Bladder Pain and IC

Bladder pain is a common symptom of interstitial cystitis (IC), also sometimes called painful bladder syndrome. Bladder pain associated with interstitial cystitis can vary from mild to severe and often comes and goes—flares up and then subsides. Other IC symptoms include urinary urgency (sensation of having to urinate immediately) and urinary frequency (frequent urination). In women with IC, bladder pain and other symptoms may worsen during sexual intercourse and menstruation.

Other causes for bladder pain and pelvic pain include the following:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder infection (cystitis)
  • Bladder stones
  • Endometriosis (abnormal growth of uterine lining cells outside of the uterus; may affect the bladder and other pelvic organs)
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostate conditions (in men; e.g., prostatitis)

When the cause for bladder pain cannot be determined, a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS) may be made. Reducing bladder pain caused by IC/PBS often involves a combination of treatments, including diet modifications, medications, and other therapies (e.g., physical therapy, bladder retraining, biofeedback).

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 03 Dec 2009

Last Modified: 24 May 2011