Is IC Causing Your Bladder Pain?

More than 1.3 million Americans have long-term bladder pain. Interstitial cystitis is a more common — but less known — cause of bladder pain and urination problems. Here's a closer look at the symptoms of IC ›

Understanding Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a puzzling bladder condition, in which the bladder wall becomes irritated or inflamed, causing pain and frequent or painful urination.

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis are often similar to the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. However, in interstitial cystitis, there is no infection, and the symptoms do not respond to antibiotic treatment. The exact cause of interstitial cystitis remains a mystery, although researchers continue to investigate possible causes, such as unidentified bacteria, an allergic or immune system reaction, a toxic substance in the urine, or a neurological problem in the bladder wall. There also is some evidence that interstitial cystitis may not be just one illness, but several illnesses that share similar symptoms.

Get the facts on how IC is diagnosed and treated

What's Causing Your Bladder Pain?

Find out how likely it is that your symptoms could be IC.

What to Expect From a Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to look inside the bladder and the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. A cystoscope is a tubelike instrument with lenses, a camera and a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other. It allows your doctor to examine the urethra and the lining of the bladder. If necessary, your doctor can pass surgical instruments through the cystoscope to perform specific procedures. In most cases, a cystoscopy lasts 5-10 minutes. Procedures that are more complex take longer.

Learn more about what it's used for, and how it's done

Reference: Kidneys and the Urinary System section on Better Medicine

Did You Know?

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If you have cloudy, dark, bloody, or odd-smelling urine, you may have a urinary infection rather than IC.