Interstitial cystitis – Symptoms and causes

interstitial cystitis symptoms

The interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome. It is a chronic condition which is causing bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes a pelvic pain. The pain which is caused by this condition can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. We know that the bladder is a hollow and muscular organ which stores urine. Our bladder expands until it is full and then it signals the brain that it is time to urinate and this communication is going through the pelvic nerves.

This is creating urge to urinate for most people. When someone has Interstitial cystitis, then these signals gets mixed up and you feel the need to urinate more often with smaller volumes of urine than most people. This condition is mostly affecting women and it can have a long – lasting impact on quality of life. There is no cure for its but medications and therapies can give you a relief from this condition.

interstitial cystitis diagnosis

Interstitial Cystitis Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this condition can vary from one person to another. If you have interstitial cystitis, then your symptoms can also vary over time, periodically flaring in response to common triggers, such as sexual activity, menstruation, exercise, stress and sitting for a long time. Here are signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis:

  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Discomfort or pain while the bladder fills and relief after urinating
  • Persistent urination, often with small amounts, throughout the day and night (up to 60 times a day)
  • A persistent, urgent need to urinate
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Pain between the scrotum and anus in men (also known as perineum)
  • Pain which is felt your pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women

The severity of symptoms is different for everyone and some people can experience symptom – free periods. The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis can resemble to those of a chronic urinary tract infection but usually there is no infection. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can worsen if the person with interstitial cystitis gets urinary tract infection. If you are experiencing urinary urgency and frequency or chronic bladder pain, then you should talk with your doctor.


The exact cause for the It is not known but there are many factors which can contribute to it. Those people who have interstitial cystitis also can have a defect in the protective lining (known as epithelium) of the bladder. The leak in the epithelium can allow toxic substances in the urine to irritate your bladder wall. Also, there can be other possible but unproven contributing factors for interstitial cystitis and they are allergy, infection, heredity or an autoimmune reaction.

Risk factors

Here are some factors which can increase your risk of interstitial cystitis:

  • Having a chronic pain disorder: It can be associated with other chronic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Your age: Most people who are diagnosed with interstitial cystitis are diagnosed during their 30s or older.
  • Your skin and hair color: If you have fair skin and red hair, then they are increasing your risk for interstitial cystitis.
  • Your sex: There are some studies in which are said that women are more often diagnosed with interstitial cystitis than men. Symptoms in men can mimic the interstitial cystitis but they are more often associated with an inflammation of the prostate gland (this is known as prostatitis).


It can result in many different complications, such as

  • Emotional troubles: The chronic pain and the interrupted sleep which are associated with the interstitial cystitis can cause emotional stress and they can lead to depression.
  • Sexual intimacy problems: The frequent urination and pain can strain your personal relationships and the sexual intimacy can suffer.
  • Lower quality of life: The frequent urination and pain can interfere with the social activities, work and other activities of your daily life.
  • Reduced bladder capacity: It can cause stiffening of the bladder wall and this will allow your bladder to hold less urine.


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