Interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome. The cause of interstitial cystitis is not known but it is suggested that autoimmune reactions, heredity, infection or allergy may play a role in its development. It can also be associated with other chronic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Interstitial cystitis can affect anyone but is more common in women.
The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can vary. Symptoms may also change over time or flare up in response to certain triggers, such as menstruation, sitting for an extended period, stress, exercise and sexual activity. Some common symptoms include:
It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. In many cases, these symptoms may suggest interstitial cystitis, but they can also be signs of another health condition.
People who have interstitial cystitis are most commonly diagnosed in their 40s. The following may be used to help your doctor determine a diagnosis:
There is no specific treatment that completely eliminates interstitial cystitis and no one treatment works for everyone. However, a variety of medications and other therapies may offer relief. Your doctor may suggest you try one of, or a combination of, the following:
Your doctor will work with you to determine the treatment option that is best for you.