Interstitial cystitis: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2014 Sep;41(3):385-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Jul 9.


Interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome, can present with lower abdominal pain/discomfort and dyspareunia, and pain in any distribution of lower spinal nerves. Patients with this condition experience some additional symptoms referable to the bladder, such as frequency, urgency, or nocturia. It can occur across all age groups, although the specific additional symptoms can vary in prevalence depending on patient age. It should be considered in patients who have other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, and vulvodynia. The cause is still largely not understood, although there are several postulated mechanisms.

Keywords: Chronic pelvic pain; Interstitial cystitis; Nocturia; Painful bladder syndrome; Urgency/frequency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology
  • Age Factors
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / complications
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / diagnosis
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / epidemiology
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dyspareunia / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / etiology*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Nocturia / etiology*
  • Pelvic Pain / epidemiology
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology*
  • Pelvic Pain / physiopathology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors