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  • Experts estimate that interstitial cystitis (IC) affects about 3 to 8 million women and 1 million men in the US. That’s more than the number of people with breast cancer, autism, and Alzheimer’s combined; however, these figures may significantly underestimate the true prevalence of the condition.
  • IC can affect anyone. Women, men, and children of any age or race can develop IC.
  • On average, it may take up to five years to receive a correct diagnosis of IC.
  • In the US, the mean yearly costs for treating IC are more than double those of other patients ($7,100 versus $2,994) and the median yearly costs are close to four-times greater ($5,000 versus $1,304).
  • Research has shown that IC patients’ quality of life can be worse than that of patients undergoing renal dialysis for end-stage kidney disease.
  • Pelvic pain resulting from IC can be so severe that many people with IC abstain from all sexual activity.
  • Some people with IC have a greater risk of developing certain related disorders, such as food and seasonal allergies, pelvic floor dysfunction, fibromyalgia, vulvodynia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • While today there is no cure or uniformly effective treatment for IC, there are treatments that alleviate IC symptoms.


Alagiri et al, Interstitial Cystitis: Unexplained Associations with Other Chronic Disease and Pain Syndromes. Urology Supplement 5A, May 1997
Berry SH, et al. Prevalence of interstitial cystitis/ painful bladder syndrome in the United States. J Urol. 2009; 181(4 Suppl): 20-21

Clemens JQ, Link CL, Eggers PW, Kusek JW, Nyberg LM Jr, McKinlay JB; BACH Survey Investigators. Prevalence of painful bladder symptoms and effect on quality of life in black, Hispanic and white men and women. J Urol. 2007;177(4):1390-1394.

Clemens JQ, Meenan RT, Rosetti MC, Kimes T, Calhoun EA, Urology. 2008 May;71(5):776-80; discussion 780-1. Epub 2008 Mar 10

Curhan GC, Speizer FE, Hunter DJ, Curhan SG, Stampfer MJ. Epidemiology of interstitial cystitis: a population based study. J Urol.1999 Feb;161(2):549-52. AND

Held PJ, Hanno PM, Wein J, et al. Epidemiology of interstitial cystitis. In: Hanno PM, Staskin D, Krane RJ, et al, eds. Interstitial Cystitis. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 1990:29-48.

Oravisto KJ. Epidemiology of interstitial cystitis. Ann Chir Gynaecol Fenniae 1975;64:75-77

Revised Wednesday, June 24th, 2015


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