Interstitial cystitis is a long-term irritation of the bladder. It can cause mild to severe pain that comes and goes. You also may feel a sudden urge to urinate or need to urinate often. Sometimes the walls of the bladder become scarred or get stiff.
Doctors do not know what causes interstitial cystitis. But they do know that it is not caused by an infection. The problem is much more common in women than in men. Your doctor may do tests to make sure that you do not have an infection, kidney stones, or bladder cancer.
Because the cause of interstitial cystitis is not known, your doctor may try several treatments. It may take several weeks or months to find a treatment that works. If diet and lifestyle changes do not help, you may need medicine. Your doctor may also put liquid or medicine into your bladder for a short time to treat the pain.