While many studies have been done around IC and its often companion condition, IBS, very few studies have been done looking at how childhood bladder symptoms predict or affect patients in adulthood. But, that is slowly changing.
In August 2017, researchers from the Department of Urology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and the Division of Urology at Albany Medical College in Albany, N.Y., released findings looking specifically at IC patients with the IBS phenotype – meaning patients who have both IC and IBS (or at least IBS-like symptoms).(1)(2) They surveyed 190 female patients with questionnaires covering their symptoms as an adult and also as a child from age 8 to 10. Of those patients, 67 percent also had IBS-like symptoms. And just as the researchers hypothesized, the patients’ childhood bladder symptoms quite clearly predicted their symptoms in adulthood.
The IC patients with IBS-like symptoms had significantly higher pelvic pain and urgency/frequency scores on their questionnaires than the 33 percent who didn’t have IBS-like symptoms. These patients also more often remembered not having a daily bowel movement as a child, and, when they did, having to push for the bowel movement. The patients with IBS-like symptoms reported urinating only once or twice a day in childhood and having painful urination more than the patients without IBS-like symptoms. The researchers found that the IBS-associated phenotype of IC patients more strongly exhibit bladder and bowel dysfunction in childhood.
So, if bowel dysfunction symptoms in childhood can predict IBS symptoms in adulthood, could the same hold true for IC? This research study suggests that it can. The two conditions overlap and are very similar in not having definitive etiologies or diagnostic tests. Their treatments both vary based on the individual patient, and they both are affected by diet. The bowel and bladder are physically close as well, but even more importantly, their nerves are nearly intertwined.(3)
- Dorian RC, et. al. Childhood bladder and bowel dysfunction predicts irritable bowel syndrome phenotype in adult interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome patients. Can Urol Assoc J. 2017 Aug. Volume 11, No. 8. (abstract)
- Dorian RC, et. al. Childhood bladder and bowel dysfunction predicts irritable bowel syndrome phenotype in adult interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome patients. Can Urol Assoc J. 2017 Aug. Volume 11, No. 8. (full article)
- Osborne J. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Interstitial Cystitis. IC Network. Feb. 2013, Updated Jan. 2017.