Interstitial Cystitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 6/6/2017

Interstitial cystitis, sometimes referred to as painful bladder syndrome, is characterized by

Other signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis are

  • a decreased bladder capacity,
  • feelings of pressure and tenderness around the bladder, and
  • painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).

Men may experience discomfort in the penis and scrotum. Signs and symptoms can vary among affected people and may vary in severity.

Causes of interstitial cystitis

The cause of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome is unknown. Changes or abnormalities in the leakiness or structure of the lining of the bladder are thought to be involved in its development.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2017

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