Many women with interstitial cystitis (IC) suffer frustration and emotional distress, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH).
The painful and often debilitating chronic condition occurs when the bladder lining becomes irritated and inflamed, causing symptoms such as: pain in the pelvis, bladder, back or thighs; increased need to urinate frequently or urgently; and pain during/after sexual intercourse.
The survey of 589 self-identified IC patients found that 95 percent felt frustrated dealing with the condition and its symptoms, and 85 percent said they'd been annoyed or angry, 75 percent reported feeling depressed, and 67 percent felt alone, isolated and embarrassed.
More than half (58 percent) of the respondents said it took a year or more for them to get an IC diagnosis, and 56 percent said they saw three or more health-care professionals before they were diagnosed.
"The face of IC is often hidden because its symptoms often masquerade as other pelvic conditions, making it challenging to accurately diagnose in a timely manner," NPWH President and CEO Susan Wysocki said in a prepared statement.
The group has declared Oct. 31 as the first annual U.S. National Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Day, to help increase public knowledge about the condition.