The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of silymarin, a phytotherapeutic agent, on bladder overactivity in a cyclophosphamide(CYP)-induced cystitis rat model. Female Wistar Albino rats received a single intraperitoneal injection of CYP (150 mg/kg) or saline and after 72 h, bladder function was evaluated by in vitro preparations of whole bladders and cystometry with continuous saline infusion under urethane anesthesia. Silymarin or a vehicle was orally given for 7 days in rats. CYP was injected on the 5th day of silymarin or vehicle treatment and then the animals were killed on the 8th day. CYP-treatment dramatically potentiated the basal spontaneous contractions of isolated whole bladders compared to control rats. In anesthetized rats, during continuous infusion cystometry, intercontraction interval (ICI) was significantly shorter, but bladder voiding pressure was not significantly changed in CYP-injected rats compared to control rats. In the CYP-injected group, silymarin treatment significantly decreased the amplitude, frequency (contractions/min) and area under the curve of spontaneous contractions, but failed to change carbachol-induced contraction in isolated whole bladder. Also, silymarin treatment significantly increased the ICI in comparison to the vehicle treatment. In the saline-injected group, no significant changes in the bladder function were observed between the silymarin and vehicle-treated groups. Histopathological examination showed that CYP-induced bladder inflammation tended to be lower in the silymarin + CYP-treated group. In conclusion, the oral administration of silymarin suppressed CYP-induced bladder overactivity. Silymarin may be considered as an attractive treatment for CYP-induced bladder overactivity. (C) 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.