Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a painful bladder condition that is often rather difficult to diagnose. IC commonly causes bladder pain, pressure on the bladder and can also cause pelvic pain. This bladder condition is a part of a wider spectrum of painful bladder syndrome diseases. The bladder will expand until it becomes full and then transmits a signal to the brain that alerts the body to urinate. However, this signal to urinate can get confused in individuals with IC. They often experience the need to urinate far more than others and with only a small amount of urine in their bladder.
IC most commonly affects women more than men and can leave a lasting impact on one’s overall quality of life. Although there is yet to be a cure found, there are medications and therapies available to provide relief for IC symptoms.
The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can vary between people and change over time. Certain situations/activities may cause IC symptoms to flare up, such as extended periods of time sitting, stress, exercise, menstrual flow and sexual activity. You may experience the following symptoms with IC:
- Pain in the pelvis region or between the vagina and anus in women
- Chronic pelvic pain
- A continuous and urgent need to urinate
- Discomfort when the bladder fills and relief from urination
- Pain during sexual activity
- Frequent urination, usually of small amounts, up to 60 times a day