Men with IC struggle for Recognition
Of the nearly 1 million Americans with IC, an estimated 10% are male. While IC in general may not generate a lot of attention, male IC patients get even less attention than their female counterparts while their suffering is the same. One of the biggest challenges any IC patient faces is getting a correct diagnosis. This is especially true for male patients who often hear a diagnosis of prostatitis before anything else.
Dr. Stanley Antolak, founder and director of the Center for Urologic and Pelvic Pain in Lake Elmo, Minn., pointed to a study released a few years ago by Roberts and Krieger showing that 95% of men diagnosed with prostatitis have no evidence of infection or inflammation. Staggering numbers, indeed. While getting diagnosis of IC as a man can be at least as challenging as it is for a woman, it is certainly not impossible. Doctors like Antolak and Shoskes are proof that urologists are listening to male complaints and taking them seriously. Shokes encourages patients to find a caring doctor and be honest with him.
“The one important thing is to build a relationship with the physician who has an interest in your condition and who you can trust”, he said. “[And] it’s important that when symptoms arise that everything is not just attributed to IC or pelvic pain. Any new symptom deserves at least a history and physical with afresh of eyes considering new diagnoses”.