It's a condition that affects up to a million Americans, but many don't know they have it.
All Kay Inman knew was that her body was trying to tell her something. She said she had difficulty keeping food down and a lot of unexplained pain. Eventually, even routine errands became a chore. She says, at times, she couldn't even get up the energy to walk into a store to buy milk.
Specialists didn't have any answers. It was an annual checkup by her gynecologist, Dr. Robert Barnett that provided the diagnosis - interstitial cystitis.
Dr. Barnett says it's a condition where there's chronic inflammation of the bladder that's aggravated by allergies or by dietary factors. He says the inflammation breaks down the bladder's normal protective coating. Symptoms may begin in youth, come and go, and finally get worse.
Trouble is, those symptoms aren't the same for everyone. Dr. Barnett says people may have back pain or pain in a leg, or they may have symptoms that seem like a bladder infection, or even something irritating on the outside of the body that's really a problem on the inside.
Patients with unexplained abdominal pain or frequent or painful urination should ask their doctor about IC. It can be treated with diet changes, and medications to rebuild the bladder's coating.
Kay says within a month of starting treatment, she had her energy back.
"I feel more like myself again," she said. "It's an enormous relief."
For more information on interstitial cystitis, visit this web site,