"We used data from this study to see whether having a greater number of flares independently impacted patients’ quality of life as well as their healthcare seeking activity," said Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD, ScM, MHS.
In this interview, Siobhan Sutcliffe, PhD, ScM, MHS, shares findings from the recent study, “Association between urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome symptom flares, illness impact, and health care seeking activity: findings from the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Symptom Patterns study.” Sutcliffe is a professor of surgery and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri.
What we did is we used data from the—this was a long name for a study—the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain, or MAPP, Symptom Pattern study, which followed just over 600 patients with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome or chronic prostatitis/ chronic pelvic pain syndrome. We used data from this study to see whether having a greater number of flares independently impacted patients’ quality of life, which we measured with a typical questionnaire for this condition, as well as their healthcare seeking activity.
We did the analysis a few different ways. What we wanted to see was if we compared individuals who had lots of flares, which you can see over here on the right, to individuals who had either a similar level of pain when they weren't having flares, or a similar average level of pain. If you look at the bottom model, over on the right, you have somebody who has a lot of flares, and let's just say their average pain across all of these flares is a 4, we wanted to compare them to somebody who had pretty constant symptoms, but their average pain was approximately a 4.
A pretty non-surprising finding that we found was that individuals who had lots of flares had worse quality of life and were more likely to contact their health care provider than somebody who had many fewer flares, but a similar non-flare pain intensity. That wasn't a very surprising finding. What did surprise us though, was that even when we compared individuals who had lots of flares to individuals who had very few flares, but a similar average pain intensity, so just the fact that they were bouncing around and sometimes even had the better symptoms, that state was associated with worse quality of life and greater healthcare seeking activity.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.