Hypersensitive bladder: a solution to confused terminology and ignorance concerning interstitial cystitis

Int J Urol. 2014 Apr;21 Suppl 1:43-7. doi: 10.1111/iju.12314.


Taxonomy or nomenclature concerning interstitial cystitis and its related symptom syndromes is in a state of confusion. After analyzing the reasons for confusion in regard to three components (disease name, symptoms, Hunner's lesion), I would like to propose a new term, "hypersensitive bladder", taking after overactive bladder, as a solution. Hypersensitive bladder symptoms are defined as "increased bladder sensation, usually associated with urinary frequency and nocturia, with or without bladder pain." The proposal of hypersensitive bladder is based on: (i) it does not appear a symptom syndrome, but a disease by ending with an organ name, "bladder"; (ii) it does not contain confusable symptom terms (pain and urgency), but indicates irritative symptoms including pain and urgency; and (iii) it suggests pathophysiological hyperactivity of sensory nerves. Interstitial cystitis is defined by three requirements: (i) hypersensitive bladder symptoms; (ii) bladder pathology; and (iii) no other diseases, where bladder pathology should be clearly stated either as Hunner's lesion or glomerulations after hydrodistention. Hypersensitive bladder can be used for the condition with hypersensitive bladder symptoms, but no obvious disease explaining hypersensitive bladder symptoms identified. Interstitial cystitis is a representative disease causing hypersensitive bladder symptoms, most typically with pain, but might be painless and indistinguishable from overactive bladder. Introducing hypersensitive bladder as a counter concept of overactive bladder into bladder dysfunction taxonomy will facilitate clinical practice and research progress, and attract considerable attention from the medical world.

Keywords: hypersensitivity; interstitial cystitis; pain; urgency; urinary bladder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / complications
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / diagnosis
  • Cystitis, Interstitial* / physiopathology
  • Cystoscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms* / classification
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms* / diagnosis
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms* / etiology
  • Pelvic Pain / etiology
  • Pelvic Pain / physiopathology
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Ulcer / diagnosis
  • Ulcer / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder* / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder* / physiopathology
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive* / complications
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive* / physiopathology