What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is chronic pain in the bladder and surrounding region.  The natural lining of the bladder, known as the epithelium, is protected from naturally-occurring toxins in the urine by a layer of proteins.  A diagnosis of IC means that this protective layer has broken down, resulting in a constantly inflamed and tender bladder.

An estimated three to eight million women in the United States are affected by IC; three to six percent of the female population. These are astonishing statistics; however, interstitial cystitis can be very difficult to diagnose. 

Symptoms vary from person to person but commonly include:

  • Pressure, tenderness, or pain in the bladder and pelvic area
  • Urinary urgency and frequency
  • Pain with sexual intercourse

Currently, there is no cure for IC.  Therefore, treatment focuses of relieving the pain and discomfort that comes with IC.  There are several types of treatments for IC:

  • Medications
  • Changes in diet
  • Stress management