The X-Y factor: Females and males with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome present distinct clinical phenotypes

Gregory W. Hosier, R. Christopher Doiron, Victoria Tolls, J. Curtis Nickel


Introduction: Urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) in females is often attributed to the bladder (interstitial cystitis/ bladder pain syndrome), while UCPPS in males is often attributed to the prostate (chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome). However, there is increasing awareness that bladder pain plays a role in both males and females and the degree of overlap of clinical characteristics in males and females with UCPPS is not well known. Our objective was to compare clinical phenotypes of females and males with UCPPS.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from a single-centre patient population presenting between 1998 and 2016 to our UCPPS clinic. Demographics, symptom scores, pain scales, retrospectively described clinical UPOINT (urinary, psychosocial, organ-specific, infection, neurogenic, and tenderness) scoring, and presence of comorbid medical conditions were compared between females and males using comparative analyses.

Results: We identified 2007 subjects (1523 males, 484 females) with UCPPS. Females had increased prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (25% vs. 11.2%), chronic fatigue syndrome (13.6% vs. 1.6%), fibromyalgia (16.9% vs. 1.6%), drug allergies (56.6% vs. 13.5%), diabetes (20.2% vs. 3.9%), depression (31% vs. 18.4%), and alcohol use (44.2% vs. 10.8%) compared to males with UCPPS (all p<0.001). In respect to UPOINT domains, females had a higher “total” (3.2 vs. 2.4), “urinary” (92.8% vs. 67.6%), “organ-specific” (90.1% vs. 51.4%), and “neurogenic” (44.7% vs. 30%) prevalence compared to males (all p<0.001).

Conclusions: Females with UCPPS have greater prevalence of systemic disorders/symptoms and worse urinary symptoms than males with UCPPS. These findings demonstrate that females and males with UCPPS have distinct and different clinical phenotypes.

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