Interstitial Cystitis

(IC; Painful Bladder Syndrome)

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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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

Risk Factors

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

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

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