Prevalence and Correlates of Sexual Dysfunction Among Women with Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis

Published in: Urology, v. 77, no. 3, Mar. 2011, p. 576-580

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Laura M. Bogart, Marika Booth, Marc N. Elliott, J. Quentin Clemens, Sandra H. Berry

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OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence and correlates of general and bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC)-specific sexual dysfunction among women in the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology study using a probability sample survey of U.S. households. Sexual dysfunction can contribute to a reduced quality of life for women with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC). METHODS: We telephoned 146 231 households to identify women who reported bladder symptoms or a BPS/IC diagnosis. Those who reported either underwent a second-stage screening using the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology study high-specificity symptom criteria. The criteria were pain, pressure, or discomfort in pelvic area; daytime urinary frequency >10 times or urgency due to pain, pressure, or discomfort (not fear of wetting); pain that worsened as the bladder filled; bladder symptoms did not resolve after antibiotic treatment; and patients never treated with hormone injections for endometriosis. Women who met the RAND Interstitial Cystitis Epidemiology criteria (n = 1469) completed measures of BPS/IC-specific and general sexual dysfunction symptoms, bladder symptom severity, general physical health, depression, medical care-seeking, and sociodemographic characteristics. RESULTS: Of those with a current sexual partner (75%), 88% reported >1 general sexual dysfunction symptom and 90% reported >1 BPS/IC-specific sexual dysfunction symptom in the past 4 weeks. In the multivariate models, BPS/IC-specific sexual dysfunction was significantly associated with more severe BPS/IC symptoms, younger age, worse depression symptoms, and worse perceived general health. Multivariate correlates of general sexual dysfunction included non-Latino race/ethnicity, being married, and having depression symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study have shown that women with BPS/IC symptoms experience very high levels of sexual dysfunction. Also, sexual dysfunction covaries with symptoms.

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