A reader emailed me her story about interstitial cystitis and how she has learned that it is probably connected to being sexually abused in the past. As you'll see below, she quotes statistics that show that as many as 90 percent of women with IC have been abused in this way. I found her story to be so interesting and I was so impressed with her bravery that I wanted to post it here under my name so others could learn from her. I think the connection between IC and sexual abuse makes complete sense. She is continuing to seek out treatments that will help her and I know that with her courageous attitude she will heal. Here is her post--she and I would both be very interested in your thoughts on what she is going through:
"I have had IC for over 25 years. It first occurred during my freshman semester at college. I started waking up and going to the bathroom several times during the night. It is amazing to me now, to remember that the priest who had abused me during the previous two years was the one who drove me to the doctor. It took me years to put the two together. After researching the best doctors I could find, and trying to understand why I still have this condition, I found a doctor in Baltimore and one in Richmond, VA who both acknowledged that a very high percentage of women who have IC have been sexually abused. It may be as high as 90 percent. Although,I am sharing this with you, it is something I rarely tell anyone. Doctors tend to chuckle about IC and psychological diagnoses. I am a therapist myself, and they even admitted that I was an unusual case in that there was no obvious psychiatric diagnosis. I was actually relieved to find a connection after so many years of suspecting that there was one. I would feel a depressive surge often times when I felt the urge to urinate. Seems really strange, but it continued and (only 25 years later) I found some doctors who had come to the same conclusion and told me how high the percentages were. Now, I am left with a complicated dilemma, trying to heal myself. None of the treatments that are used for IC have helped me much. I wake up after much interrupted sleep, with lower back pain, and burning in my bladder. My case, from what I hear, is probably mild in the whole spectrum of things. I have wondered if I learned a way to forgive, would my bladder heal itself, or is the tissue memory of such abuse able to turn its effects around. I don't know if you have heard any other stories like this. I tend to shy away from a larger group discussion since the rest of my life is good. I have a great husband, children and career. I don't like to focus on the negative and just want to figure out how to heal this, since it's so chronically annoying. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated."
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