This study suggests that women with interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS) usually have it as part of a larger fibromyalgia-related process.
In this study, 313 women with IC/PBS were compared to 313 women without the illness, and were asked whether they had a list of symptoms which had started before the onset of their bladder problems. 78% of women with IC/PBS vs. 45% of those without had multiple symptoms preceding the bladder problems. Fibromyalgia-chronic widespread pain (FM-CWP), chronic fatigue syndrome, sicca syndrome (dry mouth and eyes), and irritable bowel syndrome was the most common mix.
This suggests to me, as we discuss in my book, Pain Free 1-2-3 (which also discusses how to address IC/PBS), that the bladder issues are part of a bigger fibromyalgia process. This explains why we also often see bladder symptoms (as well as Vulvodynia) often improve with the "SHINE Protocol" — along with the rest of the fibromyalgia symptoms.
In addition (see Sexual Abuse and IC/PBS), a history of sexual abuse not only contributes to getting IC/PBS, but also causes a different pattern of pain.
John W Warren, Fred M Howard, Raymond K Cross, Janine L Good, Myrna M Weissman, Ursula Wesselmann, Patricia Langenberg, Patty Greenberg, and Daniel J Clauw. Antecedent Nonbladder Syndromes in Case-Control Study of Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome. Urology, November 7, 2008; In Press. See article at ScienceDirect.