Limited research suggests commonalities between urological chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS) and other nonurological chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs) including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome. The goal of this case-control study was to examine similarities and differences between UCPPS and these other COPCs.
Materials and Methods:
As part of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain Research (MAPP) Network, we examined 1039 individuals with UCPPS (n=424), nonurological COPCs (n=200), and healthy controls (HCs; n=415). Validated standardized measures were used to assess urological symptoms, nonurological pain symptoms, and psychosocial symptoms and traits.
Participants with UCPPS had more urological symptoms than nonurological COPCs or HCs (P<0.001); nonurological COPC group also had significantly worse urological symptoms than HCs (P<0.001). Participants with nonurological COPCs reported more widespread pain than those with UCPPS (P<0.001), yet both groups had similarly increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, negative affect, perceived stress, neuroticism, and lower levels of extraversion than HCs (P<0.001). Participants with UCPPS with and without COPCs reported more catastrophizing than those with nonurological COPCs (P<0.001).
Findings are consistent with the hypothesis of common underlying biopsychosocial mechanisms and can guide the comprehensive assessment and treatment of these conditions regardless of the primary site of pain or diagnosis. Heightened catastrophizing in UCPPS should be examined to inform psychosocial interventions and improve patient care.