1. Frequency and Urinary Urge
Most of the common symptoms of interstitial cystitis (IC) revolve around urination and commonly involve both frequency and urge. You may feel the need to urinate as many as 60 times a day, which can mean trips to the bathroom every 15 to 20 minutes as well as waking up numerous times in the night in order to empty your bladder (nocturia). When you start to feel the need to urinate, it will usually be quite urgent, and you may also have bladder pain, pressure or spasms.
2. Chronic or Intermittent Pain
In addition to the pain that precedes and accompanies urination, you may also experience chronic pelvic, urethral, vulvar and abdominal discomfort. Men with IC may exhibit symptoms including pain and inflammation of the prostate (i.e. prostatitis). Both men and women may also feel pain in their perineums (this is the space between your scrotum or vagina and your anus). This pain and discomfort may be particularly pronounced while you are having sex, during the act itself and with any genital touching that may happen during foreplay. If you are a man with interstitial cystitis, you may even experience pain upon ejaculation.
3. Social and Psychological Symptoms
As interstitial cystitis is chronic and may be difficult to diagnose and treat, you may find yourself experiencing a number of social and psychological problems that can affect your career, family life and social life. It may be quite difficult for you to enjoy normal activities, such as attending a movie, concert or sporting event, and traveling may become very complicated, if not impossible. The need to plan every outing around the availability of a bathroom can quickly become a source of embarrassment. Many people with this condition find themselves withdrawing from any type of social encounter, and some become very withdrawn and even reclusive. If you start to feel any symptoms of anxiety and depression that may be brought about by having to live with IC, it is important to seek help from a mental-health professional as well as from your physician or urologist.