Interstitial cystitis (“IC”) is a very painful condition caused characterized by an inflammation in the lining of the bladder. The pain and urinary difficulties associated with this condition can interfere with every aspect of your life. Often the severe pain, frequent urination and the pervasive disturbance of life activities that this condition causes can lead to anxiety. Diagnosis of IC can be a difficult and time consuming process. It is a diagnosis of exclusion in that your doctor must first exclude other possible causes for your pain and urinary frequency.
The regulations do not specifically address IC in the listing of impairments. However, the symptoms of your IC could be considered as meeting or equaling another condition covered under the listing. The pain and frequent urination associated with IC could be considered severe enough to cause you disabling limitations of function such as the need to take frequent unscheduled breaks and interruptions to concentration sufficient to frequently interrupt tasks throughout the work day.
It is best for your case if you are diagnosed and treated by a specialist in this condition, a urologist. Only a specialist can adequately eliminate the other potential causes for your pain and frequent urination in order to arrive at a proper diagnosis of IC. Also, a urologist might be able to provide you with treatment that would alleviate a good portion of your symptoms. Bladder distensions in particular provide some people with temporary relief. You should try every solution offered to you by a urologist. In the best case scenario you might find some lasting relief for your symptoms. In the worst case scenario you will have a treating specialist who can attest to the fact that you have tried everything to help yourself. You should keep a log of the number of times a day you need to use the bathroom and share that with your urologist.
Unfortunately, there are still some physicians, even urologist, who do not believe that the symptoms of IC could ever be enough to disable a person. If you have a doctor who does not believe you are truly in pain, find another doctor.
IC is often comorbid with anxiety. No one really knows if anxiety is part of the cause of IC or just another one of its painful effects. However, if you have anxiety you should also seek treatment for that problem with a mental health care provider. A mental health care provider might be able to share strategies with you to help you cope with the constant pain but is also another witness for us to testify to the way it affects your ability to focus and concentrate.