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Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder or surrounding pelvic region. People with IC usually have inflamed or irritated bladder walls which can cause scarring and stiffening of the bladder. Symptoms vary from case to case but may include any or all of the following: mild discomfort, frequent urination, urgency to urinate, pressure, tenderness, or intense pain in the bladder or pelvic region, severe lower abdominal pain that intensifies as the urinary bladder fills or empties. The cause(s) of IC is currently unknown. Its diagnosis is often made only after excluding other urinary or bladder causes. IC affects men and women of all cultures, socioeconomics and ages. However, it is more common in women than in men. Early prevalence research suggested that IC ranged from 1 in 100,000 to 5.1 in 100,000 in the general population but updated epidemiologic research conducted in 2006 suggests that up to 12% of women may have early symptoms of IC.

Current CDC IC Activities

The purpose of this IC program is to promote public awareness and partnership, provide IC education for the general public and for health care providers, and develop and enhance communication channels to improve interaction and information sharing among those with IC, advocates for persons with IC and their families, those who provide care and services for persons with IC, researchers, public health scientists, and the general public.

CDC and the Interstitial Cystitis Association, a voluntary patient organization is developing and implementing programs to enhance public awareness and health provider knowledge regarding interstitial cystitis. CDC is also promoting new partnerships, education, and communication at local and national levels regarding identifying interstitial cystitis, symptomatology, diagnosis, and referral to familial and health care provider support services.

CDC is also participating in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) workgroup to provide epidemiologic expertise and assistance in designing and evaluating a case definition development study for interstitial cystitis and to survey the population about symptoms related to interstitial cystitis.

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Page last modified: September 24, 2007
Content source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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