More than 1 million Americans suffer from IC
Yet few are aware of this painful, and often debilitating, bladder condition
Raritan, NJ .– More than one million Americans – most of them women –suffer from a painful and little-known bladder condition called interstitial cystitis (IC). To raise awareness and recognize the ongoing struggles of people living with this painful bladder condition, Ortho Women’s Health & Urology™ announces the second annual Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Week, October 19-23, 2009.
IC is a painful, and often debilitating, chronic condition in which the bladder lining becomes irritated and inflamed. Although men can develop IC, it is far more common among women. In fact, of the estimated 1.3 million Americans with IC, more than 1.2 million are women. People who have ongoing or periodic pelvic pain, frequent and urgent urination, and pain during or after sexual intercourse, may have this chronic, yet treatable condition called IC, also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS).
IC Awareness Week acknowledges the daily challenges people with IC must overcome to manage this under-diagnosed and under-recognized condition. The goal of the week is to raise awareness by sharing information, insights, and experience from those living with IC. According to one IC patient, “IC does not have to control your life...IC is painful, discouraging, and frustrating, but learn to appreciate small gains over its symptoms and continue to celebrate life!”
Since IC is neither a well-known nor well-accepted medical condition, increasing awareness is important. The symptoms of IC – pain in the pelvic area, going to the bathroom urgently or frequently, and pain during or after sex – are sometimes mistaken for other pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, recurrent urinary tract infections, and overactive bladder.
Research shows that most patients consult at least 5 physicians, including psychiatrists, during a period of more than 4 years before being diagnosed with IC. “By increasing awareness of interstitial cystitis and the 3 symptoms most commonly associated with IC – Pain, Urgency, and Frequency – we want people to ask ‘could it be IC?’ sooner,” says Katherine LaGuardia, MD, director, medical affairs, Ortho Women’s Health & Urology™.
Treatment approaches differ from one patient to the next, but most IC patients find success with a combination of dietary modifications and medication. IC patients should avoid acidic foods and carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages. Some have success with medical therapies like ELMIRON® (pentosan polysulfate sodium), the only FDA-approved oral medication for relief of the bladder pain or discomfort associated with IC.
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