A chronic condition of the bladder, IC (interstitial cystisis) causes discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. It is characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder wall. This inflammation can lead to:
- Scarring and stiffening of the bladder
- Less bladder capacity
- Pinpoint bleeding in the bladder lining.
Although IC can affect both men and women, 90 percent of cases reported in the United States are from women.
The actual causes of IC are unknown, but research scientists have several theories that are associated with:
- An autoimmune response
- Irritating substances in the urine.
There are multiple symptoms seen with IC. For example:
- Bladder capacity reduction
- Urgency to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate
- Painful sexual intercourse.
Because IC is a chronic condition, all doctors can do is try to relieve the symptoms. Common treatment options include:
- Self-help strategies
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
(Click Interstitial Cystitis for more detailed information on IC, including a more complete list of possible symptoms, different tests used in the diagnostic process, and potential complications that the condition can lead to.)