Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic inflammation (swelling) or irritation of the bladder wall. Symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Strong urge to urinate
- Discomfort while urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain
Over time, IC can also cause stiffening and scarring of the bladder and a reduction in the amount of urine the bladder can hold. IC affects more than 700,000 people in the U.S. Most sufferers are aged 30-40, although it can also occur in younger people. Women are ten times more likely than men to develop IC.
The cause of IC is not yet known, and its symptoms are similar to those of a urinary tract infection, so IC is frequently misdiagnosed. A correct diagnosis is typically made by ruling out other conditions such as STDs, bladder infection and bladder cancer. Tests may include urinalysis, urine culture, urine cytology, cystoscopy and bladder biopsy.
There is no cure for IC. Treatment varies depending on the symptoms as well as the doctor’s and patient’s preferences. Options include medicines, surgery, bladder training, physical therapy/biofeedback and diet modification. The chosen treatment(s) may be changed if results aren’t satisfactory.