Prevalence of autoimmune disorders among bladder pain syndrome patients' relatives.

Possible genetic background and autoimmune etiology of Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS, formerly Interstitial Cystitis, IC) has been suggested. We studied whether familial clustering of BPS, other autoimmune diseases or fibromyalgia exist among BPS patients' genetically close relatives; possibly reflecting some common predisposing genetic background of these diseases.

Altogether 420 first- or second-degree relatives of 94 BPS patients fulfilling the NIDDK criteria were asked to fill in a survey on the self-reported diagnosis of urinary tract diseases, fibromyalgia and 23 autoimmune diseases, together with filling the O'Leary-Sant symptom score. The ones with high symptom scores were interviewed and, if necessary, referred to a further clinical consultation. The prevalence of other diseases was compared to previously published prevalence percentages.

334 (80%) of 420 family members returned the questionnaire. Only one of the relatives fulfilled the NIDDK criteria, and one sibling pair among the original BPS patients was found. Asthma, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, iritis and rheumatoid arthritis were more common in the study population than in the reference populations. The reported prevalence of atopic dermatitis and rhinoconjunctivitis causing allergies were lower. In addition, the results show that the O'Leary-Sant symptom score is not reliable in screening for new BPS cases.

Our study suggests that in BPS patients' families, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases including asthma, and especially the non-allergic form of asthma, may be over-represented.

Scandinavian journal of urology. 2020 Sep 23 [Epub ahead of print]

Minna M Kujala, Teuvo L Tammela, Antti Pöyhönen, Tapio Forsell, Susanna Pasanen, Ilkka Paananen, Antero Horte, Mikael Leppilahti, Jukka Sairanen

Department of Urology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland., Department of Urology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland., Centre for Military Medicine, The Finnish Defense Forces, Riihimäki, Finland., Department of Surgery, Kotka Central Hospital, Kotka, Finland., Pihlajalinna Koskiklinikka, Tampere, Finland., Department of Urology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland., Department of Urology, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland., Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.