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Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)

Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)

Topic Overview

Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) is an inflammation of the bladder wall. It causes symptoms like those of a urinary tract infection, such as pain and burning during urination. But there are no bacteria in the urine. To diagnose this condition, your doctor may do a test ( cystoscopy ) that uses a thin, lighted tube to see the inside of the bladder. The majority of cases occur in women.

The cause of interstitial cystitis is difficult to find out. Possible causes include injury or irritation, allergies, stress, a disorder of the nerves, or problems with the immune system . You may be able to relieve symptoms by avoiding bubble baths and other irritants and not drinking citrus juices and caffeinated fluids.

Treatment may include:

  • Medicines to help with cramping.
  • Biofeedback techniques to improve urination.
  • Stretching the opening of the tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body ( urethra ). This treatment is controversial.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised April 19, 2012

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