Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is chronic inflammation of the wall of the bladder. Inflammation can cause scarring and/or pinpoint bleeding of the bladder wall. It can also lead to decreased space to hold urine.

  • Causes


    Although the symptoms are similar to those of a
    bladder infection
    , there is usually no clear cause. Bacteria, fungi, and/or viruses are rarely found in the urine of people with interstitial cystitis. Possible causes include:

    • An autoimmune response that occurs following a
      bacterial infection
      of the bladder
    • A leaky inner lining of the bladder that allows irritating substances in the urine to come into contact with the bladder wall

  • Definition

    Interstitial cystitis is chronic inflammation of the wall of the bladder. Inflammation can cause scarring and/or pinpoint bleeding of the bladder wall. It can also lead to decreased space to hold urine.

    The Bladder
    The bladder
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    A diagnosis of interstitial cystitis will only be made after other conditions have been ruled out.
    In order to do this, your doctor may recommend other tests. Tests may include:

    • Urine test
    • Urine culture
    • Cystoscopy
      —A scope used to view the inside of the bladder wall.

    • Bladder
      biopsy

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing interstitial cystitis because the cause is unknown.

  • Risk Factors

    Interstitial cystitis is more common in women and Caucasians. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting interstitial cystitis include:

    • History of urinary tract infections
    • Irritable bowel syndrome

    • Associated pain disorders, such as
      fibromyalgia
      or
      chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Symptoms

    The symptoms of interstitial cystitis vary from person to person. They can also occur in cycles. Symptoms may include:

    • Urgent need to urinate.
    • Frequent need to urinate several times a day.
    • Discomfort, pain, or pressure in the bladder or pelvic area when the bladder is full, and relief when the bladder is emptied.
    • Pain during and after intercourse or during orgasms
    • Blood in the urine
    • Depression
    • Pain in the vulva or vagina in women, or in the testes, groin, or tip of penis in men

  • Treatment

    There is no known treatment to cure interstitial cystitis. Treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. You may have to try several different treatments before you improve.

    Treatment may include one or more of the following: