ZocdocAnswersHow are interstitial cystitis and fibromyalgia related?

Question

How are interstitial cystitis and fibromyalgia related?

I am a young woman (28) living with fibromyalgia and I'm trying to put together an understanding of how this is affecting my general health. Is there a relationship between my fibromyalgia and the diagnosis I just got of interstitial cystitis? Is it harder to treat or more likely to return?

Answer

As you are probably already aware, fibromyalgia a common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Unfortunately, the cause of the pain is still unknown and the disease as a whole is very poorly understood. Physicians that treat fibromyalgia include primary care doctors (such as family physicians and internal medicine doctors), neurologists and rheumatologists. Population research has shown that patients with fibromyalgia are more likely to also receive a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis. The link between these two syndromes are unknown and unclear. It is also unknown if treatment of fibromyalgia will help symptoms of interstitial cystitis. As of right now, there is no evidence that having both will make either harder to treat. It just means that you will likely need closer medical attention. Other syndromes that tend to occur with fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis include irritable bowel syndrome and chronic unexplained pelvic pain. I suggest you schedule an appointment with the physician that has been treating your fibromyalgia. Discuss how treatment for your fibromyalgia will work together with treatment for your interstitial cystitis. Hopefully your doctor will find medications that can treat both reducing the number of pills you have to take. With the right combination of therapies, I think you will soon get some relief. Good luck.

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