What is Interstitial Cystitis
- Inflammation is a protective reaction of the body tissue to irritation, injury, or infection. Inflammation of the bladder is called cystitis.
- When the inflammation is caused by bacterial infection, it is referred to as bacterial cystitis or just cystitis.
- Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the bladder when no infection is found. (Other causes of noninfectious inflammation of the bladder are also possible.)
- Inflammation of the bladder causes urinary frequency (frequent need to urinate), urgency (urgent need to urinate), pelvic pain, painful urination, incontinence, and nocturia (frequent need to urinate at night).
- Long-term inflammation of the bladder in people with IC can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder wall, which causes a decrease in the bladder capacity.
- Pinpoint areas of bleeding, called glomerulations or large ulcers, may occur in the lining of the bladder wall.
- IC is believed to be a syndrome initially presenting with mild symptoms and progressing to severe urgency and pelvic pain.
- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), IC is more common in women. It is believed that many patients have early forms of IC with a delayed diagnosis. The average age of onset of IC is 40 years.
Last Reviewed 12/16/2015
George Lazarou, MD, FACOG
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