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Melody Thomas Scott Speaks Out
About IC

Melody Thomas Scott and Dr. Donnica in NYC to raise awareness about IC, 7/05.

For 26 years, she's played one of the ultimate survivors of daytime television - Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless.

In real life, actress Melody Thomas Scott has endured her own personal drama, dealing with the painful bladder condition, interstitial cystitis or IC.

Melody's story is filled with the pain and frustration shared by millions of other IC sufferers, including men and women. Like many, she repeatedly sought answers, and was even told that the pain was probably psychological.

"I started experiencing these symptoms - pelvic pain, which was getting worse and worse, and an urgent need to go to the bathroom many times a day. I know now that these are all typical symptoms of IC, but back then I had never even heard of this condition. I just knew that I had to get help. The pain was getting unbearable."

Chronic Pelvic Pain and IC: Hard to Diagnose

Melody is not alone. Recent guidelines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology state that IC is a common disorder causing chronic pelvic pain, which affects about nine million women. Many of these women may suffer from IC, a medical condition in which the bladder lining becomes inflamed.

"When I first went to the doctor, I was most concerned about the pain. So, of course, they thought it was something gynecological. But they found nothing that could explain it, which is when it was suggested that the pain could be 'in my head.' As you can imagine, I was shocked and angry that my pain was characterized this way."

Due in part to misinterpreted symptoms and misdiagnoses, it can take four years or more from symptom onset - and many visits to multiple physicians - to achieve a correct diagnosis. Melody's pain became unbearable, leaving her frustrated, depressed and affecting her work and personal relationships.

From Diagnosis To Symptom Relief

Melody consulted doctor after doctor, and so began the frustrating search for a diagnosis. She finally consulted a urologist who was able to diagnose her with IC. He prescribed an oral medication for the relief of bladder pain or discomfort associated with IC.

"It was such a relief just to get a diagnosis and be treated effectively. Others aren't so lucky. For some, getting a correct diagnosis can take a number of years, and many visits to different doctors. And, we don't even know how many more people could be suffering undiagnosed. That's why I wanted to come forward with my story to help get the word out about IC, and help others end their pain and frustration."

In addition to taking oral medication, Melody watches her diet, avoiding potentially bladder irritating foods, like orange juice and caffeine. Today, six years after diagnosis, she is virtually symptom-free and, importantly, free from the chronic pelvic pain that was making her life miserable.

A simple symptom questionnaire (PUF questionnaire) is available to help your doctor, along with a few other tests, determine if you may have IC. Use this tool, and talk to your doctor about whether your symptoms could be due to IC.

The PUF questionnaire plus additional educational materials are available online at www.AllAboutIC.com.

For more information about bladder problems, click here.

Created: 7/20/2005  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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