Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or "non-bacterial cystitis" is known as an immune system breakdown disorder because it typically appears when immunity has been compromised. In IC, the space between the bladder lining and the bladder muscle is chronically inflamed, leading to pain, sometimes severe. Cracks in the bladder wall allow urine to irritate bladder tissue, leading to a breakdown in the lining of the bladder.
The most common symptoms of IC include frequent urination, feelings of pressure, pain, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum (the area between the anus and vagina or anus and scrotum) and painful sexual intercourse. In men, discomfort or pain in the penis and scrotum may occur. In most women, symptoms may worsen around the menstrual cycle. Stress may also intensify symptoms, but stress does not cause symptoms to occur.
Currently, there is no specific way to diagnose IC, and no cure for IC, making it difficult to treat. Thus, treatments are primarily focused on relieving symptoms, and may include: bladder distension - a procedure aimed at increasing bladder capacity and interfering with pain signals that are being transmitted by the nerve cells in the bladder; bladder instillation (Also called a bladder wash or bath.) - the bladder is filled with a solution that is held for varying periods of time, from a few seconds to 15 minutes, before being drained through a catheter; bladder training - patient voids at designated times and uses relaxation techniques and distractions to help keep to the schedule. Gradually, the patient tries to lengthen the time between the scheduled voids; and medication and Surgery.
Management of IC may also include diet modifications, elimination of smoking and more exercise.