Interstitial Cystitis - Symptoms and Signs

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What are interstitial cystitis symptoms and signs?

The symptoms of IC/PBS vary greatly from one person to another but have some similarities to those of a urinary tract infection. They include

  • decreased bladder capacity resulting in frequent urination of smaller amounts of urine day and night, referred to as urinary frequency;
  • a strong, urgent need to urinate when the need to urinate arises, referred to as urinary urgency;
  • feelings of pressure, pain, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum (the area between the anus and vagina or anus and scrotum) which may increase as the bladder fills and decrease as it empties;
  • painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia); and
  • discomfort or pain in the penis and scrotum.

Most people suffering from IC/PBS have both urinary frequency/urgency and pelvic pain, although these symptoms may also occur singly or in any combination. In most women, symptoms usually worsen around the time of their periods. As with many other illnesses, stress also may intensify the symptoms, but it does not cause them. The symptoms usually have a slow onset, and urinary frequency is the most common early symptom. As IC/PBS progresses over a few years, cycles of pain (flares) and remissions occur. Pain may be mild or so severe as to be debilitating. Symptoms can vary from day to day.

Return to Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

See what others are saying

Comment from: hana r, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I had been diagnosed with UTIs (urinary tract infections) for about 6 years before finally being put into the emergency room from bad pain. They checked my urine and found a large amount of blood but no bacteria. So finally I was able to go to a specialist to get diagnosed with interstitial cystitis last year. I had to have my uterus checked first as well and it was all clear. They finally could diagnose me with a cystoscopy and found that a large amount of my bladder wall was covered in lesions and was bleeding. My symptoms were frequent urination and urgency, heavy feeling in my bladder area, pain from the front to lower back, feeling tired and sick until I emptied my bladder, needing to go again soon after, blood in urine and no bacteria.

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Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 09

I was diagnosed with IC (interstitial cystitis) in January, 2015. The pain I was experiencing was terrible. I had pain in my urethra, my bladder and in my rectal area. Once I was diagnosed with IC, I was given 2 treatments. One was pain medication and the other was RIMSO treatment (which is a solution inserted into my urethra). Neither of these treatments give me total relief. The pain medication does work at the time but I am requiring to take it more frequently and more dosage. I am at wits' end to find ongoing relief. I understand what each person with IC is going through.

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