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Tahireh Markert, BA




HMS MD Student




Medical Student/Research Assistant


Obstetrics & Gynecology


Tahireh Markert, Alexa Courtepatte, Farah Subrina, Jeannine Miranne

Incidence of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Before the COVID-19 Pandemic versus During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This project has been conducted by an all-female research team at BWH. I’m a medical student at HMS planning to apply into OB/GYN this fall and am particularly interested in surgical gyn research. I’ve taken an extra research year during medical school to give dedicated time to research, as I hope it will be a substantial part of my future career. As a woman interested in pursuing women’s health, I think opportunities like WMSS where we can elevate female scientists and clinicians, while simultaneously creating a space to connect with female mentors who have faced similar challenges, are crucial.


Little is known about the epidemiology of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS). We aim to compare the incidence of newly diagnosed IC/BPS cases prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of women ≥ 18 years newly diagnosed with IC/BPS by Urogynecologists between 3/2019 and 3/2021. Patients were identified using ICD-10 codes for IC/BPS and its associated symptoms and CPT codes for treatment. The primary outcome was the incidence of new IC/BPS cases from 3/1/2019-2/29/2020 (pre-pandemic) compared with 3/1/2020-2/28/2021 (during pandemic).


54 patients were diagnosed with IC/BPS during the first year of the pandemic compared with 40 patients the year prior (p=0.0051). The median age was 35.5. 72% were premenopausal, 75% sexually active, and 31% had anxiety, and these characteristics did not significantly differ between groups. Although the absolute number of new diagnoses during the pandemic was higher as compared with the year prior, the trend in diagnosis rates was not statistically different between groups on interrupted time series analysis. 


Although more patients were diagnosed with IC/BPS during the first year of the pandemic compared with the preceding year, this difference may be secondary to random variations which occur over time.