CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Your bladder is a hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until you're ready to empty it. In adults, the bladder expands until it's full and then signals the brain that it's time to urinate, by communicating through the pelvic nerves. This creates the urge to urinate in most people. With interstitial cystitis, these signals somehow get mixed up, and you feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than most people.
It's likely that many people with interstitial cystitis also have a defect in the protective lining (epithelium) of their bladder. A leak in the epithelium, for example, may allow toxic substances in urine to irritate your bladder wall.
Suggested but unproven factors that may contribute to interstitial cystitis include an autoimmune reaction, heredity, infection or allergy.
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