COVID-19 inflammation results in urine cytokine elevation and causes COVID-19 associated cystitis (CAC)
© 2020 The Authors Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes a wide range of symptoms, including several unexpected symptoms such as loss of taste, skin changes, and eye problems. We recently observed patients with documented COVID-19 develop de novo severe genitourinary symptoms, most notably urinary frequency of ≥ 13 episodes/24 h and nocturia ≥ 4 episodes/night. We call these associated urinary symptoms COVID-19 associate cystitis (CAC). COVID-19 severity is associated with inflammation. We collected urine samples from COVID-19 patients, including patients with CAC, and found elevation of proinflammatory cytokines also in the urine. It has been previously shown that patients with urinary incontinence and ulcerative interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome have elevated urinary inflammatory cytokines compared to normal controls. We therefore hypothesize that CAC, with presentation of de novo severe urinary symptoms, can occur in COVID-19 and is caused by increased inflammatory cytokines that are released into the urine and/or expressed in the bladder. The most important implications of our hypothesis are: 1) Physician caring for COVID-19 patients should be aware of COVID-19 associate cystitis (CAC); 2) De novo urinary symptoms should be included in the symptom complex associated with COVID-19; and 3) COVID-19 inflammation may result in bladder dysfunction.