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What is Interstitial Cystitis and What Causes It?

by | July 22nd, 2010

What is Interstitial Cystitis and What Causes It?

Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) is a condition of the urinary bladder associated with pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort with persistent urge to void in the absence of urinary tract infection. The condition was first given its name in 1887 and has undergone several name changes and diagnostic criteria. Over 33 million Americans are affected by urinary dysfunction making this condition more prevalent than adult onset Diabetes in the U. S.

Individuals who have IC often have decreased quality of life measures and report adverse affects on leisure activity, family relationships, and travel. The condition is found in women more than men and depressive symptoms are common.

While there are a number of diagnostic criteria for IC, there is no agreed upon gold-standard test that reliably makes the diagnosis. IC is therefore mostly a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms and signs, although, a number of tests are helpful. Among women, IC is often confused with other causes of chronic pelvic pain such as endometriosis. A study-examining women who had persistent chronic pelvic pain after hysterectomy found 80% to have IC.

The cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown but two theories are often proposed. The most popular theory is that an injury or insult to the bladder fails to heal completely causing a defect in the protective layer inside the bladder. This defect allows leakage of urine into the bladder wall that stimulates pain receptors and causes inflammation. The second theory suggests that other disease processes such as endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia irritate nerves in the pelvis that innervate the bladder. The theory suggests irritation of these nerves results in chronic bladder pain.

J. Kyle Mathews, MD

Plano Urogynecology Associates

Plano OB Gyn Associates

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Category: Bladder Dysfunction, News & Education, Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery & Urogynecology |


Dr. J. Kyle Mathews is an expert in the field of Urogynecology, minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, and reconstructive gynecologic surgery. Dr. Mathews is board certified and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the American College of Surgeons. With over two decades of experience, Dr. Mathews is one of the most experienced surgeons in north Texas.

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