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How Does Interstitial Cystitis Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Interstitial cystitis may also be associated with other disorders like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, Sjogren syndrome, etc.(1)

Having fair skin and red hair has been associated with a greater risk of interstitial cystitis.(2)

How Does Interstitial Cystitis Affect The Body?

Interstitial cystitis can produce a lot of symptoms that can change the dynamics of the body. The most common of the symptoms and counted are suprapubic pain, urgency, and frequency of micturition are increased, pain during coitus, reduced capacity of holding the urine, etc. Other symptoms associated with urination are painful micturition, urinary hesitancy, burning sensation while urination, pelvic pain, etc. These symptoms may vary depending upon the stage of interstitial cystitis like mild, moderate, or severe.(3)

Apart from producing symptoms related to the genitourinary tract, it may affect life in various other ways like there is a continuous state of anxiety for the patient due to frequent urges of urination, there is difficulty while driving, walking, prolonged sitting, exercising, etc. Relationship with the partner may deteriorate due to sexual intimacy problems and painful coitus. There can be interrupted sleep cycle which may eventually create a lack of interest in life leading to depression, daytime sleepiness and tiredness will increase and in turn, the work of the patient will suffer.(1)

As the condition is progressive in about 50 % of the cases and there is no complete cure known for this condition, the severity of symptoms produced increases leading to more difficulty in performing the routine lifestyle to the patient.

What Triggers Interstitial Cystitis?

Various theories have been suggested to explain the causation of interstitial cystitis over the years but the exact cause has not been determined yet. There is no single accepted theory that can explain all of the phenomena occurring in interstitial cystitis.

The most accepted theory is the bladder defect theory. In this, it is assumed that there is a creation of defect in the inner lining of the bladder that can occur due to genetic, allergic or idiopathic causes which may allow a lot of toxic and irritable substances to penetrate through it into the wall of the bladder and create an inflammatory atmosphere which further leads to scarring and generation of most of the symptoms of interstitial cystitis.

According to the second-most accepted theory, a specific type of mast cell which is already present in the bladder wall in an inactive state gets activated due to unknown reasons and cause a few of its symptoms. Another theory correlates the autoimmune diseases and interstitial cystitis by postulating that the body identifies a few unknown antigens in the bladder as foreign antigens and attacks the bladder wall thus creating a defect and inflammatory response in the interstitium of the urinary bladder.(4)


Interstitial cystitis is a dangerous condition in terms of psychological effects on the patient’s mind. It can create a lot of emotional disturbances, a state of continuous anxiety, lack of interest in life leading to depression, and many more psychological symptoms which decreases the overall quality of life of the person. It can also disrupt the relationship of the patient with other people/partner which may create a sense of loneliness in the patient. Physical symptoms are also very annoying and cannot be cured completely. Symptoms can only be reduced by a variety of medical and surgical methods but the quality of life of the individual is dependent upon the severity of the condition.

The most acceptable and feasible theory is the bladder lining damage theory. Many other theories have also been proposed but none of them can prove that all the symptoms can be produced by it.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 29, 2020

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