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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2007 May;18(5):551-4. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

There is a low incidence of recurrent bacteriuria in painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis patients followed longitudinally.

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Department of Gynecology/Urogynecology, Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery, St. Mary's/Good Samaritan Hospital, Centralia, IL 62801, USA.


The objective of this paper was to establish whether patients with confirmed painful bladder syndrome/interstitial cystitis (PBS/IC) presenting with symptoms of UTI have actual bacteriuria vs a flare of their PBS/IC symptoms. One hundred and six (n = 106) consecutive female patients (mean age 39.8 +/- 14 years) with newly diagnosed IC were identified and followed longitudinally for 24 months. At the initial visit and at all subsequent visits, urinary specimens were obtained by sterile catheterization (Bard 14Fr female) and cultured for bacteria. Eight patients had an initially positive urine culture, and repeat cultures 8 weeks after treatment were all negative. Once sterile urine was established, the diagnosis of PBS/IC was confirmed. A pelvic pain/urgency/frequency (PUF) questionnaire score was obtained from 89 patients. After the diagnosis of PBS/IC, all patients received multimodal treatment. Patients were instructed to present to the office whenever they developed symptoms of UTI, at which time a sterile catheter specimen was obtained and sent for culture. Greater than 10(3) colonies were considered positive. Patients who did not report flares were contacted to establish whether unreported treatments were given. Seventy-two patients (68%) had no UTI episodes or flares. The remaining 34 patients (32%) presented with 54 flares, of which 44 were culture-negative and 10 were culture-positive. A single flare was reported by 21 patients during the 24 months, with three positive cultures (14.3%). Recurrent UTI symptoms (two to four flares) were seen in a small group (n = 13) for a total of 33 flares. Of these, seven had two flares each (12 negative, 2 positive), five had three flares each (12 negative, 3 positive), and one patient had four flares (two negative, two positive). Therefore, within the group with recurrent symptoms, seven positive cultures were obtained for a rate of recurrent bacteriuria of 6.6% (7/106). Nine of the 10 positive bacterial cultures were due to gram-negative bacteria: Escherichia coli (n = 6), Proteus mirabilis (n = 1), Klebsiella pneumonia (n = 1), and Citrobacter sp. (n = 1). One grew Streptococcus sp. There was no difference between the flare group and nonflares in regards to age or PUF scores between groups. This study is the first to report on the low incidence of confirmed UTIs in a large group of PBS/IC patients followed longitudinally. These data suggest that only a small number of PBS/IC patients with UTI symptoms have positive urine cultures (9.4%; 10/106). Although the symptoms of recurrent UTI are prevalent in IC patients, the incidence of confirmed recurrent UTIs is only 6.6%. Because the flares of IC are usually self-limiting, treatment response to antibiotics may be misleading in light of the low incidence of positive urine cultures. These data suggest that the symptom flares of IC are not usually associated with recurrent UTI and, therefore, are likely due to a triggering of the other painful mechanisms involved in IC patients who are culture-negative.

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