A condition called interstitial cystitis causes bladder wall irritation and inflammation and over time can lead to scarring and thickening of the bladder wall, according to Everyday Health. Doctors are not certain what causes interstitial cystitis but have identified several risk factors. These include damage to the bladder due to trauma, chronic bladder distention, nerve damage, bacterial infections and the presence of other inflammatory diseases.
Thickening of the bladder wall causes the bladder to become stiff and lose elasticity, explains Everyday Health. This leads to urinary frequency, urgency, pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction in many patients. The condition is more common in women, and there is no cure. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may come and go over months or years.
Treatment for interstitial cystitis focuses on symptom relief, says Everyday Health. A doctor may prescribe medication to protect the bladder wall from irritation, to reduce muscle spasms or to relieve pain. Procedures that provide effective symptom relief for many patients include bladder distention, bladder washing and electrical stimulation with TENS therapy. Many patients use a combination of therapies. In severe cases, patients may require surgery.
Lifestyle changes often help patients manage this condition, reports Everyday Health. These include following a careful diet to avoid bladder irritation, bladder training and stress reduction techniques.