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Bladder Pain Linked to Changes in Brain Function

Sadler KE, Kolber BJ. Urine trouble: Alterations in brain function associated with bladder pain. J Urol. 2016 Feb 20. pii: S0022-5347(16)00365-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.10.198. [Epub ahead of print]

The authors of this review article explain a complex network that involves many different areas of the brain that influences and modifies the bladder pain often experienced by patients with chronic conditions including interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). The review was based on a comprehensive literature search for studies in animals and humans that looked at a variety of brain areas implicated in bladder pain. Most notably, the researchers found and summarized research related to the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, cerebral cortex, and several other areas, each of which are associated with molecular and functional changes that occur relative to bladder pain. It’s hoped that new treatment strategies can be developed based on a more thorough study of these regions of the brain and the changes that occur as patients go from acute to chronic bladder pain.