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Eur Urol. 2008 Nov;54(5):1145-51. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2008.01.079. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Insight into urogynecologic features of women with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, IRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



The prevalence of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS) among gynecologic patients attending vulvar disease or pelvic pain clinics is higher than expected. The evaluation of gynecologic characteristics in patients with IC/PBS could be important to delineate a better therapeutic strategy.


We compared clinical gynecologic characteristics including localized and generalized vulvodynia and sexual activity of 47 women with a definite diagnosis of IC/PBS versus 47 negative controls.


The prevalence of both generalized or localized vulvodynia was 85.1% (40 of 47) in the patients and 6.4% (3 of 47) in the control group (p<0.0001 by Fisher exact test). The mean visual analogue score on generalized or localized vulvodynia evaluated with the cotton swab test was 6.1+/-2.6 (SD) among women with IC/PBS and 0.6+/-1.7 in the control group (p<0.0001 with Mann-Whitney U test). Pain during intercourse was described as unbearable by 15 women with IC/PBS (31.9%) and 2 controls (4.3%; p=0.001 by Fisher exact test). Sexual function was significantly impaired in women with IC as measured by the median total score of the Female Sexual Function Index in comparison with controls (13.8 vs. 28.7; p<0.0001).


Patients with a definite diagnosis of IC/PBS appear to have a high risk of vulvodynia with the associated negative implications for sexual activity. The establishment of a multidisciplinary approach with the involvement of the gynecologist appears to be a logical requisite for a correct treatment strategy for these patients.

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