Interstitial Cystitis & Abuse Not Connected

Thanks to the ICA for this great new information in relation to abuse and IC. I know that over the years there has been a lot of back and forth about whether or not IC and abuse are related. Hopefully this new information will put the debate to rest. There is nothing harder than having a chronic illness and then being told that you are sick because of abuse – especially if you didn’t suffer from any form of abuse. Read on for the full story…

San Francisco—In the past few years, studies showing a correlation between abuse and IC prompted debate and controversy. Today, a new study presented here in a specialty society gathering at the American Urological Association meeting helped end the debate and move IC research to focus on something more important—finding new medical treatments to get you better.

J. Curtis Nickel, MD, presented the study by his team at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and other urologists from the United States and Europe at the meeting of the Society for Infection and Inflammation in Urology. They found that there was no appreciable difference in rates of childhood abuse between IC patients and controls. The difference just barely reached statistical significance and did not reach clinical significance. That should help counter some doctors’ assumption that IC is caused by the psychological consequences of abuse and that medical therapy—or different or additional medical therapy—won’t help. As one urologist who attended remarked, we can stop blaming the victim.

This research helped validate the concerns medical writer Penny Allen raised in her story published in Urology Times last year about the issue of abuse in IC patients. (Allen is also the editor of the ICA Update and covers IC research and treatment news for the ICA.) Coincidentally, today, Allen won the 2010 American Urological Association award in the trade journalism category for that very IC story. In her thoughtful analysis of the issue, Allen demonstrated that:

  • The rates of abuse in IC patients in published studies didn’t agree.
  • Other large studies of people abused in childhood didn’t show they had much more chronic pain later in life than people who weren’t abused.
  • Urologists who see IC patients may not have the training to help patients who reveal they have been abused.
  • The issue could be diverting much needed focus away from medical treatment and research.


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