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Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jul;98(1):127-32.

Gynecologic presentation of interstitial cystitis as detected by intravesical potassium sensitivity.

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Division of Urology, University of California, San Diego Medical Center, San Diego, California 92103-8897, USA.



To document the initial clinical diagnoses, determine the prevalence of urinary symptoms, and test for intravesical potassium sensitivity in gynecologic patients with chronic pelvic pain.


Gynecologists at three United States medical centers administered the Potassium Sensitivity Test to consecutive unselected pelvic pain patients. Before testing, each patient was given an initial clinical diagnosis based on the patient's chief symptomatic complaint(s) and surveyed for urologic symptoms.


Of 134 patients, 114 (85%) had positive potassium sensitivity. Positive potassium sensitivity rates were similar across all three sites and all clinical diagnoses including endometriosis, vulvodynia (vulvar vestibulitis), and pelvic pain. A total of 75% of the subjects reported urologic symptoms, but only 2.9% received an initial diagnosis of interstitial cystitis.


A significant majority of gynecologic patients presenting with pelvic pain have a positive Potassium Sensitivity Test, indicating their pain may have a bladder component (interstitial cystitis). Interstitial cystitis deserves greater consideration in the differential diagnosis of chronic pelvic pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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