Does central sensitization help explain idiopathic overactive bladder?

Nat Rev Urol. 2016 Aug;13(8):481-91. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2016.95. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) can include dysfunction of sensory pathways of the peripheral and central nervous systems, resulting in bladder hypersensitivity. Central sensitization describes an induced state of spinal hypersensitivity that is associated with a variety of chronic pain disorders that share many attributes with OAB, albeit without the presence of pain. As such, the concept of central sensitization might be relevant to understanding the mechanisms and clinical manifestations of OAB syndrome. An understanding of the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of central sensitization, and the evidence that supports a role of central sensitization in OAB, including the potential implications of mechanisms of central sensitization for the treatment of patients with OAB could provide a novel approach to the treatment of patients with this disease. Such an approach would be especially relevant to those patients with central sensitization-related comorbidities, and has the potential to improve the outcomes of these patients in particular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / physiopathology*