• Quality of Life;
  • Interstitial Cystitis;
  • Painful Bladder Syndrome;
  • Female Sexual Dysfunction


Introduction.  Sexual functioning is one of the strongest predictors of poorer quality of life (QOL) in patients diagnosed with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS).

Aims.  To examine the relationship between symptom reduction and sexual functioning in patients with IC/PBS.

Methods.  Patients with IC/PBS were treated with 300 mg/day pentosan polysulfate sodium for 32 weeks.

Main Outcome Measures.  Patients completed the O'Leary–Sant Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Index, Short Form-12 QOL, and Medical Outcomes Study Sexual Functioning Scale at baseline, and at 8, 16, 24, and 32 weeks. Treatment responders were defined as those achieving a ≥30% reduction in symptom index from baseline.

Results.  A total of 128 patients were included in the analyses. At baseline, mean symptom index, QOL (physical and mental), and sexual functioning scores were 12.3, 41.7, 45.9, and 56.1, respectively. Patients showed statistically significant improvement in symptom and sexual functioning scores at weeks 8, 16, 24, and 32. At week 32, the mean change in symptom index score from baseline was –2.97 (standard deviation [SD] = 4.66, P < 0.0001), and the mean change in sexual functioning score from baseline was 8.9 (SD = 32.9, P = 0.0054). Reduction in symptom index score was moderately correlated with improvement in sexual functioning score at the end of study (r = –35, P = 0.0002). Positive correlation was observed at the end of the study between the mean change scores of sexual functioning score and physical and mental QOL components (r = 0.46, P < 0.0001 and r = 0.29, P = 0.0023, respectively). Patients achieving a ≥30% reduction in symptom index (responder, N = 47; 44%) had an adjusted mean change in sexual functioning score of 19.8 (standard error [SE] = 4.69), while nonresponders (N = 59, 56%) had an adjusted mean change –0.49 (SE = 4.17) (between groups, P = 0.0020).

Conclusions.  Sexual dysfunction is moderate to severe in patients with IC/PBS and impacts significantly on QOL. Reduction in symptoms was associated with improvement in the patient-reported outcomes of sexual function. Nickel JC, Parsons CL, Forrest J, Kaufman D, Evans R, Chen A, Wan G, and Xiao XY. Improvement in sexual functioning in patients with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. J Sex Med 2008;5:394–399.