bladder pain

MAPP is now recruiting!

We are excited to announce that MAPP’s new study, called the Symptom Pattern Study, is open for recruitment.

The Symptom Pattern Study (MAPP 2) takes what we learned from the Epidemiology and Phenotyping Study (MAPP 1) and sets out to answer new research questions. The ultimate goal of MAPP is discover the underlying cause(s) of urologic chronic pelvic pain. The hope is that discoveries from this study will lead toward better, more personalized treatment options for these conditions. To reach these goals MAPP 2 will:

  • Track participants over a longer period of time than previous studies, so we can improve our understanding of what causes symptoms to get better or worse.
  • Take images of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see how brain activity and structure relate to pelvic pain.
  • Investigate the functioning of the central nervous system (which sends signals throughout the body) in people with chronic pelvic pain.
  • Conduct genetic testing to better understand how differences in DNA affect pelvic symptoms.
  • Collect biological specimens to look for markers or microbes that correlate with bladder or prostate pain.
  • Follow any changes in medical treatment for pelvic pain to see how effective different therapies are.

To get started, visit our Study Participation page.

If you have any other questions about participating, feel free to contact us or visit our FAQ page.

Website Launch

Today, a diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis or Chronic Prostatitis often means a lifetime of managed pain. Treatment may be hit-or-miss, and many patients express frustration at the lack of awareness and progress related to their condition.

The MAPP Research Network is dedicated to you. MAPP was established by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a division of the National Institute of Health. Our purpose is to study urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPS), a term that includes interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome (or painful bladder syndrome), chronic prostatitis, and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The goal is to take a different approach than previous studies and make some much needed progress in understanding why chronic pelvic pain happens, why symptoms get worse than usual at times, and why symptoms improve in some people but not in others.

Read more about our Network's history...

Our first phase of research - called the Epidemiology and Phenotyping Study (also known as MAPP 1) - was completed in June 2014. We enrolled three different groups:

  1. patients with UCPPS
  2. participants who experience one of three different chronic pain disorders:
  3. healthy control participants - those without chronic pain

This was a year-long study comparing the behavior, genes, and environment of these three groups to determine what causes pain in some but not others. Study participants completed in-person visits that included a physical exam,  pain sensitivity tests, and collection of biological specimens. In addition, participants completed questionnaires about their pain, medical history, emotions, lifestyle, and many other parts of daily life. Some MAPP Network sites also performed functional MRI scans of the brain, or held focus groups about the impact of UCPPS.

Read more about MAPP 1...

Findings from our first phase of research are just being submitted to medical journals for review and publishing. When articles are available we will be sure to post them on our publications page. 

The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be involved as a research site in the MAPP Network. We are excited to launch our new UW MAPP website at Our site is a complement to the main MAPP Network site, providing information about our research and an easy way to keep in touch with us. 

Stay tuned for more information about MAPP 2!