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Woman crouching next to bed due to painful bladder syndrome
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

How do Histamines Affect Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome)?

Newly published research by Grundy et al. (2019) shows a more direct connection.

In this study published in the February 2021 issue of The American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology, Grundy et al. show correlation that histamines in the body lead to changes in the sensory nerves of the bladder, particularly hypersensitivity during bladder distension, or when the bladder is filling or full.

The study determined that certain sensory nerves in the bladder can become more sensitive when histamines are present. This activation occurs in the bladder membrane, the detrusor muscles, as well as the afferent nerves of the bladder.

The study also suggests that histamines can increase the activation of certain sensory nerve cell bodies in the central nervous system, which may affect the sensation of fullness of those with IC/painful bladder syndrome.

In a previous study by Shan et al. (2019) also showed the important role of histamines in IC/BPS. In that study, bladder tissues were collected from 69 patients with painful bladder syndrome and 10 control female patients. The study found that 4 histamine receptors were more reactive in the patients with painful bladder syndrome.

These findings will hopefully help guide treatment for this dysfunction which greatly affects quality of life for many of our clients.

What is Painful Bladder Syndrome / Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis is a complex bladder dysfunction characterized by the following symptoms:

  • More than 6 months of urinary bladder pain or discomfort
  • Accompanied by urinary symptom such as:
    • Persistent urge to void
    • Urinary urge with pressure
    • Burning and aching pain
    • Increased frequency of urination (more than 8x daily)
  • IC can contribute to chronic pelvic pain and poor quality of life, and may have associated symmptoms like:
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during sex or pain after sex

Musculoskeletal Dysfunction and IC Symptoms

Recent research supports that musculoskeletal dysfunction, specifically in the pelvic floor, can refer symptoms to the bladder and urethra. A full intake examination with a trained pelvic floor physical therapist can help determine if this is the case for you.

Contact us with any questions you may have about your Painful Bladder Syndrome or Interstitial Cystitis diagnosis. We have a number of treatment options available!

** The American Urological Association has recently (2022) published updated guidelines to the treatment of IC and BPS.  These updates are highlighted and discussed in our blog post: Updates to Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome Treatment Guidelines. **

 

Resources

Shan H, Zhang EW, Zhang P, et al. Differential expression of histamine receptors in the bladder wall tissues of patients with bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis - significance in the responsiveness to antihistamine treatment and disease symptoms. BMC Urol. 2019;19(1):115. Published 2019 Nov 12. doi:10.1186/s12894-019-0548-3

Jones BM, Tykocki NR. New direct evidence that histamine augments bladder sensory outflow during filling is nothing to sneeze at. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2020 Feb 1;318(2):F455-F456. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00581.2019. Epub 2020 Jan 6. PMID: 31904288; PMCID: PMC7052655.

Grundy, L., Caldwell, A., Garcia Caraballo, S., Erickson, A., Schober, G., Castro, J., … Brierley, S. M. (2019). Histamine induces peripheral and central hypersensitivity to bladder distension via the histamine H1 receptor and TRPV1. American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology. doi:10.1152/ajprenal.00435.2019

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by M.M.

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

My husband and I were married for 5 years before we were able to have intercourse due to my vaginismus. There was nothing traumatic in my past but for some reason, even though I wanted sex, I mentally avoided "that area" of my body and didn't even admit to myself that there was a problem for a long time, even though I was never able to put tampons in. Once I finally opened my eyes up to the fact that I had a problem, I had a surgery that was supposed to fix the issue.

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

I would like to start off by thanking Heather Jeffcoat for educating me and curing me of Vaginismus. I had been married for almost three years before I was referred to Heather. I never knew about Vaginismus until almost three years into my marriage. I knew something was wrong when I went on my honeymoon and came back a Virgin. I had always imagined how magical my first night would be but boy was I wrong.

Read more: Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

I would like to start off by thanking Heather Jeffcoat for educating me and curing me of Vaginismus. I had been married for almost three years before I was referred to Heather. I never knew about Vaginismus until almost three years into my marriage. I knew something was wrong when I went on my honeymoon and came back a Virgin. I had always imagined how magical my first night would be but boy was I wrong.

Read more: Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

Testimonial by J.B.

My husband and I were having problems with painful intercourse. My therapist recommended that I go and get a pelvic floor evaluation from a physical therapist. Having never been treated by a physical therapist, I wondered how this really was going to help me. My husband who is a physician was very supportive and agreed that a PT evaluation would be a great idea. So i made the appointment and was blown away by what I learned. I had no idea that pelvic floor muscles could get tight and have trigger points just like any other muscle in the body. I'm a massage therapist and very familiar with tight muscles, and this new thought really amazed me. Heather's program to help relax and strengthen these muscles made such a difference. I can say that I am 100% pain free during intercourse now. Yippee! Going to the PT appointments and doing the at-home exercises was definitely a discipline, but it's 100% worth it! The rewards are amazing.

-- J.B.

Testimonial by A.B.

Before I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat I was living in a nightmare. I had been married to my husband for three years and I was suffering from Vaginismus. That all changed when I visited my OBGYN and she said she knew of someone with a great success rate. To be honest I was hesitant at first because my first doctor had already told me that all I needed to do was order dilators from the internet and I should overcome my problem. She was wrong because I had followed the book on how to use the dilators with absolutely no advancements in my condition. However, that all changed when I went in for my first visit and Heather took the time to explain my condition and how we were going to work together to overcome it.

I remember leaving her office with a glimmer of hope that I could live a normal life. As my sessions continued I began to see immediate results. With only four sessions and a strict dedication to my home programs I was cured of Vaginismus. In the beginning of this process I was made aware that my health insurance company might not cover the costs, which was disappointing but today I can say one hundred percent that it was the best money I ever spent. Now thanks to Heather I am finally enjoying my life to the fullest with my husband. Thank you Heather, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. I will never forget it. Those who are suffering from these types of conditions don’t be afraid because she makes you feel so comfortable and the end result is worth it. Good luck to you all and I hope you experience the success I have.
-- A.B.

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