Cystitis is a common painful condition caused by inflammation or infection of the bladder. All types of cystitis have two symptoms in common - the desire to pass urine frequently and urgently.

'Common' cystitis, also known as a urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria and usually responds quickly to antibiotics.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition causing the bladder walls to become irritated and inflamed. Most women with the condition experience pain, which often increases as the bladder fills and it may be relieved by urination. Women with interstitial cystitis may also experience a constant pain in the bladder, abdomen, lower back, vagina, or thighs. The symptoms can cause some women to experience feelings of helplessness and despair.

IC can often be difficult to diagnose as the urine tests are often negative and it does not respond to antibiotics. Women of any age can have interstitial cystitis but it is most often diagnosed during a woman's reproductive years.

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