Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a severe and chronic pain syndrome that affects the bladder. It is also referred to as ‘painful bladder syndrome’. The vast majority of IC sufferers are Caucasian women (1). It is thought that many cases of chronic pelvic pain are due to IC.
Symptoms of IC include:
- frequent urination—including having to get up to go to the toilet during the night
- an urgent need to urinate
- pain (abdominal, urethral, vaginal or perineal).
- Other characteristics of IC that may be present are a scarred or stiff bladder, glomerulations (pinpoint bleeding), and ulcers (Hunner’s ulcers) and lesions in the bladder.
The symptoms can be debilitating with many women unable to work full time and/or suffering from related mental and emotional health issues.
Women with IC generally experience pain when their bladder fills and find relief (temporarily) from this pain when they urinate. However, as the pain returns as soon as the bladder begins to fill again, women find themselves urinating very frequently to relieve the pain. Typically, a woman with IC will go to the toilet 16 times a day, but some sufferers go up to 40 times (2). As a consequence, they may suffer the effects of sleep deprivation. Women’s symptoms may be exacerbated with sexual activity and premenstrually.
To download the fact sheet and for further information go to the Women’s Health website>>