Hey Jenn...I was keeping rx's of both Macrobid (I, too, found it worked best, infection or not) and Pyridium (specific for bladder pain, and is now an otc med) on hand because I 'thought' I was getting frequent UTI's. However, most of the time when I went to Urgent Care, the urinalysis came back 'negative'. Sometimes it was 'positive', but rarely.
As time (years) went on, and the cultures kept coming back negative, I began taking Pyridium ONLY (because taking an antibiotic when you don't have an infection is Not a good idea) until I received the results of the urinalysis.
Now. It wasn't until a couple yrs ago when I met Barb (the C.L. of this forum) that I discovered there was actually a name for this chronic bladder pain which, of course, is I.C.
What works well for me...and best of all, it's natural...is Cranberry Softgels made from cranberry Concentrate. You can find gel caps with cranberry Powder in them, but I've found the liquid works much, much better.
I realize your post is nearly a year old. I'm hoping you'll be notified of my reply via email, but if not, I hope this might be helpful for future readers.
Since IC is inflammation of the bladder wall, antibiotics do work for some people, even if infection isn't present.
One thing that works for many/most with IC (unless you have Hunner's lesions) is marshmallow tea. I use it quite often to help with inflammation. Marshmallow tea produces a coating on the bladder wall to help prevent the burning/pain of a flare.
You might also talk with your doctor about vaginal estrogen, since vaginal dryness can cause symptoms that mimic IC.
Oh yeah macrobid nitro is great better then Valium and hydroxizone and I got rid of it longer.