: irritation of bladder and urethra, suprapubic tenderness, painful urination, blood in urine, frequency/urgency, fungus ball formation. Oral Candida or thrush is an infection of the mouth, tongue and gums caused by overgrowth of Candida species. It forms white plaques, under which the tissue is red and sore; it causes a burning sensation in the mouth or on the tongue, a bright red tongue and cracks in the corners of the mouth. It may lead to loss of taste and pain on eating and swallowing. Candida disease can occur for no apparent reason at all, but is common following use of antibiotics which may lead to overgrowth of the fungus. It is also commonly found in people with low resistance, such as patients with diabetes mellitus, SLE, Sjögren's syndrome and in immunocompromised patients such as HIV/AIDS. Catheterisation can also be a cause of Candida overgrowth in the urinary tract. Other risk factors include genitourinary tuberculosis, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, antibiotic use for bacterial cystitis, hospitalisation.  
Cannabinoid Any of a number of chemical compounds found in cannabis derived from the Indian hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are three of the most studied natural cannabinoids. There are currently three general types of cannabinoids: herbal cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant; endogenous cannabinoids which are produced in the bodies of human beings and animals, and synthetic cannabinoids which are similar compounds produced synthetically in a laboratory.  
Capsaicin A chemical compound (neurotoxin) which is the active ingredient of chili peppers (genus Capsicum). It is an irritant substance which causes a burning sensation if it touches tissue. Capsaicin is used in a variety of ways to treat pain, particularly neuropathic pain. The theory behind this is that that the burning sensation from the capsaicin overwhelms the nerves which are then unable to signal pain, leading to a reduction in the sensation of pain. Initially the nerves are excited, but following depletion of neuropeptides, the nerves become desensitized. In the experimental treatment of bladder dysfunction (e.g. neurogenic bladder), it appears to block the sensory nerves involved in bladder spasticity. Tried experimentally for interstitial cystitis, but abandoned as being too painful.  
Carcinoma in situ An early form of cancer which is confined to the epithelium and has not invaded the surrounding tissues. When removed surgically should lead to a cure. Has the potential to turn into invasive cancer.

Catheter A thin, flexible tube inserted into a body cavity or passage in order to allow fluids to pass in or out.
Catheterization Insertion of a slender tube (catheter) through the urethra or through the anterior abdominal wall into the bladder, urinary reservoir or urinary conduit to allow drainage of urine.  
Cell The basic unit of living matter. All organisms are composed of cells.  
Central nervous system Central nervous system (CNS): The brain and spinal cord for the central nervous system.  
Cerebral cortex The highly convoluted external surface of the brain. It is divided into lobes: frontal (decision-making, planning, problem-solving), parietal (receives and processes sensory information from the body), temporal (memory, emotion, hearing and language) and occipital (vision) and is also divided into right and left hemispheres.  
Cervix Neck. In gynaecology the neck of the uterus (womb).  
C-fibre (C-fiber) Any of the unmyelinated, small-diameter nerve fibres, associated with slow-onset, dull, diffused and prolonged pain. Afferent C-fibres are slow in conducting. Since it is myelin which helps nerves transmit messages fast, the fact that these nerves are unmyelinated is the reason why C-fibres are slow at transmitting. C-fibres carry impulses from painful stimuli.
Chemical cystitis Also known as drug-induced cystitis. Symptoms similar to interstitial cystitis caused by certain drugs, chemotherapy etc. Drugs believed to have this effect include the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug tiaprofenic acid and cyclophosphamide.  
Chondroitin Chondroitin sulfate is one of the natural components of the GAG layer of the urinary bladder. It is one of the proteoglycans – molecules which form the protective GAG layer, the top layer of the bladder lining. Its use as an intravesical treatment is based on the theory that IC is caused by a defective GAG layer and that chondroitin sulfate can therefore help to temporarily repair the GAG layer. Also used in oral dietary supplements.  
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) The cardinal symptoms are fatigue, poor concentration and memory, irritability, muscular pain and alteration in sleep patterns. Many patients suffer from depression. The term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (sometimes also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME) is applied when no known disease has been identified that could be causing the chronic fatigue.  
Chronic A disease or condition which continues over a long period of time. The opposite of acute.  
Classic IC The name often given to the form of interstitial cystitis with Hunner’s ulcers (also called patches or lesions) and signs of inflammation in the bladder.  
Clean catch urine sample For a clean catch urine sample, the patient washes the genital area before collecting “midstream” urine in a sterile container. The aim is to avoid any external contamination of the urine through contact.  
Clinical trial A clinical trial is a research study that uses volunteers to test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. It consists of 4 phases:
Phase I: this initial phase represents the first time that the experimental treatment is used on human beings. These studies are carried out to determine the safe dose of a potential drug, the dosing schedule (e.g. how many times a day, the method of administration (e.g. by mouth, injection etc) and the side effects.
Phase II
: if an experiment treatment is considered to be safe in Phase I, with a defined dosage and method of administration, Phase II focuses on determining whether the potential treatment is effective and at the same time safe. Phase II concentrates on determining the relative efficacy of the potential drug compared with standard therapy. This phase involves a larger number of volunteers (usually 100+), generally divided into two treatment groups: standard treatment versus the experimental treatment. Patients are allocated at random to either the experimental drug or the standard treatment. Usually neither the researcher nor the patient is aware of which treatment the trial participants are receiving.
Phase IV
: After the experimental drug has been approved for use in the general population by the regulatory agency responsible, Phase IV trials continue to monitor the safety and side-effects associated with long-term use of the drug.
Clitoris Small, sexually sensitive, erectile organ in women. Located beneath the point where the inner labia meet under the skin of the clitoral hood. When sexually aroused, the clitoris becomes swollen.  
CNS See Central Nervous System  
Coitus The act of sexual intercourse.  
Colitis Inflammation of the colon (large intestine).  
Collagen A protein which forms the main component of white fibrous connective tissue. Collagen is found in skin, bone, cartilage and ligaments.  
Colostomy Surgically constructed artificial outlet (stoma) between the colon and abdominal wall. Acts as an artificial anus.  
Confusable disease If applied to interstitial cystitis: a disease which may produce similar symptoms to those of interstitial cystitis and which therefore needs to be excluded before a diagnosis of IC can be made.  
Congenital abnormalities Abnormalities or defects that are present at birth.
Connective tissue As its name suggest, it is tissue which has a connecting function. Tissue that supports, binds or separates organs and other tissues of the body. There are three main types : 1. Collagenous fibres 2. Elastic fibres 3. Reticular fibres.  
Consensus General agreement by a group of people on a specific subject, for example consensus on a definition or criteria.  
Continence The ability to exercise voluntary control over the need to empty the bladder until an appropriate time and place.  
Contraindication A specific situation or factor which makes administration of a drug or carrying out of a procedure inadvisable due to a greater than normal risk of harm being caused to the patient.  
Corticosteroids Hormones produced by the adrenal cortex. There are two main groups: the glucocorticoids and the mineralocorticoids. Also used as a term for synthetic steroids such as prednisolone and dexamethasone.  
Cortisol One of the main steroid hormones produced and released by the adrenal cortex.  
Cortisone One of the hormones of the adrenal gland. It is converted into cortisol before being used by the body.  
Cox-2 inhibitor Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors. A class of drugs which selectively inhibit Cox-2, an enzyme involved in inflammation, without affecting Cox-1, thereby reducing the risk of causing damage in the gastrointestinal tract. Blocking the enzyme Cox-2 hinders the production of prostaglandins which cause pain and swelling. Cox-2 selective inhibitors are the newest of the NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  
CP Chronic prostatitis.  
CPPS Chronic pelvic pain syndrome.  
Cranberry juice This simple, natural remedy brings relief to many men and women with recurrent bacterial cystitis and appears to have a preventive effect. It is thought that the cranberry juice works by preventing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and consequently preventing infection from taking hold. Not considered suitable for the treatment of PBS/IC and may cause irritation of the bladder in these patients.  
Criteria (sing. criterion): A standard, guideline or rule on which a decision can be based. Classification criteria are a specific combination of features (signs and symptoms) on which the diagnosis of a specific disease can be based.  
Cross-talk Dialogue or interaction between organs or systems of the body. A term used to describe pelvic organ cross-sensitization between the bladder and bowels. Often refers to neural cross-talk.  
Culture Urine culture: a urine sample is obtained either by catherisation or by collecting a ‘clean catch’ sample. Urine culture is used to identify organisms causing infection in the urinary tract.  
Cystectomy Surgical removal of the bladder and replacement by a stoma or artificial outlet for the urine.  
Cystitis The term commonly used for symptoms caused by a urinary tract infection in the bladder.  
Cystocele Displacement of the bladder downwards and backwards, creating a bulge into the anterior vaginal wall. A cystocele occurs when the wall between a woman’s bladder and her vagina weakens, allowing the bladder to protrude into the vagina. This may cause discomfort and problems with emptying the bladder. A bladder that has dropped from its normal position may cause two kinds of problems: involuntary leakage of urine (including stress incontinence) and incomplete emptying of the bladder. A cystocele is mild when the bladder only protrudes a short way into the vagina. With a more severe cystocele the bladder drops far enough to reach the opening of the vagina. The most advanced form of cystocele occurs when the bladder bulges out through the vaginal opening. A cystocele may result from straining muscles, such as during childbirth, heavy lifting or repeated straining during bowel movements. During the menopause, the muscles around the bladder and vagina may weaken due to the fact that their body is no longer producing the hormone estrogen which helps keep muscles around the vagina strong.  
Cystometrogram (CMG) A cystometrogram measures how much your bladder can hold, how much pressure builds up inside your bladder as it stores urine and how full it is when you feel the desire to urinate. The doctor or nurse will completely empty your bladder using a catheter. Then a smaller catheter with a pressure-measuring tube called a cystometer will be used to fill your bladder slowly with warm water. Another catheter may be placed in the rectum to measure the pressure there too. You will be asked how your bladder feels and when you feel the desire to urinate. The volume of water and the bladder pressure will be recorded. You may be asked to cough or strain during this procedure. Involuntary bladder contractions can also be identified.  
Cystoplasty Bladder augmentation or augmentation cystoplasty is reconstructive surgery to increase the reservoir capacity of the bladder. The procedure involves tissue grafts from a section of the small intestine (ileum) or other segments of the bowel that are attached to the urinary bladder by sewing or stapling.  
Cystoscope A specially designed endoscope which is a narrow, tube-like instrument fitted with lenses and a light at the tip passed through the urethra to look inside the bladder.  
Cystoscopy A medical procedure performed by urologists in which a cystoscope is inserted into the urethra in order to look inside the urethra and bladder. Cystoscopy can be used to collect samples, to perform hydrodistension and biopsies, to remove small stones and to examine the lining of the bladder in close detail.  
Cytokine Any of various proteins that are released by cells of the immune system and serve to regulate the immune system. They are messenger molecules that allow the immune system to communicate between its different compartments. Once they reach their destination cell, they cause a biological effect. They play an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system.  
Cytology The examination of cells under a microscope. The urinary tract is lined with epithelial cells which are normally shed into the urine. Urine cytology involves microscopic examination of the urine by the pathologist to try to detect any abnormal cells. Used to detect cancer and inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.  
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