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Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)

Topic Overview

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Interstitial cystitis (IC), or painful bladder syndrome (PBS), is a problem that causes pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder or pelvis. It can make you feel like you need to urinate (pee) often or urgently.

The exact cause of IC/PBS is unknown. Some researchers think it might be caused by changes to the lining of the bladder from infections or injuries. Others say it could be caused by allergies or the body attacking its own bladder. It might even be caused by problems with nerves or muscles in the pelvis. Since the reasons why IC/PBS happens aren’t clear, treatment focuses on helping to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

There’s no test to diagnose IC/PBS. The symptoms can be the same as other bladder problems. A doctor will look at your symptoms, do a physical exam, take your medical history, and do some tests to rule out other problems before diagnosing you with IC/PBS.

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Current as of: May 1, 2020

Author: Calgary Pain Program, Alberta Health Services