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Quitting Smoking Can Help Reduce IC Symptoms

Mobley D, Baum N. Smoking: Its Impact on Urologic Health. Rev Urol. 2015;17(4):220-5.

In this educational article for physicians and patients, the authors describe a variety of urologic conditions that have negative associations with smoking and tobacco. In particular, interstitial cystitis (IC) is discussed. While no studies directly link cigarette smoking as a risk factor or cause of IC, some studies do suggest a correlation between smoking and IC, and there are many “help” articles urging women with IC to stop smoking because smoking might exacerbate IC symptoms. For example, a guide from the National Kidney Foundation cites smoking as a factor that might aggravate IC symptoms. The authors also cite ICA materials that recommend smoking cessation due to the chemicals in cigarette smoke that might be an irritant. Likewise, the International Urogynecological Association recommends smoking cessation. Among the evidence supporting these recommendations is an Austrian study, including nearly 1,000 subjects, in which smokers were more likely to have severe symptoms. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that smoking is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death–not only lung cancer, but also bladder cancer (smoking triples the risk of bladder cancer). Therefore, the authors say, urologists have a great opportunity to help patients adopt healthy lifestyles and end dependence on tobacco.