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Interstitial cystitis (IC) affects both women and men—and both girls and boys. Though IC has traditionally been considered a “women’s” disease, men also get IC. For both sexes, many of the challenges are similar, even with regard to intimacy-related pain.

But men with IC face challenges of their own. The IC diagnosis is often missed because IC is less common in men than in women, and its symptoms overlap with those of more common conditions in men. In addition, men face their own obstacles in IC and pelvic pain control.

IC symptoms in men are similar to those experienced by women: pelvic pain, urinary urgency, and urinary frequency. But these symptoms overlap with conditions that are more common in men, especially chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), and also urinary tract and prostate infection and benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate enlargement.

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Male Pelvic Pain Quick Facts

• International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.

• Chronic pelvic pain in men is termed prostatodynia. It may include symptoms originating from the prostate, bladder, groin or perineum. Pain persists for at least 2 weeks of every month for a period of at least 6 months.

• Primary pelvic pain may be associated with one or more of the numerous structures present in the pelvis.

• Pelvic pain can have many contributing factors making it difficult to treat effectively.

• Up to 4 million men in the U.S. are affected.