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Tahireh Markert



Job Title

medical student

Academic Rank


Obstetrics and Gynecology


Tahireh Markert, Alexa Courtepatte, Jeannine Miranne

Principal Investigator

Jeannine Miranne, MD, MS

Research Category: Women's Health, Sex-Differences and Gender Biology


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

Scientific Abstract

Objectives: To compare the incidence of newly diagnosed Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS) cases and IC/BPS flares prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of women ≥ 18 years who were newly diagnosed with IC/BPS or treated for an IC/BPS flare between 3/2019 and 3/2021. The primary outcome was the incidence of IC/BPS cases from 3/1/2019-2/29/2020 (pre-pandemic) compared with 3/1/2020-2/28/2021 (during pandemic). The secondary outcome was the number of IC/BPS flares during this time.
Results: 54 women were diagnosed with IC/BPS during year one of the pandemic compared with 40 the year prior (p=0.0051). The median age was 35.0. 72% were premenopausal, 75% sexually active, and 31% had anxiety. These characteristics did not significantly differ between groups. Although the absolute number of new diagnoses increased during the pandemic, the trend in diagnosis rates was not statistically different between groups. 35 patients experienced flares during the pandemic compared with 49 patients the year prior (p=0.43).
Conclusions: Although more patients were diagnosed with IC/BPS during the first year of the pandemic compared with the year prior, this difference may be secondary to random variations that occur over time.

Lay Abstract

Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS) is a chronic condition that is characterized by pain or discomfort located in the bladder or pelvis that usually occurs and worsens with bladder filling and improves with bladder emptying. Patients with this condition typically have symptoms of urinary frequency and/or urgency, and nocturia. These symptoms can recur over time leading to episodes of pain and irritative voiding symptoms known as flares which vary in length and severity. Stress can precipitate or exacerbate IC/BPS symptoms. This study aims to determine whether the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic potentially resulted in an increase in IC/BPS new diagnoses and flares compared to prior years.

In this study we found that more patients were newly diagnosed with IC/BPS during the first year of the pandemic compared with the preceding year. However, when adjusting for trends in diagnosis rates over time, this difference was not statistically significant. There were less flares reported during the pandemic as compared with the year prior; however, this difference was not statistically significant.

Clinical Implications

IC/BPS is an understudied condition, and our results add to the literature about the population of IC/BPS patients and about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on other areas of health.