Bladder pain syndrome (BPS) is a chronic condition characterized by pelvic pain or pressure which is perceived to be originating from the bladder, accompanied by one or more urinary symptoms, including frequency, urgency and nocturia. The precise etiology of BPS is not fully understood. Chronic bacterial infection, defective glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer of the bladder urothelium, inappropriate activation of mast cells in the suburothelial layer of the bladder, autoimmune-mediated mechanisms and autonomic nervous system dysfunction have all been implicated. Treatments targeted at each of these mechanisms have been developed with mixed outcomes. High-quality research into the treatment options is lacking and it is difficult to draw definite conclusions. The treatment approach is multimodal and should be patient specific, targeting the symptoms which they find most bothersome. Conservative treatment, including patient education, behavioural modification, dietary advice, stress relief and physical therapy is an essential initial management strategy for all patients. If no response is observed, oral treatments such as amitriptyline are likely to offer the greatest response. Cystoscopy is essential to phenotype patients, and Hunner lesion directed therapy with fulguration or resection can be performed at the same time. Intravesical instillation of DMSO or lidocaine, detrusor injections of botulinum toxin A and neuromodulation can be used if initial management fails to improve symptoms. Oral cyclosporin can be trialled in those experienced with its use; however, it is associated with significant adverse events and requires intense monitoring. Lastly, radical surgery should be reserved for those with severe, unremitting BPS, in which quality of life is severely affected and not improved by previously mentioned interventions. Future work investigating exact aetiological factors will help target the development of efficacious treatment options, and several promising oral and intravesical treatments are emerging.
Research and reports in urology. 2020 Aug 18*** epublish ***
Josie Colemeadow, Arun Sahai, Sachin Malde
Department of Urology, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.