Multiple names and definitions cause confusion for researchers, clinicians and patients. Currently there is no universally agreed definition for Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS).
The scientific committee of the International Consultation suggested to use the term “bladder pain syndrome”. The term Bladder Pain Syndrome focuses on the actual symptoms. The term Interstitial Cystitis focused on underlying pathology and defines an inflammation within the urinary bladder wall.
As per International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP):
Bladder pain syndrome is the occurrence of persistent or recurrent pain perceived in the urinary bladder region, accompanied by at least one other symptom, such as pain worsening with bladder filling and day-time and/or night time urinary frequency. There is no proven infection or other obvious local pathology. Bladder pain syndrome is often associated with negative cognitive, behavioral, sexual, or emotional consequences as well as with symptoms suggestive of lower urinary tract and sexual dysfunction.
The European Society for the Study of Interstitial Cystitis (ESSIC) proposed their own definition of Bladder Pain Syndrome:
Chronic pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort of greater than 6 month duration perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, accompanied by at list one other urinary symptom like persistent urge to void or urinary frequency. Confusable diseases as the cause of the symptoms must be excluded.
During the American Urology Association (AUA) Annual Meeting in May 2015 held in New Orleans, LA, USA, the American Urological Association defined Bladder Pain Syndrome as:
An unpleasant sensation (pain, pressure, discomfort) perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, associated with lower urinary tract symptoms of more than 6 weeks duration, in the absence of infection or other identifiable causes.