Bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis) is a poorly understood bladder condition that causes long-term pelvic pain and problems peeing.

It's also known as painful bladder syndrome.

The condition tends to first affect people in their 30s and 40s, and is much more common in women than men.

It can have a significant impact on lifestyle, work, emotional health and relationships, but a number of different treatments can be tried to help relieve the symptoms.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of interstitial cystitis are:

  • Intense pelvic pain (felt below your belly button)
  • Sudden strong urges to pee
  • Needing to pee more often than normal
  • Waking up several times during the night to go to the toilet

The pain may be worse when your bladder is full and may be temporarily relieved when you go to the toilet.

You might also find the pain is worse during periods or after having certain foods or drinks.

The symptoms will often come and go in phases. You may have episodes lasting days, weeks or months where your symptoms improve, followed by times when they're worse.

How can physio help?

Physio can help with improving bladder and pelvic floor muscle function as well as internal treatment if appropriate. We work closely together with medical experts and will signpost if needed.

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