Interstitial cystitis is also called painful bladder syndrome. It is a chronic condition in which you experience bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine. The bladder expands until it's full and then signals your brain that it's time to urinate, communicating through the pelvic nerves. This creates the urge to urinate for most people. With interstitial cystitis, these signals get mixed up, you feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than most people. Interstitial cystitis symptoms bring a lot of challenges. The disease can affect your social life, exercise, sleep, and even your ability to work. Interstitial cystitis most often affects women and can have a long-lasting impact on quality of life. Symptoms can come and go, or they may be constant. There's no treatment that "cures" interstitial cystitis, but medications and other therapies may offer some relief.