Purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the presence of nonbladder sensory abnormalities in participants with overactive bladder syndrome (OAB).
Materials and methods: Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network (LURN) study participants with OAB symptoms and controls were recruited from 6 U.S. tertiary referral centers. Quantitative sensory testing (QST) was performed to determine pressure pain sensitivity at the thumbnail bed and auditory sensitivity. Fixed and mixed effect multivariable linear regressions and Weibull models were used to compare QST responses between groups. Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between QST measures. Associations between QST and self-reported symptoms were explored with linear regression.
Results: A total of 297 participants were analyzed (191 OAB, 106 controls; 76% white, 51% male). OAB cases were older than controls (57.4 vs 52.2 years, p=0.015). No significant differences in experimental thumbnail (nonbladder) pain or auditory sensitivity were detected between OAB cases and controls. Correlations between pressure and auditory derived metrics were weak to moderate overall for both groups, with some significantly stronger correlations for cases. Exploratory analyses indicated increased pressure pain and auditory sensitivity were modestly associated with greater self-reported bladder pain and pain interference with physical function.
Conclusions: As a group, no significant differences between OAB cases and controls were observed in experimental nonbladder pain or auditory sensitivity during QST. Associations between QST outcomes and clinical pain raise the possibility of centrally mediated sensory amplification in some individuals with OAB.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02485808.
Keywords: auditory perception; central nervous system sensitization; pain perception; pain threshold, pain measurement.