Overactive bladder and irritable bowel syndrome are influenced by the weakened biological clock. Lead author Dr. Changhao Wu said, “Previously, people have believed that the brain ‘master’ clock controls the ‘slave’ peripheral clocks, but our study is the first to show that in a contractile organ, such as the bladder, its receptors also control these clocks… By influencing the receptors in the bladder, we can also change our clock genes. These clocks are crucial in maintaining our physiological rhythm and preventing unwanted activities associated with an overactive bladder.”
The recent study challenges the previous belief that the central clock controls the peripheral clocks in other body parts. In fact, it was found that receptors in the bladder in particular regulate the local clock. This finding implied a possible connection between irritable bowel syndrome and overactive bladder.
The bladder and bowel are functionally related not only because they exist in close proximity to each other, but also due to their structural similarities. Both are critical for waste storage, collection, and expulsion. Previous studies have suggested that overactive bladder may concurrently occur with IBS.
In the Japanese study, 10,000 participants completed surveys for determining the prevalence and severity of overactive bladder. IBS prevalence was also assessed among the participants.
Prevalence of overactive bladder was 9.3 percent and prevalence of IBS was 21.2 percent. Of the overactive bladder patients, 33.3 percent also reported IBS symptoms.
Both disorders increase waste expulsion frequency, which may be a result of motor hyperactivity.
Additional research is required to better understand the connection and relationship between overactive bladder and IBS.