POLL: Did your interstitial cystitis or overactive bladder appear after starting a new sexual relationship (it may be due to catching a virus)?

Did your interstitial cystitis or overactive bladder appear after starting a sexual relationship?

  • IC/OAB first manifested long ago, so I cannot remember if I was in a sexual relationship or not

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Hip

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This poll is for anyone who has interstitial cystitis (IC), also called painful bladder syndrome, or the similar condition of overactive bladder (OAB), also called irritable bladder.

Both IC and OAB produce strong urinary urgency resulting from uncontrollable nervous contractions of the bladder muscle, which means you are often rushing to find a toilet or bathroom. IC also involves considerable pain.

This poll asks whether you were in, or very recently had, an unprotected sexual relationship or sexual affair at the time your IC or OAB first manifested.

Or alternatively if when your IC or OAB first manifested, this was time-wise well away from any sexual relationship (manifesting long after your previous sexual relationship ended, say at least 6 months after the last time you had unprotected sex).

In this poll, unprotected sex is defined as either unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, or equally unprotected oral sex. So if in your relationship or affair you used condom protection for intercourse, but did not use any protection for oral sex, that still counts as unprotected sex in this poll.

Note that IC and OAB are not to be confused with polyuria. This poll is not for people with polyuria. Polyuria is where your kidneys dump water into your bladder too fast, so your bladder becomes become quickly full, so you have to visit the toilet a lot more. Whereas with IC and OAB, you find you have to urgently visit the toilet even if your bladder is less than half full, because bladder contractions force you to.



This poll is testing a theory I have that IC and OAB might be caused by an infectious pathogen which is typically caught during unprotected intercourse or oral sex, with the pathogen likely first entering the bladder via the urethra.

The pathogen may conceivably transmit from person-to-person through various bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, or saliva from oral sex, and may initially infect the urethral lining, and then soon enter the bladder, chronically infecting the bladder lining or the bladder muscles or nerves.

The ulcerative form of interstitial cystitis has been linked to a chronic polyomavirus infection of the epithelial cell lining of the bladder, and antiviral treatment with cidofovir has been shown to substantially improve IC symptoms. BK virus is one polyomavirus implicated in IC. Gram-negative bacteria have also been found in interstitial cystitis. One study found Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum and Chlamydia trachomatis in OAB. Another found aberrant urinary microbiome with decreased microbial diversity in OAB.

But other as yet undiscovered pathogens may be involved in IC and OAB etiology.

Both IC and OAB are also mentioned in the CCC as comorbidities of ME/CFS (more prevalent in ME/CFS patients than the general population).



The symptoms of IC and OAB include frequent strong and sudden urges to urinate, even if the bladder is nowhere near full (these urges arise from uncontrollable nervous contractions of the bladder detrusor muscles). Thus those with IC or OAB often need to rush to a toilet with great urgency numerous times a day.

In IC (but not in OAB) there is also pain in the area between anus and scrotum/vagina, or chronic pelvic pain, or there can be pain during sexual intercourse. Thus because of the pain IC is considered a more severe illness than OAB.



I myself suddenly developed overactive bladder (OAB) within months of starting a new relationship. I used to have a very strong bladder; I could go for most of the day without needing to visit the toilet once. Then I started going out with a new girlfriend (this was back in the early 1990s), and for the first few months we used condom protection for intercourse, but later we dropped that.

Within months of starting this relationship, I developed OAB completely out of the blue (the OAB was medically diagnosed by tests in a hospital, which measured the force of the bladder contractions). From that time onwards, I had involuntary bladder muscle contractions which meant that I would have to keep visiting the toilet to urinate perhaps once every 2 hours, sometimes once every hour (especially in cold weather, or after drinking a few cups of coffee).

At the time, I could not figure out why my bladder had been perfectly strong and healthy for all my life, and then suddenly overnight developed these OAB issues, which became permanent issues for me.

But in retrospect, now that I have had the time to learn a bit about medical science and the connection between various pathogens and chronic diseases, it seems very likely that I caught some virus or bacterium during unprotected sex with my girlfriend, which then chronically infected my bladder lining, bladder muscles or bladder nerves, causing OAB.

If you are healthy one minute, and suddenly develop a new disease the next minute, there has to be some etiological explanation, and infectious pathogens are often chief suspects to explain the onset of a chronic disease.


I have a theory that if you took a detailed medical and personal history of those who suddenly developed IC or OAB, you would find that these two diseases nearly always appear soon after starting an unprotected sexual relationship with a new partner, which resulted in contracting a pathogen from that new partner (such as polyomavirus).

Human beings carry hundreds of viruses and other pathogens in their bodies, and we are constantly passing these pathogens on to each other, especially during close social contact, or intimate amorous contact of kissing and sex.

OAB is not the only illness I have that was most likely caused by catching a pathogen through an amorous encounter: the virus which triggered my ME/CFS I caught from kissing on a date.



In terms of treatments for IC and OAB, in addition to the antiviral cidofovir treatment (which is squirted into the bladder) for IC mentioned above, restoring the glycosaminoglycan layer (GAG layer) in the bladder can improve or cure the symptoms of overactive bladder or interstitial cystitis — more details in this post.
 
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