IC Awareness Month Daily Fact 21 - IC and Anxiety Disorder

Got Anxiety AND IC? You are not alone!

It might surprise you to learn that anxiety is a strongly related condition to IC and pelvic pain. It was the human genome project which made the connection. Researchers trying to determine which section of the human genome correlated with anxiety discovered that a large, distinct subgroup of anxiety patients also had interstitial cystitis. Urologists then confirmed that most of their IC patients also struggled with alarming levels of anxiety. Subsequent research studies now suggest that there is a genomic linkage between the two conditions.(1)(2)(3)

The end result is simple. Most IC patients struggle with varying levels of anxiety. Some report that they’ve always lived with anxiety disorder and/or that other members of their family also struggle with anxiety. Other patients report that their anxiety developed after the onset of their bladder symptoms, suggesting that pain, fear and insecurity about the future might be driving their symptoms. In either case, you certainly aren’t alone. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.(4)

But, when anxiety starts to dominate daily thoughts and/or prevents someone from receiving good health care or enjoying life, it’s time to do something about it. There’s no shame in having anxious thoughts but we each have the responsibility to learn anxiety management skills so that we can live a full life and don’t become isolated from family and friends. There are many resources that can help!


(1) Weissman MM. et al. Interstitial cystitis and panic disorder: a potential genetic syndrome. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;61(3):273-9.
(2) Chung KH, et al. Bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis is associated with anxiety disorder. Neurourol Urodyn. 2014 Jan;33(1):101-5.
(3) Subaran RL, et al. A survey of putative anxiety-associated genes in panic disorder patients with and without bladder symptoms. Psychiatr Genet. 2012 Dec;22(6):271-8
(4) What is Anxiety Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed June 19, 2014.

Living with IC Video on Anxiety

Additional Resources