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Demystifying interstitial cystitis


Chronic pelvic pain continues not only to burden the individual, but society as well.

One in seven women between the ages of 18 and 50 endure chronic pelvic pain; with a lifetime incidence of as high as 33%, according to one Gallup poll. Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) has been estimated to have a prevalence of 850 in 100,000 women and 60 in 100,000 men in self-report studies. The RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology (RICE) study, a symptoms survey, showed that between 2.7% and 6.5% of women (3.3 to 7.9 million women) in the United States have symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of IC/BPS.

Unfortunately, there is little known about the etiology and pathogenesis of IC/PBS. Moreover, oftentimes, the diagnosis is one of exclusion.

Dr. Charles E. Miller

Dr. Charles E. Miller

To demystify interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome, I have elicited the assistance of Dr. Kenneth Peters, a urologist on staff at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich. Dr. Peters is the professor and chairman of urology at Oakland University, William Beaumont School of Medicine, and the chairman of urology at Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, Mich.

In his discussion, Dr. Peters will point out that interstitial cystitis actually consists of two different entities: a classic presentation featuring the pathognomonic Hunner’s lesion on cystoscopy and interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome.

It must be acknowledged that Dr. Peters is a practicing urologist. Therefore, some of his recommendations, such as cauterizing Hunner’s lesions via a resectoscope, are beyond the scope of practicing gynecologists. However, it is important for us to realize what our potential referrals possess in their armamentarium. Moreover, it is obvious there is much that can be learned from this excellent diagnostician who professes the importance of physical examination.

Dr. Miller is clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and past president of the AAGL. He is a reproductive endocrinologist and minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in metropolitan Chicago; director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill.; and the medical editor of this column. He is an investigator on an interstitial cystitis study sponsored by Allergan.

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