What is interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is inflammation of the bladder wall unrelated to infection. With this condition you may feel pelvic pressure, discomfort or pain, and you may need to go to the bathroom frequently or urgently. For some, the symptoms are constant; for others, the symptoms come and go.

Bladder Problems Spotlight

Inflammation of your bladder wall can lead to scarring, sores and bleeding. Scarring can cause the wall of your bladder to thicken and become less pliable. As a result, the bladder’s capacity to hold urine may decrease.

The cause of interstitial cystitis is not known. It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble those of a bladder infection and other conditions that can affect your bladder or bowel. Sometimes it takes years for the diagnosis to be made. Interstitial cystitis is 10 times more common in women than in men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 40 (Source: PubMed).

Although there is no cure for interstitial cystitis and no single treatment works for everyone who has it, many people who have it are able to find relief. Dietary changes or medications can help some people, while others find relief with bladder training, physical therapy, or surgery.

Although interstitial cystitis can cause significant discomfort and disruption in your life, serious complications that require emergency care are uncommon. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), the inability to urinate, or severe pain.

Seek prompt medical care if you have such symptoms as pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort, or if you need to go to the bathroom frequently or urgently. You should also seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for interstitial cystitis but symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of interstitial cystitis?

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort and the need to urinate urgently or frequently. Blood may occasionally be present in the urine. Over time, the bladder may not be able to hold as much urine.... Read more about interstitial cystitissymptoms


What causes interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is inflammation of the bladder wall unrelated to infection. While the cause is not known, some experts think that an abnormality of the bladder lining or a decreased production of protective substances allows urine to irritate the bladder wall, leading to inflammation. Others suggest that it might be related to abnormalities of the immune system or to an increase in the number of cells that release chemicals related to inflammatory responses. Overactivity of nerve cells of the bladder may also play a role.... Read more about interstitial cystitiscauses


How is interstitial cystitis treated?

Although there is no cure, many people who have interstitial cystitis are able to find relief. Unfortunately, no single treatment seems to be universally effective, so finding the best treatment for you may involve a process of trial and error. Dietary changes or medications help some people. Others find relief with bladder training, physical therapy, or surgery.... Read more about interstitial cystitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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