Interstitial Cystitis

Most of the medical world has at last recognized what was once considered a psychosomatic disorder. In other words many doctors did not believe the bladder pain was real. Having to deal with this problem myself down through the years I can testify that the pain is indeed real.

When I see people out walking in the evenings it makes me feel good to know that others are doing something healthy for their bodies and minds. Myself, I cannot get out and walk because if I do I’m laid up that evening with unbearable bladder pain. I walk in my house or my yard but I can’t walk for a long period of time. Not all people who suffer with interstitial cystitis have a problem with walking and most enjoy activities according to their limitations.

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis sometimes referred to as IC is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder wall. Cystitis, infection of the bladder and other urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial and can be treated with antibiotics. The cause of IC is not yet known but it appears that no bacteria are involved and antibiotics do not seem to help. This condition is most commonly found in women and recent surveys suggest that over one million people in the U.S. suffer from it.

Symptoms:

A feeling of pain, burning sensation, pressure or bladder spasms.
Frequency of urination day or night. Sometimes worse at night.
Lower abdominal pain or discomfort in the bladder area, urethra or vaginal area in women. Men may suffer pain in the testicular or perennial area.
Some people have reported migraines, joint pain and gastrointestinal problems.
If you are suffering from bladder pain or discomfort see your doctor right away. He will most likely recommend a urologist who will take urine test including a urine culture. If no infection is discovered the urologist will perform a cystoscopy to look for any problems. Sometimes a doctor will need to distend the bladder under general anesthesia by filling it with water to further investigate. Occasionally a medication will be instilled into the bladder at this time. A biopsy of the bladder wall may be taken during this procedure.

Treatment:

At present there are several drugs that some people seem to get relief from, but there is no effective treatment that works for all suffers of this condition.

Elmiron: approved by the FDA in 1996 is believed to repair thin or damaged bladder lining.

Antidepressants: Elavil (amitriptyline) has been reported to help with pain and frequency of this condition. It also helps the muscles to relax and brings on sleep.

Know your limitations and do not push yourself to keep up with your friends, family, etc. When you are involved in an activity and you feel bladder pressure or spasms begin, stop the activity. Exercise is always good for you but don’t over do it.

Some people claim that by eliminating spicy foods from their diet their bladder pain does not occur as often. Also smoking, alcohol, too much coffee and soft drinks will continually irritate the bladder.

By eating a proper diet, knowing your limitations and finding a medication that can provide some relief you will be able to continue to enjoy your life. Be sure to see your doctor on a regular routine and research the latest information on Interstitial Cystitis. For further information on this condition contact the Interstitial Cystitis Association.

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