Interstitial Cystitis: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Interstitial cystitis is also known as the painful bladder syndrome which is a chronic condition that causes bladder pain, bladder pressure, and pelvic pain. The pain ranges from mild discomfort to severe.


The bladder is a hollow and muscular organ that stores urine. The organ expands until it is full and then signals the brain about to urinate, through the pelvic nerves. This simple process creates the urge to urinate for most people.


While if we talk about interstitial cystitis, these signals of urging urinate get mixed up and feel the need to urinate more often.


This disease often affects women than men and can impact on quality of life. Although there’s no particular cure for the disease some medications and other therapies may offer relief.


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What is Interstitial Cystitis?

It is the disease of bladder comes under the inflammatory diseases which cause bleeding and ulceration leads to scarring and stiffening of the bladder.


The disease has a variable course i.e. the symptoms can appear and disappear over time. Furthermore, the intensity of its symptoms differs among individuals.


The cause of the disease is unknown, but some abnormalities in the structure of the bladder may play a role in the development of this disease.



What are the Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis?

There are several symptoms related to the disease including;

  • Pain in the pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women.
  • Pain between the scrotum and anus in men.
  • Chronic pelvic pain.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Pain or discomfort in the bladder after urinating.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.




What are the Causes of Interstitial Cystitis?

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but the disease occurs due to many factors. For instance, people with interstitial cystitis may have a defect in the protective lining of the bladder. A leak in this lining may allow toxic substances in urine to irritate the bladder wall.


Other possible but unproven contributing factors are an autoimmune reaction, infection, heredity, and allergy.


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What are the Rish Factors of Interstitial Cystitis?

Following are the risk factors that are associated with the disease including;


1. The intercourse: Women are diagnosed with the disease more often than men.


2. The skin and hair color: Having fair skin and red hair is also associated with a greater risk of the disease.


3. Age: Most people with the disease are diagnosed after the 30s or older.


4. Having a chronic pain disorder: It may be associated with additional chronic pain disorder like fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.



What are the Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis?

Well, unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease till now, although there are numbers of treatments that can be tried.

Lifestyle changes are usually recommended first to the patient with this disease. Some medications and other therapies may also use for its treatment.

Lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, avoiding certain foods or drinks, quit smoking, controlling alcohol intake, and planned toilet breaks can be helpful.

Some people also find the following therapies and treatments helpful in the treatment;

  • Physiotherapy
  • Bladder retraining
  • Psychological therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)





Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome is a chronic condition related to the bladder. It causes pain and discomfort to the bladder. The main treatment for this is to make lifestyle changes.


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