Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis: Introduction

Interstitial cystitis is one type of a variety of types of cystitis. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder and possibly the urethra, most often caused by a bacterial infection. Interstitial cystitis is a less common form of cystitis and is not caused by an infection. There is no known cause of interstitial cystitis, but it is marked by chronic, long-term inflammation of the bladder wall.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include feeling the need to urine in a hurry (urgency) and producing only small amounts of urine and urinary frequency. Pelvic pain may also occur. Symptoms may vary between individuals in intensity. Interstitial cystitis can also impact the quality of life and result in other complications. To learn about additional complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis occurs far more frequently in women than in men. Interstitial cystitis often appears between the ages of 30 and 40. It is believed that interstitial cystitis may be associated with other chronic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Making a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a pelvic examination for women. During the pelvic examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs and take a swab sample of the woman's cervix and have it tested for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases. Men are also tested for sexually transmitted diseases, which can produce symptoms similar to those of interstitial cystitis.

Diagnosis also includes performing a urinalysis test, which checks for the presence of pus, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine. The presence of these elements point to a diagnosis of bacterial cystitis or urinary tract infection instead of interstitial cystitis.

A potassium sensitivity test may also be performed. This test involves measuring the patient's reaction to the installation of a potassium chloride solution into the bladder. Feeling pain or urgency during the test can help to diagnosis interstitial cystitis.

Other tests are done to rule-out other underlying causes of symptoms, such as bladder cancer. These tests may include cystoscopy, which involves examining the bladder lining with a special instrument that is inserted through the urethra. A bladder biopsy may also be performed. A bladder biopsy takes a sample of cells from the bladder, which is checked for the presence of cancer cells.

A diagnosis of interstitial cystitis can easily be missed or delayed because symptoms are so similar to symptoms of more common conditions, such as urinary tract infection. For more information about misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic interstitial cystitis, refer to misdiagnosis of interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis is not curable and there are no treatments that have proven consistently effective in all people with the disease. An individualized combination of medications, dietary and lifestyle changes, therapeutic treatments, and/or surgery may help to minimize symptoms. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of interstitial cystitis. ...more »

Interstitial cystitis: Interstitial cystitis is an odd disease that is difficult to diagnose. It causes pain and irritation to the bladder and pelvic area, and thereby causes various urination symptoms. Its cause is unclear, but may be autoimmune, or perhaps only some cases are autoimmune. Diagnosis of IC is often by ruling out all other possible causes of bladder symptoms. Confirmation of a diagnosis is difficult, and the most compelling evidence for diagnosis is often from surgery and biopsy, rather than any specific urine or blood tests. ...more »

Interstitial cystitis: Symptoms

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis result from the inflammation of the bladder wall. Symptoms can include feeling the need to urine in a hurry (urgency) and frequent urination (frequency) that produces only a small amount of urine each time. Women may also experience pain during sexual intercourse, and there may be pelvic pain in both men and ...more symptoms »

Interstitial cystitis: Treatments

There is no cure for interstitial cystitis, and no treatments have proven consistently effective for all people with the disease. A good treatment plan involves a multifaceted approach that focuses on the specific treatments that give the individual the most effective relief of symptoms. This may require a combination of medications, dietary and lifestyle changes, therapeutic treatments, and ...more treatments »

Interstitial cystitis: Misdiagnosis

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis can be nearly identical to symptoms of other urinary tract conditions, especially urinary tract infection, and it is frequently misdiagnosed as such. Because of this, it is not unusual for a proper diagnosis of interstitial cystitis to be delayed for long periods of time.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis are ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Interstitial cystitis

Treatments for Interstitial cystitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Interstitial cystitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis: Related Patient Stories

Types of Interstitial cystitis

Rare Types of Interstitial cystitis:

Rare types of Interstitial cystitis include:

Diagnostic Tests for Interstitial cystitis

Test for Interstitial cystitis in your own home

Click for Tests

Interstitial cystitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Interstitial cystitis:

Causes of Interstitial cystitis

  • Bladder inflammation from radiation therapy
  • Unknown etiology
  • Unknown aetiology
  • more causes...»

More information about causes of Interstitial cystitis:

Disease Topics Related To Interstitial cystitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Interstitial cystitis:

Interstitial cystitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Interstitial cystitis

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. more »

Interstitial cystitis an under-diagnosed bladder condition: The medical condition of interstitial cystitic is a bladder condition that can be misdiagnosed as various conditions such as more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 more »

Interstitial cystitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Interstitial cystitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Interstitial cystitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Interstitial cystitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Interstitial cystitis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Interstitial cystitis

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Interstitial cystitis

Medical research articles related to Interstitial cystitis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Interstitial cystitis: Animations

Research about Interstitial cystitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Interstitial cystitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Interstitial cystitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Interstitial cystitis include:

Statistics for Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis: Broader Related Topics

Interstitial cystitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Interstitial cystitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Interstitial cystitis (IC), one of the chronic pelvic pain disorders, is a condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. (Source: excerpt from Interstitial Cystitis: NIDDK)

Your Urinary System and How It Works: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder disorder also known as painful bladder syndrome and frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome. In this disorder, the bladder wall can become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, pinpoint bleeding, and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining. The cause of IC is unknown at this time. (Source: excerpt from Your Urinary System and How It Works: NIDDK)

Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder disorder): NWHIC (Excerpt)

Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome and frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome, is a complex, chronic disorder that has baffled doctors for as long as it has been recognized." "People with interstitial cystitis (IC) have an inflamed, or irritated, bladder wall. This inflammation can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, glomerulations (pinpoint bleeding) and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining." (Source: excerpt from Interstitial Cystitis (Bladder disorder): NWHIC)

Definitions of Interstitial cystitis:

Ophanet, a consortium of European partners, currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000. They list Interstitial cystitis as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise