Painful Bladder? What You Need to Know about Interstitial Cystisis

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Urinary Incontinence Plano, TXInterstitial Cystitis is a condition that affects approximately 4 million Americans. This chronic or recurring condition primarily occurs in women. It is not the same as a urinary tract infection in that interstitial cystitis cannot be treated with antibiotics. The pain and urinary frequency that originates with inflammation within the bladder does not stem from bacteria nor a virus. For this reason, finding the right remedies for bladder pain can feel difficult. Here, we want to look further into what interstitial cystitis looks like and what may be done to improve quality of life.

Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis include:

  • Frequent need to urinate (as often as every few minutes) regardless of fluid consumption.
  • Urinary urgency even shortly after using the bathroom.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • A sensation of pressure and discomfort that intensifies as the bladder fills.
  • Discomfort or tenderness in the genital and / or pelvic area.

Personal Habits Reduce Symptoms

Research has not yet pinpointed an exact cause of interstitial cystitis. There has been progress in discovering triggers, however, and this has led to suggestions regarding management.

Eat “IC-Friendly”

Diet has been named as a leading instigator of IC flare-ups, as well as a prominent approach to management. Foods that are likely to cause bladder pain in individuals with interstitial cystitis include alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, spicy foods, fermented foods and carbonated beverages.  Friendlier choices include red apples and bananas, avocado, beans, and cucumber, tea and nut milks.

Hydrate

The natural reaction to urinary urgency and frequency is to taper back on how much water is consumed. This could actually be counterproductive to the management of IC because dehydration creates more highly-concentrated urine. The more concentrated (and dark) the urine, the more it may irritate the internal lining of the bladder. Pale yellow is the color to look for to know you are adequately hydrated. Also, hydration does not come from downing a glass of water, it comes from sipping throughout the day.

Manage Stress

Having interstitial cystitis is a stressor within itself when pain is frequent or chronic and it is difficult to venture too far away from an available bathroom. Research suggests that stress is a trigger for IC flare-ups, and that IC is a trigger for stress. Therefore, finding ways to manage stress can be very beneficial. Walking is a form of exercise that is usually comfortable for patients with IC. Yoga and meditation, and even coloring are activities that are commonly revered for their stress-relieving qualities.

Do you have questions about bladder control problems? Contact our Plano urology office at (972) 403-5425.

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