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HealthInfo Canterbury

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis causes bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain when your bladder is full. It's a long-term condition. It's also called painful bladder syndrome and bladder pain syndrome.

With interstitial cystitis, there's no obvious infection in the bladder and antibiotics don’t help.

The exact causes of interstitial cystitis aren't known but many factors may contribute. These include damage to your bladder lining and problems with your pelvic floor muscles. Your immune system attacking your bladder is another possible cause.

You're more at risk of getting interstitial cystitis if you're female. Having fair skin and red hair and being over 30 are also risk factors.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

Symptoms can include:

Diagnosing interstitial cystitis

There's no single test to diagnose interstitial cystitis. Your GP will examine you and ask you questions about your general health. They may also arrange a urine test to look for signs of infection and any abnormal cells.

Treating interstitial cystitis

Treatment for interstitial cystitis is aimed at reducing or eliminating your symptoms. You may need several treatments or combinations of treatments to relieve your symptoms. These can include physiotherapy, medication and surgery. They can also include filling your bladder with salt water (saline).

Self-care for interstitial cystitis

The link below has suggestions to help relieve symptoms.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.


Page reference: 223752

Review key: HIURS-53047