Interstitial Cystitis (IC/BPS) affects men of all ages, from high school students to seniors, air force pilots to Hollywood actors. Many, if not most, have been misdiagnosed with chronic prostatitis, often for years, before they receive a correct diagnosis. You might also be surprised to learn that IC/BPS has been tracked in high numbers in active duty military personnel returning from Iraq & Afghanistan.
In 2013, the results of the RAND epidemiological study determined that up to four million men in the USA have symptoms of IC/BPS, roughly double those diagnosed with prostate disorders. It is real and it is treatable. (Source: Suskind, A., et al. The Prevalence and Overlap of IC/BPS and CP/CPOS in Men. The Journal of Urology, v. 189, no. 1, Jan. 2013, p. 141-145)
Dr. Robert Evans (Wake Forest University, Greensboro NC) has treated men with IC/BPS for the past twenty years and has passionately spoken on their behalf. He said that the majority of men diagnosed with chronic prostatitis may, in fact, be misdiagnosed and mistreated IC patients. He said “If those patients who were told they have prostatitis and didn’t respond to antibiotics or told they have prostatodynia (prostate pain) were studied, the vast majority of them… would have IC.” Sadly, many physicians simply do not consider nor go beyond the prostate to examine the health of the bladder.
Men also face the same obstacles that women do. Some report that they have been treated with hostility by their medical care providers, particularly if they ask for pain relief. Men may also struggle with family criticism and a spouse who may not believe they are in pain. Men can also become lonely and isolated because they may be unwilling to share their struggles with friends and colleagues.
In our 2014, we continue our advocacy for men struggling with IC/BPS. You are not alone. We are here. We care! We’d love to hear your stories.