What is interstitial cystitis? Interstitial cystitis is a poorly understood bladder pain condition unrelated to infection. With this condition, you may feel pelvic pressure, discomfort or pain, and you may need to go to the bathroom frequently or urgently. For some, the symptoms are constant; for others, the symptoms come and go. Progressive changes bladder wall can lead to scarring, sores and bleeding. Scarring can cause the wall of your bladder to thicken and become less pliable. As a result, the bladder’s capacity to hold urine may decrease. The cause of interstitial cystitis is not known. It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble those of a bladder infection and other conditions that can affect your bladder or bowel. Sometimes it takes years for the diagnosis to be made. Interstitial cystitis is 10 times more common in women than in men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 40 (Source: PubMed). Although there is no cure for interstitial cystitis and no single treatment works for everyone who has it, many people who have it are able to find relief. Dietary changes or medications can help some people, while others find relief with bladder training, physical therapy, or surgery. Although interstitial cystitis can cause significant discomfort and disruption in your life, serious complications that require emergency care are uncommon. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), the inability to urinate, or severe pain. Seek prompt medical care if you have such symptoms as pelvic pain, pressure or discomfort, or if you need to go to the bathroom frequently or urgently. You should also seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for interstitial cystitis but symptoms recur or are persistent.