What is interstitial cystitis?

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A painful bladder syndrome known as interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition in which there is a bladder pressure, pain and pelvic pain that can sometimes be severe.

A hollow, muscular organ that functions in storing urine is known as the bladder. This bladder expands until it is full and signals the brain that it is time to urinate. It communicates through the pelvic nerves, and creates the urge to urinate. With conditions such as cystitis, these signals get mixed up, like the person feel the need to urinate frequently but with small volumes of urine.

Women are more susceptible to interstitial cystitis and have a long lasting effect on the quality of life. If you want to learn how to manage the symptoms, click here.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis
The person experiences chronic pelvic pains
  • The person experiences chronic pelvic pains
  • Pains during sexual intercourse
  • There is a persistent urge to urinate
  • There is pain between the vagina and anus in women and in men between the scrotum and anus which is the perineum.
  • Small amounts of urination the whole day but people with a severe interstitial cystitis urinate 60 times a day.
  • There is pain and discomfort before urinating

Causes of interstitial cystitis

  • Interstitial cystitis can be caused by a defect in the protective lining which is the epithelium of the bladder and a leak in the epithelium that can cause toxic substances found in the urine to irritate the bladder wall.
  • Another cause of interstitial cystitis is the autoimmune reaction like heredity, infection or allergy.

Treatment and home remedies

  • A physical therapist can help relieve pelvic pains linked with muscle tenderness, a connective tissue and muscle abnormalities in the pelvic floor.
  • Avoid urine irritants that are known as the “four Cs” like carbonated beverages, caffeine, citrus products and food that contain high concentration of vitamin C. The individual should also avoid tomatoes, pickled foods, spices and alcohol, and sometimes artificial sweeteners can cause the symptoms.
  • Bladder training which involves a timed urination, like going to the toilet according to the time set and not waiting for the need to urinate.
  • Avoid wearing belts or clothes that adds pressure on the abdomen.
  • Reducing stress by using the methods like visualization and biofeedback.
  • Avoid smoking since it may worsen a painful condition and it also can cause to bladder cancer.
  • Encourage the individual to perform some simple stretching exercises since it helps in reducing the interstitial symptoms.


Drinking cranberry juice or tablets that contain proanthocyanidin can help reduce bladder infection among women.


The individual should be encouraged to drink plenty of liquids like water especially if the person is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy during treatment.

If there is an urge to urinate, the individual should not delay the urge to use the toilet and urinate.

Washing the skin around the vagina and anus as well as avoid using deodorant sprays and some feminine products in the genital area since it can cause irritation to the urethra and bladder.

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