Objectives: Bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis, a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder, is the source of pain in over 30% of female patients with chronic pelvic pain. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the most frequent associations between bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis and gynecological disorders.
Methods: A literature review of the previous 10 years was carried out to evaluate the incidence of gynecological diseases in patients with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis.
Results: Hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction with associated voiding dysfunction can be present in bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis patients. It has been estimated that the prevalence ranges from 50% to 87%. Endometriosis affects 1-7% of the general population and up to 70% of women with endometriosis have some type of pain symptoms, a recent systematic review estimated the prevalence of bladder pain syndrome to be 61%, of endometriosis to be 70%, and coexisting bladder pain syndrome and endometriosis to be 48%. Vulvodynia is represented by pain, or an unpleasant altered sensation, in the vulva. Women with vestibulodynia are likely to have other additional pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome. Recent data reported that vestibulodynia affects 25% of women with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis.
Conclusions: Bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis is a complex pathology often associated with vulvodynia, endometriosis and pelvic floor dysfunctions. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to obtain an accurate evaluation ruling out confusable disease, such as pudendal neuropathy. The optimal approach is a combined treatment oriented not only to treat the bladder, but also the other components responsible for the pain disorder.
Keywords: bladder pain syndrome; endometriosis; hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction; interstitial cystitis; vulvodynia.
© 2014 The Japanese Urological Association.