HealthDay News — Women with overactive bladder and at least mild anxiety symptoms report greater psychosocial burdens, according to a study published online in Neurology Urodynamics.

William S. Reynolds, MD, from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues examined the effect of anxiety on overactive bladder with a specific focus on bladder hypersensitivity. The analysis included 120 women with overactive bladder and focused on patient‐reported urinary symptom severity and quality of life, psychological stress symptoms, general somatic symptoms, and results of quantitative sensory testing, including temporal summation to heat pain.

The researchers found that 30% of women had at least mild anxiety. There were no group differences observed for urinary symptom severity; however, more anxious women reported worse overactive bladder-specific quality of life, greater psychological stress burden, higher stress reactivity, and greater somatic symptoms. There were no differences seen between anxiety groups for pain threshold and tolerance on quantitative sensory testing. However, temporal summation to heat pain was higher among women with anxiety vs women without anxiety, indicating greater central sensitization.

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“A key novel finding in the current study is that women with overactive bladder and anxiety demonstrated elevated temporal summation to heat pain relative to those without anxiety,” the authors write. “Elevated temporal summation to heat pain is an objective marker of central sensitization to C‐fiber input, so our findings support a potential role for central sensitization as a pathophysiologic mechanism contributing to overactive bladder in those with greater psychological burden.”

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