How do women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome make treatment choices?

There is a relative lack of data regarding how patients weigh various factors when choosing a treatment strategy for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). Our aim is to describe patient experience with their current and prior treatments and discuss factors they consider when choosing a treatment.

Twenty-one women with IC/BPS participated in five focus groups moderated by a psychologist. Focus groups were conducted until thematic saturation was reached. Group discussions were transcribed and independently coded by two reviewers. Emergent themes and concepts were identified using grounded theory methodology. Data on symptoms and beliefs regarding medications were collected using validated questionnaires: Interstitial Cystitis Symptom and Problem Index (ICSI and ICPI) and Beliefs in Medications Questionnaire-Specific (BMQ-S).

The median age of participants was 42 years, and all had some college education. Median score (range) for the ICSI was 12 (4, 20) and for the ICPI was 10 (3, 16), indicating moderate symptom burden. Most patients had tried only first- or second-line treatments. The median BMQ-S score was 2, indicating a neutral attitude toward medication. Several themes were identified. Patients expressed interest in self-management of symptoms using a structured care plan that incorporates guided self-care practices and care that can be delivered virtually. Patients desired to minimize treatment side effects by reducing prescription medications and avoiding surgical procedures. Finally, patients had considerable interest in alternative treatments; however, they wanted these treatments to be evidence-based.

Women with IC/BPS have a strong interest in guided programs that teach self-care practices and deliver alternative treatments through remote platforms.

International urogynecology journal. 2021 Oct 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Daisy Hassani, Lorraine Flick, Hareena Sangha, Lily A Brown, Uduak Andy, Lily Arya

Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. ., Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

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