Is IC hereditary?

There does appear to be a genetic or familial pattern in IC. The first study to evaluate this connection was recently conducted at the University of Maryland, under the direction of John Warren, MD, and funded by the Fishbein Family Research Foundation. The findings indicate that there is a genetic component to IC. Dr. Warren and his team of researchers are continuing their investigation into this very important area. More studies point to a genetic pattern in IC, including a small study by ICA Pilot Research Program recipient, Dr. Kristina Allen-Brady.

Is IC a sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI)?

IC is not contagious and cannot be passed from one partner to another through intimate sexual contact.

Like other chronic illnesses, IC can pose challenges to sexuality and relationships. Watch the 2013 ICA Patient Forum session, A Time for Two: Intimacy, Sexuality, and IC, and download free ICA fact sheets on being intimate when you have IC and helpful intimacy products to learn more.

Is IC autoimmune? - I heard that 30% of IC patients develop lupus.

We do not know the cause of IC and are not sure how many patients with IC have autoimmune syndromes. The early epidemiologic study that looked at this showed the percentage was tiny; however, the percentage was high compared with the rate in people who don’t have IC. There are many different reasons that a patient may present with IC and other conditions. Read more about lupus and IC.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, Q & A: Finding Better Relief, featuring urogynecologist Barry Jarnagin, MD, and urologist Ragi Doggweiler, MD. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Please elaborate on the concept of an insult in chronic pelvic pain.

Many experts in IC, endometriosis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) believe that some insult probably starts the cascade of chronic pelvic pain. In IC, we believe that surgery, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and any kind of trauma to the pelvic floor may trigger the onset of symptoms. There may be some inflammatory condition that kicks off the cascade and starts this process. More research is needed to confirm these theories.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, Q & A: Finding Better Relief, featuring urogynecologist Barry Jarnagin, MD, and urologist Ragi Doggweiler, MD. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Does an abnormality in collagen contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction?

There are collagen differences related to genetics that predispose women to prolapse issues, but this is not the same condition as pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Here’s some additional information about PFD.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, Q & A: Finding Better Relief, featuring urogynecologist Barry Jarnagin, MD, and urologist Ragi Doggweiler, MD. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Is there a relationship between taking tetracycline long term and IC?

We do not know if there is an association between these medicines and IC. Many IC patients report having taken antibiotics for past sinus infections and/or recurrent UTIs; however, was it the recurrent infections or the antibiotics that triggered their IC? We do not yet know. It is also possible that it may be a combination of both.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, Q & A: Finding Better Relief, featuring urogynecologist Barry Jarnagin, MD, and urologist Ragi Doggweiler, MD. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Are there any connections between IC and prior use of Accutane?

At this time, we are not aware of any connections between IC and prior use of Accutane.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, Q & A: Finding Better Relief, featuring urogynecologist Barry Jarnagin, MD, and urologist Ragi Doggweiler, MD. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Do allergies play a role in aggravating IC?

Yes. Allergies cause the release histamine. In turn, histamine triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Thus, we commonly tell patients that if they tend to get significant seasonal allergies, they will commonly find that there IC symptoms will act up and flare during those seasons. This is also why anti-histamines are often used in the treatment of IC symptoms. Unlike antihistamines, IC patients with allergies should avoid decongestants (also used to treat allergies) because they can cause a further spasming of the smooth muscle of the bladder, making IC symptoms worse.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, IC’s Role in CAPPS, featuring Dr. Robert Echenberg. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

What is the role of athletics in patients who develop IC?

Just as there is a growing concern about concussions in young athletes, it is clear that there can be cumulative injury to the pelvic region due to playing sports. These injuries often occur repeatedly as these young athletes are told to “stretch it out”, or “play through the pain”. This type of inappropriate guidance is more likely at lower levels of competition due to the lack of “smart” training that generally occurs at the college level. There is growing knowledge that some of the disorders of the pelvic organs start to develop in young people as early as grade school. It is important to help young athletes to gain skills and knowledge to prevent and treat these injuries so they do not develop into chronic injuries later on.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, IC’s Role in CAPPS, featuring Dr. Robert Echenberg. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Are ureaplasma and mycoplasma connected to IC?

These two organisms are typically not found in the urine. There seems to be no direct connection between these unusual organisms and IC.

This question was answered in the ICA webinar, IC’s Role in CAPPS, featuring Dr. Robert Echenberg. View the webinar to learn more about this topic.

Revised Friday, July 10th, 2015