Interstitial cystitis, commonly referred to as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition causing bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain. The pain ranges from mild discomfort to severe. Interstitial cystitis most often affects women and can have a long-lasting impact on quality of life. Although there’s no cure, medications and other therapies may offer relief.
The bladder, the organ that stores urine, expands until it’s full and then signals your brain that it’s time to urinate, communicating through the pelvic nerves which, for most, creates the urge to urinate. However, with interstitial cystitis, the signals can be inaccurate causing people to feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than they normally would.
Symptoms may also vary over time, periodically flaring in response to common triggers, such as menstruation, sitting for a long time, stress, exercise and sexual activity.
Interstitial cystitis signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in your pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women
- Pain between the scrotum and anus in men (perineum)
- Chronic pelvic pain
- A persistent, urgent need to urinate
- Frequent urination, often of small amounts, throughout the day and night (up to 60 times a day)
- Pain or discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Although signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis may resemble those of a chronic urinary tract infection, there’s usually no infection. However, symptoms may worsen if a person with interstitial cystitis gets a urinary tract infection.
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, but a variety of factors likely contribute. Other possible but unproven contributing factors include an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection or allergy. There are factors associated with a higher risk of interstitial cystitis, which include:
- Skin/hair color
- Underlying chronic pain disorder
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- 23 Aug 2018
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