Interstitial Cystitis | Causes & Risk Factors

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What causes interstitial cystitis?

Doctors don't know exactly what causes interstitial cystitis. However, they do know that it isn't caused by bacterial or viral infections.

A defect in the lining of the bladder might cause interstitial cystitis. Normally, the lining protects the bladder wall from the toxic effects of urine. In about 70% of the people who have interstitial cystitis, the protective layer of the bladder is "leaky." This may let urine irritate the bladder wall, causing interstitial cystitis.

Other possible causes may be an increase of histamine-producing cells in the bladder wall or an autoimmune response (when antibodies are made that act against a part of the body).

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Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 10/01

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