First-Ever Guidelines Issued for IC/BPS

According to recent data, interstitial cystitis/ bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is more common than previously thought. The most up-to-date data suggest that 2.7% to 6.5% of adult women (about 3 to 8 million) in the United States have compatible symptoms. Of all patients with the condition, approximately 20% are male. IC/BPS has been linked to pain and discomfort that affects physical and psychosocial function, as well as quality of life. Compounding the problem is that IC/BPS is challenging to diagnose and treat, and no cure has been identified. In 2011, the American Urological Association (AUA) created the Guideline on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome. The document comes 12 years after the AUA first set out to develop IC/BPS guidelines. “After pulling together 300 or 400 articles in 1998, we decided we didn’t have enough information about the condition,” says Philip M. Hanno, MD, MPH, who chaired the group that created the AUA guideline. “In the last decade, researchers have found that IC/BPS is much more prevalent, and the time was right to provide clinicians with a framework to help treat these individuals.” Diagnosing IC/BPS IC/BPS symptoms are much like those of a urinary tract infection, but they are seen in people with negative urine cultures who do not experience improvement with antibiotic treatment and harbor no other gynecologic or confusable disease that would explain the symptoms. “Patients complain of pain that they perceive to be related to the bladder that is associated with at least one other symptom, which is most often urinary frequency or urgency,” explains Dr. Hanno. “IC/BPS pain is sometimes described by patients as...