Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Interstitial Cystitis
What is interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder problem. About 750,000 Americans have interstitial cystitis. Most of them are women. People with interstitial cystitis have a bladder wall that is inflamed and irritated (red and sore). This inflammation can scar the bladder or make it stiff. A stiff bladder can't expand as urine fills it. In some cases, the walls of the bladder may bleed slightly. A few people get sores in the bladder lining.
People with interstitial cystitis may have the following symptoms:
In many women, the symptoms get worse before their menstrual period. Stress may also make the symptoms worse, but it doesn't cause them.
What causes interstitial cystitis?
Doctors don't know what causes interstitial cystitis. They know that it isn't caused by infections with bacteria or viruses. It might be caused by a defect in the lining of the bladder. Normally, the lining protects the bladder wall from the toxic effects of the urine. In about 70 percent of the people with interstitial cystitis, the protective layer of the bladder is "leaky." This may let urine irritate the bladder wall, causing interstitial cystitis.
Other possible causes may be an increase of histamine-producing cells in the bladder wall or an autoimmune response (when antibodies are made that act against a part of the body).
How does my doctor know I have interstitial cystitis?
You may have interstitial cystitis if any of the following occur:
How is interstitial cystitis treated?
There is no cure for interstitial cystitis. Many treatments can help your symptoms. Most people feel better after trying one or more of the following treatments:
What else can I do to help my symptoms?
Interstitial Cystitis Association: www.ichelp.org
National Kidney Foundation: www.kidney.org