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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2006 Jan;17(1):69-72. Epub 2005 Jul 2.

What is the pain of interstitial cystitis like?

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Department of Urology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


To describe the characteristics of pain experienced by patients with interstitial cystitis (IC) in terms of pain site, severity, and character, we performed a secondary analysis of data from the IC database (ICDB), which was a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study of IC patients. We analyzed the cross-sectional baseline data from 629 patients who had a completed baseline symptom questionnaire. Patients answered questions about whether they had pain or discomfort associated with urinary symptoms over the past 4 weeks and if so, about the location, characteristics, intensity, and frequency of their pain. Logistic regression examined associations between pain location and the presence of urinary symptoms. Analyses were performed using SAS version 8.2 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA) and considered significant at the 5% level. Five hundred and eighty-nine (94%) patients with a mean age of 45 years (SD 14 years) reported baseline pain or discomfort associated with their urinary symptoms. The most common baseline pain site was lower abdominal (80%), with urethral (74%) and low back pain (65%) also commonly reported. The majority of patients described their pain as intermittent, regardless of the pain site. Most patients reported moderate pain intensity, across all pain sites. There was a statistically significant link between pain in the urethra, lower back, and lower abdomen, and urinary symptoms. Patients with IC report pain at several sites other than the bladder, possibly arising from the previously well-described myofascial abnormalities of pelvic floor and abdominal wall present in patients with IC and other chronic pelvic pain syndromes.

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