Despite the prevalence of bladder disorders in both women and men, many bladder conditions are ignored and commonly go untreated. Your urinary urgency, frequency, or any bladder-related pain should not interfere with your quality of life, so it’s time to learn some techniques that can improve your bladder disorder and your daily life. At Alliance Urology Specialists, we specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of bladder conditions. One of these conditions is Interstitial Cystitis (IC). To help bring some awareness and relief to this common bladder disorder, we’re sharing some of the ways you can manage interstitial cystitis.
What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder condition characterized by painful urinary symptoms. More frequently occurring in females, IC is estimated to affect 3-8 million women and 1-4 million men. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of IC are painful urination, pain during sex, and chronic pelvic pain. In addition to pain, IC is also known to be accompanied by lower urinary tract symptoms that last for more than six weeks without having an infection or other clear indications. While the cause of this condition is still unclear, there are steps you can take to manage interstitial cystitis.
How to Manage Interstitial Cystitis
Because the root cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, there is no cure currently available. There are, however, certain lifestyle changes and therapies that can help treat symptoms associated with IC. A specialist at Alliance Urology can help pinpoint which management techniques may be right for you, but in the meantime, we’ve included some of the ways you can start your path to managing interstitial cystitis.
Taking time to relax and reduce stress levels can help benefit your mental health and reduce IC flare-ups. Selfcare and relaxation are different for everyone, but some of the best ways to manage interstitial cystitis and stress are through physical activities like long walks or yoga, taking a bath, meditation, or deep breathing. As long as your stress reduction techniques are beneficial to your overall well-being, they may also help reduce symptoms of interstitial cystitis.
What you eat may be contributing to IC symptoms and flare-ups. Alcohol, caffeine, carbonation, citrus, spicy foods, and chocolate are common culprits when it comes to bladder irritation. Managing interstitial cystitis by use of a food journal can help track your diet-related triggers. Another way to identify potentially triggering foods is to try an elimination diet. During an elimination diet, you start by cutting out all foods that cause bladder irritation for one or two weeks. If you notice an improvement in symptoms, you can pinpoint the specific food or drink that correlates with your symptoms. By slowly reintroducing the foods and beverages you eliminated one at a time, you may notice which one, in particular, was causing the bladder irritation.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for interstitial cystitis, so if you aren’t feeling better after making dietary changes and exercising, see a specialist at Alliance Urology to discuss possible medications. Oral medications used to help with IC include pain relievers like Aleve and Ibuprofen, antihistamines, or Elmiron, a type of medication that may help restore the inner surface of the bladder.
If you haven’t seen improvement after making lifestyle changes, incorporating physical therapy may help improve your IC symptoms. At Alliance Urology Specialists, we are proud to offer pelvic floor therapy that can help relieve pelvic pain associated with muscle tenderness, connective tissue, or muscle abnormalities that may contribute to IC. While this form of therapy depends on your condition and is tailored to your needs, our pelvic floor therapists can help provide education, specific exercises, manual therapy techniques, and more.
Make an Appointment
To diagnose and treat any common problem related to the bladder or genitourinary system, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Our team has years of experience treating issues pertaining to the urinary tract and bladder. Alliance Urology Specialists are here for you at any stage of life. For questions and inquiries, please call our office in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.