Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Does cystitis differ from an overactive bladder?"


I'm a 21 year old woman and I just found out I have interstitial cystitis. I don't really know, but I thought maybe this was due to the fact that I have an overactive bladder. Will it help my cystitis if I drink less water to try to keep my bladder function lower?


Any time you receive a diagnosis and have questions regarding its treatment and prognosis, it is always best to consult with a qualified health care professional. In this case, you are probably best served by seeing a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. An overactive bladder is a general term usually reserved to describe urge incontinence.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

This is caused by inappropriate contraction of the bladder muscle bringing on the sudden urge to urinate and occasional loss of urine involuntarily. This can be treated with certain medications that relax this muscle. Interstitial cystitis (not t be confused with cystitis, which is a bladder infection) is a poorly understood syndrome of symptoms including urinary urgency, burning with urination, and generalized bladder pain. The drugs used to treat an overactive bladder do not tend to work very well in people with interstitial cystitis. With regards to your plan for treatment, limiting your fluid intake and having planned times to the bathroom whether you need to go or not can be helpful. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss your diagnosis of interstitial cystitis, what treatment options are out there and what to expect in the future. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.