Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. The symptoms of IC vary from case to case. People may experience mild discomfort, pressure, tenderness, or intense pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic area.

Symptoms may include an urgent need to urinate (urgency), frequent need to urinate (frequency), or a combination of these symptoms. Pain may change in intensity as the bladder fills with urine or as it empties. IC is far more common in women than in men. Of the more than 700,000 Americans estimated to have IC, 90 percent are women. These patients may be unable to work, unable to have sex comfortably. Fifty percent are unable to drive in a car comfortably.

IC is often mistaken and misdiagnosed as urinary tract infection, or simply overlooked. Some women are diagnosed with IC and are subjected to painful treatments including the introduction of acidic mediums into the bladder in an attempt to regenerate the tissue and make it stronger. IC may sometimes be caused by a basic pH problem in the individual - overly acidic urine will cause IC - and can sometimes be handled by self medicating with a base (calcium carbonate, or common antacid).

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