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An Overview of Interstitial Cystitis and Qualifying for Disability Benefits


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10/22/2015
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If you suffer from interstitial cystitis, you understand that the condition is more than just the inconvenience of needing to urinate frequently. The effects of the condition can create substantial hardships in your personal and professional lives. The good news for those diagnosed with this condition is that help may be available. This help can come in the form of Social Security disability benefits.

What Is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is caused by chronic inflammation of the wall of the bladder. The condition is also sometimes referred to as painful bladder syndrome. The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine in the body. It is designed to expand until it is full, and then signals your brain that it is time to urinate. This communication occurs through the pelvic nerves. People suffering from this condition experience pain and changes in their urination. When a person has interstitial cystitis, the signals get mixed up, making people feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than in healthy people. Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that can result in pain ranging from mild to severe. These effects can be significantly disabling. Women are most often affected by this condition. Unfortunately, it can also have long-lasting negative impacts on a person’s overall quality of life.

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis can result in many disabling symptoms for people suffering from the condition. Common symptoms include the following:

  1. Pain in the pelvis
  2. Pain during sex
  3. Discomfort during urination
  4. Increased urge to urinate
  5. Frequent urination

Most people interstitial cystitis experience periods of flare-ups followed by periods of remission, where there are no symptoms at all. These flare-ups can have many potential causes, such as:

  1. Menstruation
  2. Exercise
  3. Sex
  4. Stress
  5. Sitting for extended periods of time

If a person suffers from interstitial cystitis for a prolonged period, he or she may experience a reduced ability for the bladder to hold urine. Sufferers may also experience sleep disturbances as a result to the constant need to urinate. In addition, people with chronic interstitial cystitis may experience depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and negative affects on their personal relationships. While there is no cure for the condition, there are various treatments available. These treatment options may include changing the diet, taking pain medications, taking antidepressants, and taking antihistamines. As with any medication, however, the treatments for interstitial cystitis can lead to side effects of their own, such as drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and fatigue.

Proving You Suffer From Interstitial Cystitis

For people with interstitial cystitis, Social Security disability benefits may provide much-needed financial relief. In order to obtain these benefits, sufferers must prove that they have the condition. Unfortunately, interstitial cystitis is a “diagnosis by elimination” condition. This means that there is no one definitive test alone that can confirm you have the condition. Instead, doctors must perform tests to rule out other causes in order to arrive at a diagnosis for interstitial cystitis. When applying for disability benefits, you must show that you have some or all of the following symptoms, and that there is no other explanation for the symptoms:

  1. Frequent urge to urinate or urination
  2. Pain in the bladder and pelvis
  3. Tenderness in the pelvic area on physical examination
  4. Pinpoint bleeding on the bladder wall caused by reoccurring irritation after a cystoscopy
  5. Hunner’s ulcers on the bladder wall after a cystoscopy

During the process of arriving at a diagnosis, physicians will administer various tests. These tests may include urinalysis, urine culture, urine cytology, cystoscopy, and biopsy of the bladder wall. You will also need to show your medical history, notes from your physical examinations, and other test results when applying for disability benefits.

While there is not a specific blue book listing for the impairment of interstitial cystitis, sufferers can still qualify for disability benefits by meeting a listing for a related condition, showing your condition is equivalent in severity to another, similar listing, or by showing that you have multiple impairments in addition to your interstitial cystitis that, when combined, are as severe as one of the listings.

When you are unable to work as a result of interstitial cystitis, the emotional, physical, and financial strain is very real. Disability benefits can provide much needed relief. To maximize your chances for obtaining the benefits you deserve, we encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 888-904-6847.



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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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