If you have interstitial cystitis (IC), you know that drinking a lot of liquid without allowing yourself to use the bathroom when needed can be painful. This presents a problem if you have to get a pelvic ultrasound exam, because the test's preparation requirements can aggravate your condition. It is possible to have a pelvic ultrasound when you have IC, but there has to be good communication between the different departments and people involved. Here are some preparatory steps you can take to make the exam go more smoothly for you.

Have Your Doctor Talk to the Ultrasound Tech

No matter which doctor ordered the exam, have the one who handles your IC symptoms talk to the ultrasound department -- and the exact tech who will be doing your exam -- to ensure the tech knows that you will likely not be able to drink the entire amount of liquid required for the test.

Pelvic ultrasounds require that you drink several cups of water, usually a total of 32 fluid ounces, right before the test. This is an amount that can result in extremely painful urges to urinate for patients with IC. Your doctor will likely tell you to drink what you can -- an amount that will vary greatly between IC patients -- and you have to be sure that the tech will not force you to drink any more than you comfortably can.

If you or your doctor encounter resistance, you may need to look at finding an alternate department that can perform ultrasounds, such as one at a different hospital in the area. Or, your doctor needs to speak to the department head and find out who in the department has experience performing pelvic ultrasounds on patients with bladder complications.

Schedule for First Thing

When you schedule your ultrasound, try to get the first appointment in the morning. If you have any patients ahead of you, complications with their tests can delay your test, making you wait a lot longer to finish up so you can get to a bathroom. If the need for a pelvic ultrasound is urgent, tell the appointment setter why you need an early appointment. He or she may be able to work you into the morning schedule or keep your name on a standby list in case someone cancels.

Find That Bathroom

When you go in for your appointment, locate the nearest bathroom so that you know exactly where to go once you're done with your test. Verify with the tech that he or she knows about your IC and will do the test as quickly as possible, and tell the tech you need to get to that bathroom right when the test is done.

If you want more advice on successfully completing a pelvic ultrasound when you have IC, talk to both your IC specialist and the ultrasound department. You are not the only one who's ever been in this situation, and the department staff should be able to give you more advice on how to prepare.

A center like EVDI Medical Imaging can give you more information.