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Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic condition where the bladder lining gets inflamed and can’t create a strong enough wall to keep things from leaking into your urethra. As a result, it’s not just painful; it makes you feel like someone is feet away from you every time you go to pee. Fortunately, there are natural treatments for IC that help ease some of the pain and improve symptoms; if that doesn’t do the trick on its own, acupuncture will help relieve stress levels in other parts of your body, which often accompany this condition.
Interstitial Cystitis is a painful pelvic illness that affects around 3–6% of all women in the United States (3–8 million) (IC). Although IC is significantly more frequent in women than males, it affects between 1–4 million men in the United States alone. Interstitial Cystitis may also affect children; in fact, many adult patients with the disordered state that their symptoms have been bothering them since they were a child.
Although IC can’t be healed (a chronic illness), medication may help control symptoms and minimize discomfort. What are the different forms of natural remedies for Interstitial Cystitis? Acupuncture may help with pain tolerance, while yoga or tai chi can help with blood flow, and a healing diet can help with inflammation. Interstitial cystitis symptoms may be exacerbated by chronic stress and bad behaviors like smoking, so making lifestyle adjustments to address these contributing factors is essential.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a persistent, inflammatory, and painful illness of the pelvis and bladder that may be difficult to cure. According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, IC is also known by various other names, including painful bladder syndrome (PBS), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), and persistent pelvic discomfort.
Is Interstitial Cystitis seen as a handicap? Yes, in specific ways. IC is commonly described as “debilitating,” It may cause considerable discomfort and restrictions, lowering people’s quality of life. Unfortunately, it’s seen as a lifelong ailment that requires continual management, similar to autoimmune disorders or digestive troubles like IBS.
Many individuals confuse IC with other health problems, particularly urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is because the symptoms of these two illnesses, such as bladder and pelvic discomfort, are pretty similar. In contrast to UTIs, however, there is no infection with IC. In males, IC may be mistaken for chronic prostatitis, which specialists feel has resulted in an under-diagnosis of IC among adult men.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of interstitial Cystitis that you would expect to observe, and why? Every individual who suffers from IC will have symptoms that are unique to them. What distinguishes IC from other similar disorders is that it must be linked with bladder discomfort that lasts longer than six weeks and is not caused by a health concern such as an acute infection or kidney stones. In addition, some individuals have symptoms almost all of the time, whereas others have symptoms that flare up and then disappear before reappearing.
The following are the most prevalent interstitial cystitis symptoms:
- Pain and discomfort in the bladder and pelvis. Pain in the lower back, urethra, and genitals may sometimes be excruciating. The sensation of pain might be characterized as piercing, stabbing, or dull aches.
- Increased pressure around the bladder, resulting in a strong need to pee. Urinary frequency and urgency refer to the need to use the restroom more often and having a greater than a normal desire to pee. People with IC may feel compelled to pee all of the time, causing them to urinate up to 40–60 times each day.
- When urinating, there are burning or stinging feeling in the bladder and urethra.
- During intercourse, there is pain. Women may experience pain in the vulva, vagina, or behind the vagina. Pain in the scrotum, testicles, penis, or the region behind the scrotum may occur in men.
- Pain makes it difficult to exercise.
- Having trouble sleeping because I have to get up to pee.
- Due to frequent urination and pain, daily tasks are complex.
- Emotional tension, worry, and despair are all on the rise.
According to specialists, IC is a bladder inflammatory disorder caused by the malfunction of protein membranes in the bladder lining. Damage to the bladder wall has been shown to enable particles in the urine, such as potassium, to escape into the bladder lining, producing inflammation. Usually, the bladder lining should heal itself, but this does not seem to be the case in persons with IC.
According to research, proteins, such as antiproliferative factor (APF), may interfere with the normal functioning of bladder cells, resulting in long-term damage and discomfort. In addition, the immune system may begin to assault the bladder (an autoimmune reaction), disrupting bladder nerve signals. As a result, when a person with IC’s bladder fills with urine after the kidneys have filtered it, the stretching feeling creates a lot of pressure and pain, which may be excruciating at times.
Is Interstitial Cystitis a disease because of its underlying causes? IC is more of a condition than a disease since it comprises a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Non-ulcerative IC and ulcerative IC are the two known subtypes of IC.
- The great majority of non-ulcerative interstitial cystitis patients (about 90%) are non-ulcerative. However, inflammation and hemorrhages in the bladder wall occur in people with this kind of IC, contributing to discomfort.
- Ulcerative Interstitial Cystitis is a far less prevalent form of IC, accounting for just around 5% to 10% of all cases. The bladder wall of people with this kind of IC develops ulcers or patches.
- End-stage Interstitial Cystitis is an uncommon but dangerous form of IC. This form of IC accounts for around 5% of all IC cases. It’s identified when a patient’s IC symptoms are persistent and severe for more than two years. End-stage IC causes the bladder to harden, ulcerate, and be excruciatingly painful.
It’s still unclear what causes IC in all of its forms. However, several variables have been found that seem to have a role in the progression of the disease. These are some of them:
- Any illness or incident that causes damage to the bladder or bladder lining. Bladder trauma, for example, may result from bladder infections, pelvic infections, or pelvic surgery.
- Overdistention of the bladder is produced by retaining urine for lengthy periods.
- Muscle Dysfunction in the Pelvic Floor
- Disorders of the immune system
- Pelvic inflammatory illness is related to bacterial diseases such as chlamydia and sexually transmitted infections.
- Inflammation caused by a primary neuron (hypersensitivity or inflammation of pelvic nerves)
- Trauma to the spinal cord
Factors at Risk
“Interstitial cystitis (IC) may afflict anybody,” according to the IC Association. IC may affect women, men, and children of any age or color.” According to surveys, nearly a quarter of all men and women of all ages suffer from pelvic discomfort. There were no variations in prevalence rates depending on race or ethnicity.
Interstitial Cystitis is most often diagnosed in persons in their 30s or later in life, while symptoms may appear at any age. Poor dietary habits, smoking, and being too stressed all tend to exacerbate IC symptoms. In addition, women often report that their symptoms worsen immediately before or during menstruation. Certain antidepressants, nasal medications, and pain relievers have also been linked to IC symptoms.
In addition to IC, children and adults with IC are more likely to experience fibromyalgia, vulvodynia, allergies, reflux, gastrointestinal difficulties, enuresis (bedwetting), or incontinence.
What is the procedure for diagnosing Interstitial Cystitis? Physical examinations, urinalysis and urine culture tests, ultrasound, and imaging tests may all be used to diagnose interstitial Cystitis.
Medication, physical therapy, biofeedback training, bladder training (which involves gradually waiting longer to use the bathroom and stretching out the time between urinating), alternative stress-reduction treatments, lifestyle changes, and bladder surgery, if necessary, are all traditional treatment options for IC.
The following are some examples of interstitial cystitis drugs that are used to control symptoms:
- Polysulfate of pentosan
- Gabapentin is a drug that is used to deal with adverse effects.
- Prescription pain relievers such as opioid analgesics or codeine, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers including acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen
Antibiotics haven’t been demonstrated to assist with IC since an infection doesn’t cause it. Therefore, antibiotics should only be administered if a disease, such as a urinary tract infection, is the primary cause of your symptoms.
When should you get surgery for interstitial Cystitis? If alternative therapies aren’t adequate to control symptoms, surgery is usually the final choice.
While the patient is under anesthesia, a small quantity of liquid medicine (Heparin, Lignocaine, and sodium bicarbonate) is inserted into the bladder through a catheter. The technique helps to expand the bladder lining and has a favorable influence on the bladder nerves. Badder installation is the term for this sort of operation (or a bladder wash or bath). While it may aid with pain relief, it is typically just a short-term treatment. Surgery may need to be performed every six months or annually to prevent unpleasant symptoms from reoccurring. Other procedures, such as removing or enlarging the bladder, are only required in rare cases.
How to Deal with the Symptoms of IC
1. Eat a diet for Interstitial Cystitis
Inflammatory foods may aggravate IC symptoms. Thus a balanced diet should be a fundamental component of any IC treatment strategy. According to one study, 85 percent of IC patients said particular meals or drinks made their symptoms worse. According to one research, coffee, tea, spicy meals, alcohol, and carbonated beverages had a detrimental impact on more than 52% of IC patients.
Every individual with IC responds to dietary changes differently; some people with IC find that modifying their diet significantly reduces their symptoms, while others don’t see any relief.
If you’re dealing with IC symptoms, it’s best to stay away from the following foods and beverages, which might trigger IC “flares”:
- Pizza and other heavy meals containing a lot of cheese or dairy are examples.
- Lemonade, soda, and most commercial juices, such as cranberry or orange juice, are sweetened liquids.
- Coffee, teas, and sodas are examples of carbonated and caffeinated drinks.
- Refined grain-based processed meals (cereals, bread, wraps, cookies, cakes, etc.)
- Tomatoes, chili peppers, and citrus fruits are spicy or acidic cuisine examples.
- Traditional dairy products, gluten-containing cereals, peanuts, and shellfish are examples of common allergies. Although no definite link has been shown between lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity and IC, many patients with IC feel that avoiding these foods improves their symptoms.
- Foods that are heavy in sodium/salt added sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Saturated fat from conventionally bred animals is found in processed foods (like beef and cheese)
Aim for a balanced diet that includes a range of well-tolerated whole, unprocessed foods. Foods to consume to help in interstitial cystitis recovery include:
- Leafy green vegetables, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, tomatoes, bell peppers, green tea, chocolate, sea vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich foods
- Avocados, berries, apples, pears, coconut flakes, figs, artichokes, winter or acorn squash, sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all high fiber foods.
- Turmeric, ginger, basil, parsley, oregano, raw garlic, and raw honey are all fresh herbs and spices.
- Meats that are organic, grass-fed, or pasture-raised
- Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring fished in the wild
- Quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and rolled oats are all 100% whole grains.
- Bone broth or a bone broth/collagen protein powder
To avoid dehydration, you should drink enough water each day; nevertheless, you should not consume more than you need since this will lead to urinary frequency. Another benefit of following a healthy, high-fiber diet like the one outlined above is that it helps to avoid constipation and promotes daily bowel motions. Regular bowel movements have been found to assist people with IC to control their symptoms by reducing abdominal pressure and bloating.
2. Use Relaxation Techniques to Reduce stress
Stress tends to exacerbate IC symptoms, exacerbating pain and inflammation. The following are some natural stress relievers that may help you manage stress:
- Exercising your breathing
- Training using biofeedback
- Using lavender and chamomile essential oils
- Spending time in the outdoors
- Reading and writing in a journal
- Any exercise that isn’t painful
- Having a conversation with a therapist or counselor
- Joining an online or in-person support group
3. Pain Management Through Acupuncture and Mind-Body Techniques
Patients are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help them manage chronic pain, terminal diseases, and other health issues. Treatments offered by complementary and alternative medicine include:
- Changing your diet
- Supplements and herbs
- Bladder conditioning
- Massage therapy is a kind of treatment that involves mass
- Physical therapy is a kind of treatment that is used is a kind of treatment that is used
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine
While further randomized, controlled studies are required to demonstrate how these treatments might assist persons with IC, “clinical data has revealed that each therapy can undoubtedly benefit a fraction of IC/BPS patients,” according to research published in the journal Translational Andrology and Urology.
People with IC are already familiar with CAM therapy. According to a study of 1,982 IC/BPS patients, almost 84 percent had attempted CAM therapies, and their doctors had advised 55 percent to utilize CAM. In addition, acupuncture has been shown in studies to aid with chronic pain, tension, and mental issues such as anxiety and depression. Acupuncture has also been proven to assist control bladder storage and emptying processes in specific investigations.
Massage and chiropractic therapy are examples of “manipulative, body-based therapies” that may assist in generating a relaxation response and release stiff muscles that aggravate pain. Yoga, qi gong, and tai chi are examples of physical disciplines that may help improve physical function, pain management, immunity, anxiety relief, and overall quality of life.
4. Quit Smoking and Other Unhealthy Habits to Reduce inflammation
Inflammation may be controlled by quitting smoking, keeping a healthy weight, getting adequate sleep, avoiding pollutants, and exercising frequently.
According to research, persons who drink alcohol and smoke or use tobacco products are more likely to have significant bladder, pelvic, and colon problems than those who smoke or drink frequently. This is also true for malignancies of the bladder and colon. So, if you’re a guy, limit yourself to two drinks per day, and if you’re a woman, limit yourself to one drink per day. In addition, you may speak with a counselor or enroll in an online program specializing in smoking cessation to assist in stopping smoking. You may get started by contacting 1-800-QUIT NOW or going to www.Smokefree.gov.
Exercising may help you avoid inflammation and improve your overall health if you can keep physically active without feeling a lot of discomfort. For patients with IC, gentle, low-impact workouts like walking, using an elliptical machine, swimming, and stretching are advised. Exercise may help you manage your weight, enhance your pain tolerance, improve circulation, and strengthen your immune system. While you’re recuperating, being active is also a fantastic strategy to boost your mood and reduce stress, sadness, sleeplessness, and worry.
Vitamin D, probiotics, magnesium, and omega-3 fish oil supplements are among the substances that might help decrease inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
5. Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor
Consider seeing a physical therapist for assistance in stretching and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. According to a 2012 research published in the Journal of Urology, women with IC who had 10 myofascial physical therapy treatment sessions saw substantial reductions in pain, urgency, and frequency ratings. In addition, in women with symptomatic interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, myofascial physical treatment performed better than a therapeutic massage.
PT may assist with muscle spasms as well as bladder and bowel control. You’ll likely notice that your toilet habits become more regular and under your control as you gradually educate your pelvic floor muscles and bladder. Request a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor disorders from your doctor. Additionally, your physical therapist can teach you how to stretch and relax your tight pelvic floor muscles to lessen discomfort and sensations of urgency.
- Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a painful, inflammatory illness that affects the pelvis and bladder.
- Pain and discomfort in the pelvic region and bladder, an increased desire to urinate, pain during intercourse, pain that spreads to the genitals and back, physical limitations due to discomfort, and emotional problems such as anxiety, distress, depression, and difficulty sleeping are all symptoms of IC.
- Inflammation and damage to the bladder lining induce IC. Immune reactions, infection, and alterations in nerve signals around the bladder may all cause this.
- Being a woman, being in your 30s or older, having a history of autoimmune illnesses, history of STDs and pelvic inflammatory disease, having had pelvic surgery, eating a bad diet, being highly stressed, and smoking are all risk factors for getting IC.
5 Natural Treatments
- a balanced diet
- Stress management
- Inflammation may be reduced by making lifestyle changes such as exercising and stopping smoking.
- Physical therapy
Frequently Asked Question
How do I make interstitial cystitis pain go away?
A: Interstitial Cystitis is a painful condition characterized by inflammation and bladder lining irritation. It causes abdominal pain, bleeding, and sometimes fever. To relieve symptoms, it’s essential to drink plenty of water, stay hydrated all day long, reduce your caffeine intake (including coffee), avoid alcohol or other irritants that can cause bladder spasms/inflammation like spicy foods or citrus fruits. If you’re unable to help yourself through these steps, then medical treatment may be needed, including over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or prescription urea which helps with symptoms from excess urine production
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