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Papers: 8 Jun 2024 - 14 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 11

Urol Int


A hypothesis for anatomical pathways of chronic pelvic pain “of unknown origin”.


Petros P, Papadimitriou J, Bornstein J


Background Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is a disabling bladder condition. ESSIC, the IC/BPS society defines two types of IC/BPS: with Hunner’s lesion (HL) and without. Pathogenesis is stated as unknown, with no cure possible. Scheffler in 2021 reported cystoscopically validated cure of HL IC/BPS by repair of uterosacral ligaments (USL) and in 2022, Goeschen reported non-HL IC/BPS cure in 198 women following USL repair. Both Scheffler and Goeschen hypothesized IC/BPS may be a phenotype of the Integral Theory’s Posterior Fornix Syndrome “PFS” (chronic pelvic pain, OAB and emptying dysfunctions) and therefore potentially curable. Summary The hypothesis explores whether visceral plexuses (VP), due to weakened uterosacral ligaments support, serve as a primary source of pelvic pain impulses, leading to development of an inflammatory condition – for example, Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome, a chronic inflammatory condition, which shares similarities with vulvodynia and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). According to our hypothesis, such conditions involve axon reflexes. Stimuli such as gravity applied to unsupported nerve branches within the visceral pelvic plexus, trigger centrally propagating impulses, which then progress antidromally to influence innervated tissues through cytokine release and nociceptor stimulation, perpetuating inflammatory processes at the end organs, and pain perception. Key messages The hypothesis raises the question, “are IC/BPS, vulvodynia, other pain sites, even non-bacterial “chronic prostatitis” in the male, different phenotypes of the chronic pelvic pain syndrome which includes PFS. If so, the hypothesis opens several new research directions, and would predict inflammatory findings in tender endorgan pain sites.