What causes interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood bladder pain condition 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. 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 ordinarily involved in inflammatory responses. Overactivity of nerve cells of the bladder may also play a role.

Interstitial cystitis seems to be more common in people who have pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS; digestive discomfort that does not cause intestinal damage or serious disease), or chronic fatigue syndrome.

What are the risk factors for interstitial cystitis?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing interstitial cystitis. Not all people with risk factors will get interstitial cystitis. Risk factors for interstitial cystitis include:

  • Age between 30 and 40
  • Allergies
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Female gender
  • Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS; digestive discomfort that does not cause intestinal damage or serious disease)

INTRODUCTION

What is interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood bladder pain condition 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.

Progressive changes bladder wall can lead to scarring, sores and bleeding. Sc... Read more about interstitial cystitisintroduction

SYMPTOMS

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.

Common symptoms of interstitial cystitis

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary. If you have interstitial cystitis, you may experience s... Read more about interstitial cystitissymptoms

TREATMENTS

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.

Common treatm... Read more about interstitial cystitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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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