Alternate Names : Painful Bladder Syndrome
Interstitial cystitis refers to a type of chronic inflammation of the bladder that has no known cause.
What is going on in the body?
Interstitial cystitis causes pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvis. The bladder is chronically inflamed, or irritated. The cause is currently unknown, but many theories have been proposed.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Ninety percent of the people with interstitial cystitis are adult women. The cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. Some researchers believe it is an autoimmune disorder, or one in which the body produces antibodies against its own tissues. They believe that the antibodies are formed after the person has a bladder infection.
Other experts believe that interstitial cystitis is caused by a type of bacteria that are in the bladder cells. They think that these bacteria are not detectable by routine urine tests. Some researchers think that there may be chemicals in urine that irritate people with interstitial cystitis. They have not yet identified any of these substances.
Women diagnosed with interstitial cystitis often have higher rates of several other conditions. These include:
fibromyalgia, a disorder causing pain in the muscles
inflammatory bowel disease, a disorder causing diarrhea and cramping
irritable bowel syndrome
systemic lupus erythematosus, which is also an autoimmune disorder
vulvodynia, or diffuse burning of the vaginal lips