Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome



  • A condition characterized by pain, pressure, or discomfort of the bladder or pelvic region associated with one or more of the following urinary symptoms: increased frequency, urgency, or nocturia
  • A chronic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology, with associated urinary symptoms for >6 weeks without other identifiable causes such as infection or other pathology
  • The symptoms in many patients are insidious, and the disease progresses for years with relapsing and remitting symptoms often before diagnosis is established.
  • System(s) affected: renal/urologic
  • Synonym(s): urgency frequency syndrome; IC/bladder pain syndrome; chronic cystitis; Hunner ulcer


  • Occurs predominantly among white patients
  • Predominant sex: female > male (5:1) in patients 25 to 80 years of age

1-year incidence has been reported as

  • 21 per 100,000 female patients and 4 per 100,000 male patients

In the United States:

  • Prevalence is variable.
  • Up to 1.2 million female and 82,000 male patients are affected, but many cases likely are undiagnosed.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Etiology is unclear, and pathophysiology is likely multifactorial.

Risk Factors

Unclear but some reported risks include the following:

  • Recent urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Allergies
  • History of sexual abuse

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Fibromyalgia/Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression and panic disorder
  • Vulvodynia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Chronic prostatitis
  • Chronic pelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction
  • IBS
  • Anal/rectal disease
  • Chronic scrotal pain

There's more to see -- the rest of this topic is available only to subscribers.