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J Urol. 2007 Sep;178(3 Pt 1):891-5; discussion 895. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

Fact or fiction--is abuse prevalent in patients with interstitial cystitis? Results from a community survey and clinic population.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Ministrelli Program for Urologic Research and Education, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073, USA.



We determined whether abuse is associated with interstitial cystitis by surveying patients with interstitial cystitis and controls. We corroborated this association in a clinic population.


A survey was mailed to 406 women diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and 5,000 age matched, randomly selected women in the United States. Similar data were collected from our interstitial cystitis clinic population by interviews in person.


We evaluated surveys from 464 symptom-free controls, 215 established patients with IC and 121 respondents with a history suggestive of interstitial cystitis. A higher proportion of patients with interstitial cystitis reported a history of abuse than controls (37% vs 22%, p <0.001). Sexual, physical and emotional abuse were also reported by a higher proportion of patients with interstitial cystitis. In our clinic population 76 women diagnosed with interstitial cystitis were evaluated, of whom 49% reported a history of abuse. Of those reporting abuse 92% reported emotional abuse, 78% reported physical abuse, 68% reported sexual abuse and 49% reported domestic violence.


Our study demonstrates an association between interstitial cystitis and abuse. Thus, it is important for clinicians to assess for abuse in women with interstitial cystitis or pelvic pain and provide appropriate referral to psychologists or other health care workers to provide comprehensive care for managing their symptoms. Further research is needed to evaluate the role of biopsychosocial therapies, in addition to traditional interstitial cystitis medical therapies for women with a history of abuse and interstitial cystitis.

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