, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 381-389
Date: 22 Oct 2008

Chronic pain in urological diseases: a clinical review

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Chronic pain is the central problem in a variety of urological diseases. Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with either actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. The aim of this research was to update knowledge about the ultrastructural, clinical, psychological and therapeutic aspects of chronic pain in urological diseases, in particular in chronic pelvic syndrome. In this paper we have revisited the most significant and discussed articles published in the last twenty five years, with particular references on the 2008 European Guidelines, searching key words (chronic pelvic pain syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, chronic prostatitis, interstitial cystitis, prostatodynia, urological disease) and data with a high level of evidence. The articles that we have analyzed show that pain is characterized by an initial tissue injury that can lead to sensitization, which is a decrease in the intensity of the stimulus needed to elicit a response by the nerve, involving the peripheral and central nervous systems. The chronic pain state is characterized by loss of inhibitory interneurons, establishment of aberrant excitatory synaptic connections and long-term potentiation of response due to changes in sensitivity of nerve synapses. Stress and hormones might also play a role in central sensitization. Pain also has a cognitive and emotional component. It is very difficult to treat, given the complex nature of the response and the interaction of physiological aspects