Women's Center
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Interstitial Cystitis/ Painful Bladder Syndrome

Also known as painful bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis causes uncomfortable bladder pressure, bladder pain and occasionally, some pain in the pelvis as well. The pain can be mild to severe, depending on the state of your disease. The pain can fluctuate widely and even periodically go into remission, as can the other symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis.

More than a million Americans have interstitial cystitis. While it can affect children and men, it affects women the most. It is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a permanent cure. However, medications and other therapies can provide relief from the symptoms, which can often be debilitating and drastically affect the quality of your life.

In adults, interstitial cystitis is caused by a communication problem between the brain and the bladder. There can be several causes of interstitial cystitis. It can be caused by a defect in the lining of the bladder that allows toxic substances in the urine to cause irritation. In other cases, something in the signals between the bladder and the brain get mixed up, so you think you need to urinate more often, even though smaller volumes are released.

Some factors increase the risk of interstitial cystitis in women.

Age. Most women with interstitial cystitis are in their 30s and 40s.

Gender. As noted, women will be diagnosed with interstitial cystitis more often than men and the same symptoms in men may mean there’s an inflammation of the prostate gland instead of interstitial cystitis.

Other chronic problems. Interstitial cystitis may be associated with other chronic problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. There is no obvious connection between these chronic problems physiologically.

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