What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis, also known as Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS), is a chronic bladder condition.

Symptoms of IC/BPS vary from person to person. People may experience:

  • Pain, pressure, or discomfort in the pelvic and/or bladder region (the area below the belly button and above the thighs)
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Discomfort that worsens when your bladder fills
  • Discomfort that may be relieved by emptying your bladder
  • For males, discomfort or pain in the penis or scrotum
  • Urine cultures that test for infections may come up negative for bacteria. It is possible for persons with Interstitial Cystitis to have simultaneous urinary tract infections, however, the symptoms will persist once the infection has cleared.


What causes IC/BPS?

The cause of IC/BPS is unknown. While the symptoms closely resemble those of a bacterial infection, urine analysis shows an absence of bacteria that cause infections. Attempts to treat IC/BPS with antibiotics have been unsuccessful. 


How is IC/BPS diagnosed?

There is no distinct test for IC/BPS. A diagnosis is based on the presence of IC symptoms and ruling out other conditions that affect the bladder or pelvic region such as urinary tract infections. One of the MAPP Research Network's goals is to first better understand the condition so that we can help improve methods of diagnosis. Please see your doctor if you are concerned that you might have IC/BPS. 


Additional Information

For additional information about IC/BPS, you may be interested in the following links: