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New Harvard Study About IC and Sexuality

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  • New Harvard Study About IC and Sexuality

    Well, it's not like this is new news. Anytime anyone has pelvic pain, sexuality is impacted in some way. This study, completed through Harvard Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, assessed approx. 146,000 households, of which 10% reported having symptoms similar to IC. Of those patients, 88% reported having symptoms of sexual dysfunction. It's not the sexual dysfunction report that makes this study interesting IMHO... it's the survey of so many households and the fact that roughly 10% of those household had women with symptoms of IC. - Jill

    Reference - Bogart LM, Suttorp MJ, Elliott MN, Clemens JQ, Berry SH. Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Dysfunction Among Women With Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis. Urology. 2011 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print]

    OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence and correlates of general and bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC)-specific sexual dysfunction among women in the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology study using a probability sample survey of U.S. households. Sexual dysfunction can contribute to a reduced quality of life for women with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC).

    METHODS: We telephoned 146 231 households to identify women who reported bladder symptoms or a BPS/IC diagnosis. Those who reported either underwent a second-stage screening using the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology study high-specificity symptom criteria. The criteria were pain, pressure, or discomfort in pelvic area; daytime urinary frequency ≥10 times or urgency due to pain, pressure, or discomfort (not fear of wetting); pain that worsened as the bladder filled; bladder symptoms did not resolve after antibiotic treatment; and patients never treated with hormone injections for endometriosis. Women who met the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology criteria (n = 1469) completed measures of BPS/IC-specific and general sexual dysfunction symptoms, bladder symptom severity, general physical health, depression, medical care-seeking, and sociodemographic characteristics.

    RESULTS: Of those with a current sexual partner (75%), 88% reported ≥1 general sexual dysfunction symptom and 90% reported ≥1 BPS/IC-specific sexual dysfunction symptom in the past 4 weeks. In the multivariate models, BPS/IC-specific sexual dysfunction was significantly associated with more severe BPS/IC symptoms, younger age, worse depression symptoms, and worse perceived general health. Multivariate correlates of general sexual dysfunction included non-Latino race/ethnicity, being married, and having depression symptoms.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study have shown that women with BPS/IC symptoms experience very high levels of sexual dysfunction. Also, sexual dysfunction covaries with symptoms.
    Would you like to talk with someone about your IC struggles? The ICN now offers personal coaching sessions that include myself, Julie Beyer RD on the diet and Dr. Heather Howard on Sexuality.

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