What are the possible etiologies of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)?

Updated: Dec 04, 2020
  • Author: Eric S Rovner, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The etiology of interstitial cystitis remains unknown and is likely multifactorial. [25, 26, 27] Proposed etiologies include the following:

  • Pathogenic role of mast cells in the detrusor and/or mucosal layers of the bladder

  • Deficiency in the glycosaminoglycan layer on the luminal surface of the bladder, resulting in increased permeability of the underlying submucosal tissues to toxic substances in the urine [28]

  • Infection with a poorly characterized agent (eg, a slow-growing virus or an extremely fastidious bacterium)

  • Production of a toxic substance in the urine

  • Neurogenic hypersensitivity or inflammation mediated locally at the bladder or spinal cord level

  • Manifestation of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction or dysfunctional voiding

  • Autoimmune disorder

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