A new Neurology & Urodynamics study has demonstrated a link between endometriosis and a subsequent diagnosis of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC).

In this study, researchers aimed to determine the risk of BPS/IC among women with endometriosis compared to the general population during a 3-year period following the diagnosis. The study is the largest nationwide population-based study, investigating the relationship between endometriosis and subsequent risk of developing BPS/IC.

Previous studies have suggested an association between bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC) and endometriosis. However, no nation-wide population study has yet reported an association between them. In this study, we examined the risk of BPS/IC among subjects with endometriosis during a 3-year follow-up in Taiwan using a population-based dataset.

This study comprised 9191 subjects with endometriosis, and 27 573 subjects randomly selected as controls. We individually followed-up each subject (n = 36 764) for a 3-year period to identify subjects subsequently diagnosed with BPS/IC. A Cox proportional hazards regression model was employed to estimate the risk of subsequent BPS/IC following a diagnosis of endometriosis.

Incidences of BPS/IC during the 3-year follow-up period was 0.2% and 0.05% for subjects with and without endometriosis, respectively. The hazard ratio for developing BPS/IC over a 3-year period for subjects with endometriosis compared to subjects without endometriosis was 4.43 (95% CI: 2.13-9.23).

After adjusting for co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, hyperlipidemia, chronic pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, panic disorder, migraines, sicca syndrome, allergies, endometriosis, asthma, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse, the Cox proportional hazards regressions revealed that the hazard ratio for BPS/IC among subjects with endometriosis was 3.74 (95% CI = 1.76-7.94, P < 0.001) compared to that in controls.

The findings are strengthened by the use of a nationally representative, population-based survey sample. The large sample size allowed for the adjustment of known and important confounders of BPS/IC. This study suggested an association between endometriosis and BPS/IC.