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Sensitivity to Pressure May Provide New Clues Regarding IC/BPS-Related Symptoms

Hellman KM, Patanwala IY, Pozolo KE, Tu FF. Multimodal nociceptive mechanisms underlying chronic pelvic pain. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug 20. pii: S0002-9378(15)00908-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.08.038. [Epub ahead of print]

In this study, researchers sought to evaluate how women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and/or chronic pelvic pain (CPP) responded to applied pressure. They used a measure called pressure pain thresholds, or PPTs, to determine how sensitive the patients were compared to women who were pain free. A total of 46 women with IC/BPS or CPP were enrolled, along with 42 control subjects who had no pain. Notably, women with CPP or IC/BPS had enhanced pain sensitivity, as demonstrated by a lower PPTs: their threshold for pain was on average just 1.18 kg/cm2, compared to 1.48 kg/cm2 for the pain-free women. This, along with related findings of the study, suggests that applying pressure could be a helpful way to quickly assess pelvic floor pain; however, longer-term investigations are needed to confirm and extend these findings.