Interstitial cystitis

Last revised by Dr David Luong on 15 Jun 2021

Interstitial cystitis (or bladder pain syndrome) refers to an inflammatory condition affecting the bladder. It is usually defined as urinary bladder pain and irritative symptoms of more than six months' duration. It usually represents a diagnosis of exclusion. Traditionally, it has been defined as a chronic sterile inflammatory disease of the bladder of unknown etiology 3.


It tends to commonly occur in young to middle-aged women 1. The RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology Study in 2011 surveyed women in approximately 150,000 United States households and concluded that up to 6.5% have symptoms of interstitial cystitis4


Its exact etiology is uncertain. Proposed theories of pathogenesis are wide and include chronic/subclinical infection, autoimmune phenomena, neurogenic inflammation or bladder urothelial defects.

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