Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that causes discomfort or pain in the bladder and a need to urinate frequently and urgently. It is far more common in women than in men. The symptoms vary from person to person. Some people may have pain without urgency or frequency. Others have urgency and frequency without pain. Women's symptoms often get worse during their periods. They may also have pain with sexual intercourse.
The cause of IC isn't known. There is no one test to tell if you have it. Doctors often run tests to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. There is no cure for IC, but treatments can help most people feel better. They include
- Distending, or inflating, the bladder
- Bathing the inside of the bladder with a drug solution
- Oral medicines
- Electrical nerve stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Bladder training
- In rare cases, surgery
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- General IC Symptoms (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
Treatments and Therapies
- IC Treatment: Antidepressants (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
- IC Treatment: Antihistamines (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
- IC Treatment: Surgical Procedures (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
- Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Bridging pharmacotherapy and minimally invasive surgery in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain...
- Article: An evaluation of the pharmacotherapy for interstitial cystitis.
- Article: Crosstalk between the immune system and neural pathways in interstitial...
- Interstitial Cystitis -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Urologist (Urology Care Foundation)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Children and IC (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
- Men and IC (Interstitial Cystitis Association)
- Pregnancy and IC (Interstitial Cystitis Association)