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28-07-2013 | Urology | Article

IC/BPS work loss ‘needs attention’


Free abstract

medwireNews: Researchers say that more attention is needed to the detrimental impact of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) on women’s ability to work.

Their study, published in the Journal of Urology, showed that patients with the condition often worked in pain, had reduced productivity, and decreased quality of life with regard to work.

A US telephone survey of 146,231 households between 2007 and 2009 identified 2767 women under the age of 65 years with IC/BPS, 1637 (59.2%) of whom were working.

Overall, 11% of women who were not working said it was directly due to their condition, and 6% of those working part-time said it was the reason they did not work full-time.

Women in the study reported that in the prior month they had missed a half day of work on average because of their condition and worked 8 days while in pain.

The results showed that the greater impact symptoms had on quality of life, and the more depressive symptomatology women had, the bigger the impact on work loss and productivity.

For example, for each standard deviation increase in the RAND Bladder Symptom impact scale (BSI-6) score, women were 2.86-fold more likely to be kept from working by their condition. They were also nearly twice as likely to have missed work days in the past month and, among those who missed days of work, there was a 50% increase in the number of days missed.

And, although the median income of women with IC/BPS was comparable to that of their age group in the general population, the results indicated that the women had not experienced an increase in real-term income over the average 13 years from diagnosis to the study interview. Meanwhile, US women overall benefited from a 15% average increase in pay from 1998 to 2008.

The study authors, led by Megan Beckett (RAND Health, Santa Monica, California, USA), say their results show that IC/BPS “substantially and adversely effects work productivity.”

They add that patients with IC/BPS are faced with multiple challenges with regard to maintaining employment, including the need for constant bathroom access and fatigue from repeated nighttime waking, and they suggest that women may be unwilling to accept more responsibility if it could lead to decreased flexibility and increased stress.

“Clinical management of IC/BPS should involve providing patients with the psychosocial tools to improve coping and self-management of their condition, as well as focusing on effective pain management and treatment of urinary symptoms,” they conclude.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Kirsty Oswald, medwireNews Reporter