Interstitial Cystitis: Dont Dismiss The Pelvic Pain
Interstitial Cystitis is a painful condition related to your bladder that can severely restrict your life. Pay attention to your body’s signals to seek proper treatment
We often tend to ignore mild pain in any part of our body attributing it to stress or exertion. When it disappears in some days, we think alls well again. Unfortunately, in the case of pain in the pelvic area , thats not always the case. Any pain in that area should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent conditions like Interstitial Cystitis .
Relief For Chronic Pelvic Pain Interstitial Cystitis And Painful Bladder Symptoms
Relief for Chronic pelvic pain , Interstitial Cystitis and painful bladder symptoms can be achieved with several of the procedures used to treat pain on the neurologic and musculoskeletal system.
Like non-gastric abdominal and non-cardiac chest pain, chronic pelvic, bladder and interstitial cystitis pain can have neurologic and musculoskeletal factors that contribute to chronic pain. These factors are not always obvious and may be present in addition to other more traditional sources.
For example, a patient with frequent urinary tract, bladder or prostate infections would expect to have pain associated with the infection. They may not be aware however that low back pain, an injury in the pelvis, or pubic region, or even an old ankle fracture may cause the nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments that interact with those structures to increase chronic pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, and painful bladder symptoms.
When pain from the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems increase pain in an internal organ, or when they refer pain to an internal organ, it is called Somato-Visceral pain . Many people understand that crushing pain in the chest and left arm is a sign of a heart attack, or that pain in the sternum may actually be coming from gastric reflux. Relief for Chronic Pelvic Pain, Interstitial Cystitis & Painful Bladder Symptoms
Links: Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Things You Can Do To Help Interstitial Cystitis
Lifestyle changes will usually be recommended first.
Things that may help improve your symptoms include:
- reducing stress anything that helps you relax, such as exercise or regular warm baths, may help reduce your symptoms, and recent evidence suggests that mindfulness-based techniques, such as meditation, can help
- avoiding certain foods or drinks if you notice they make your symptoms worse but do not make significant changes to your diet without seeking medical advice first
- stopping smoking the chemicals you breathe in while smoking may irritate your bladder
- controlling how much you drink try to reduce the amount you drink before going to bed
- planned toilet breaks taking regular planned toilet breaks may help stop your bladder becoming too full
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Pain And Pressure In The Genital Area
A common symptom of IC is tenderness, pressure, or pain in the perineum the area between the anus and genitals. This is true for both men and women. Women may also have pain in the vagina or vulva.
In men, there may be pain in the scrotum, testicles, or penis. Some people feel constant pain, but for others, the pain comes and goes.
Stages Of Interstitial Cystitis
What is interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis , also known as painful bladder syndrome , is a chronic medical condition characterized by bladder pain, bladder pressure, urinary frequency and urgency, bladder incontinence, pelvic pain, and pain during intercourse. The symptoms range from mild to severe, and symptom frequency ranges from infrequent to persistent. Periods of remission are also possible.
An individual with interstitial cystitis often feels the urge to urinate frequently but may only produce a small amount of urine. Interstitial cystitis symptoms can be similar to those of a urinary tract infection, but an infection is usually not present. If a person is experiencing chronic bladder pain and frequent urinary urges, contacting a health care provider is important. There is no specific test to diagnose this condition it is a diagnosis of exclusion.
Stages of interstitial cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that is variable, including periods of flares and remissions. Symptoms often fluctuate.
Interstitial cystitis typically begins with vague, mild and intermittent symptoms, which often leads to misdiagnosis. The beginning stage of interstitial cystitis consists of frequent urination and occasional bladder pain. Uncomfortable sexual intercourse may be experienced during flare-ups. Symptoms are typically mild and brief during this stage. Symptoms have a slow onset at the beginning of the condition.
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What Is The Outlook For Cystitis
The outlook of cystitis is dependent on the cause of the symptoms. In general, the outlook for cystitis is good. However, it is important to treat the underlying condition as soon as possible. If you experience symptoms of cystitis, its best to contact a doctor.
While recovering from cystitis, you should:
- drink plenty of fluids
- avoid caffeinated drinks, as these can irritate your bladder
- urinate frequently, rather than holding it
- wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes
What Are The Symptoms Of Ic
People with interstitial cystitis have repeat discomfort, pressure, tenderness or pain in the bladder, lower abdomen, and pelvic area. Symptoms vary from person to person, may be mild or severe, and can even change in each person as time goes on.
Symptoms may include a combination of these symptoms:
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The Origin Way: Physical Therapy For Interstitial Cystitis
While relatively rare, if Hunner’s lesions are present, this will change your course of treatment. All IC/BPS patients will receive conservative lines of treatment initially, but those patients found to have lesions present will often also be treated with medication, fulguration, cystoscopy with hydrodistension, or reconstructive surgery.
The American Urological Association has provided guidelines for treatment of IC/BPS based upon potential benefit versus potential adverse or irreversible effects. As a “first-line” of treatment, the AUA recommends all patients receive education regarding their condition, self-care guidance, behavioral modifications, and stress management practices. The “second-line” treatment for patients with this condition includes pelvic floor Physical Therapy for reduction of pelvic floor muscle tenderness, spasms, scar tissue, and myofascial restrictions.
At Origin, our Physical Therapists are trained to support your healthcare team and you by providing both “first-” and “second-line” treatments. Our therapists are trained to help reduce pelvic floor dysfunction and myofascial restrictions with manual therapy to the muscles in and around the pelvis, as well as provide education and support regarding normal bladder habits, symptom management strategies, and breathing techniques to manage stress and anxiety.
Further Help For Bladder Pain
If you are concerned about your problem and it is starting to affect your day-to-day life make an appointment to see your doctor as you may need to be referred to a specialist.
If you are experiencing bladder pain you can contact a continence nurse or specialist physiotherapist, who are healthcare professionals who specialise in bladder and bowel problems.
You can also find information about painful bladder / interstitial cystitis on the Bladder Health UK website bladderhealthuk.org, Email , Telephone 0121 702 0820
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How Is Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosed
No single test can diagnose IC. And symptoms of IC are a lot like those of other urinary disorders. For these reasons, a variety of tests may be needed to rule out other problems. Your healthcare provider will start by reviewing your medical history and doing a physical exam. Other tests may include:
Urinalysis. Lab testing of urine to look for certain cells and chemicals. This includes red and white blood cells, germs, or too much protein.
Urine culture and cytology. Collecting and checking urine for white blood cells and bacteria. Also, if present, what kind of bacteria there are in the urine.
Cystoscopy. A thin, flexible tube and viewing device, is put in through the urethra to examine the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. This checks for structural changes or blockages.
Bladder wall biopsy. A test in which tissue samples are removed from the bladder and checked under a microscope to see if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.
Lab exam of prostate secretions . This is done to look for inflammation and/or infection of the prostate.
Oh My Aching Bladder: Is It A Uti Or Ic
OH MY ACHING BLADDER: IS IT A UTI OR IC?
One in five women will have at least one urinary tract infection in her lifetime, according to the National Kidney Foundation. And, if youve ever had a urinary tract infection, you are all too familiar with the burning urination and constant feeling of needing to go to the bathroom. But, did you know that some of the symptoms of a UTI are similar or the same as symptoms women experience when they have interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome? How is a woman to know if its a UTI or painful bladder syndrome?
What is a Urinary Tract Infection ?
A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, most commonly affecting the bladder and the urethra . When bacteria gets into the urethra and travels to the bladder, a UTI is often the result. With a UTI, the bladder lining also becomes red, swollen and inflamed.
Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- Urinary urgency or the feeling that you need to urinate often. You may have to run to the bathroom several times per hour only to find you urinate only a few drops.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Abdominal pain, pelvic pressure and/or lower back pain. You may experience lower abdominal discomfort, bloating and/or feel pressure in the lower pelvic area, especially when urinating.
- Blood in the urine. Urine can appear to have a reddish or dark orange tiny, which signifies blood in the urine from the infection.
- Cloudy urine that has an odor
- Fever and/or chills
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What Is The Latest Research On Bladder Pain Syndrome Treatment
Researchers continue to search for new ways to treat bladder pain. Some current studies focus on:
- New medicines to treat bladder pain
- Meditation as a way to control bladder pain
- The role of genetics in bladder pain
- Acupuncture treatment
To learn more about current bladder pain treatment studies, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.
When To See A Gp
You should see a GP if you have persistent pelvic pain or you notice a change in your usual peeing pattern.
These symptoms can have a number of causes, so it’s a good idea to get a proper diagnosis.
The GP can refer you to a hospital specialist like a urologist, a specialist in conditions affecting the urinary system, for further tests, such as a cystoscopy. A cystoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of the bladder.
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Common Ic Symptoms In Women
- You feel unexplained pain or pressure in the urethra, vagina, area above the pubic bone, inside of the thighs, lower abdomen, lower back, groin area, or any combination of these areas
- You feel pain during or after sexual intercourse
- You have frequent, sometimes painful, urination
- You wake up 1 or more times at night to urinate
- You feel the urge to urinate, sometimes even after you’ve emptied your bladder
- You have unresolved symptoms that resemble a urinary tract infection that have not responded to antibiotic therapy
- Your symptoms come and go flare-ups may be associated with menstruation, certain foods, allergies, and stress
How Is Interstitial Cystitis Treated
There is no cure for IC and it can be hard to treat. Treatments are aimed at easing symptoms, and may include:
Bladder enlargement. This method increasing bladder capacity. It also interferes with pain signals being sent by the nerve cells in the bladder.
Bladder wash. The bladder is filled with a solution that is held for varying times, from a few seconds to 15 minutes. Then it is drained out through a catheter.
Medicine. Medicine may be taken by mouth or put right into the bladder. There are many different drugs that may be used.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . Mild, electric pulses enter the body for minutes to hours, 2 or more times a day. The pulses are sent through wires placed on the lower back, or through special devices put into the vagina in women or into the rectum in men. For some people, TENS eases bladder pain and urinary frequency and urgency.
Bladder training. You urinate at specific times and use relaxation techniques and distractions to help keep to the schedule. Over time, you try to lengthen the time between the scheduled voids.
Surgery. Surgery to remove all or part of the bladder may be done in severe cases, if other treatments do not work.
Management of IC may also include:
Talk with a healthcare provider with any questions of concerns you may have about this health problem.
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Why Is The Pelvic Floor Important With Ic
While many patientsand even some doctorsmay think of IC as primarily a bladder condition, the truth is more complicated. Researchers have shown that at least 80 percent of patients have pelvic floor involvement in their condition. Trigger points in the pelvic floor can reproduce all the classic IC symptoms, like suprapubic pain, urethral burning, urinary urgency, and frequency. However, they are also responsible for the symptoms that dont seem to be directly related to the bladder, including pain with intercourse, low back pain, hip pain, or tailbone pain. In another example, the pelvic floor must relax for urination the common story of urgently needing to go but being unable to release once youve reached the toilet is also a result of pelvic floor dysfunction.
The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can be due to the bladder, the pelvic floor, ormost likelya combination of both. True healing cant take place until all the underlying causes are addressed.
Tips For Increasing Fiber
How do you know if you are getting enough fiber? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily. Check out the list of IC-friendly sources of fiber.
If youre not getting enough fiber, use the list to choose foods to add to increase your fiber intake. Check out the serving size for each of these items. You may find it helpful to measure quantities to get a sense of how many servings you typically eat. Two items that some people may find helpful for irregularity are a small glass of prune juice daily and 1-2 tablespoon flax each day.
When you are increasing fiber, you must make sure you drink enough fluids. Increasing fiber without getting enough liquids can make constipation worse. A rule of thumb: the more fiber you consumer, the more water you need.
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What Can Be Done About A Burning Bladder Due To Irritated Sacral Nerves
The good news is that despite all of the run around that interstitial cystitis patients go through to try to find effective treatment, the fix is usually simple if sacral nerve irritation is causing the issue.
The upshot? Interstitial cystitis patients often lose hope given that multiple specialists have prescribed everything from ineffective antibiotics to pelvic floor physical therapy. For some reason, most physicians never put 1 and 1 together to look into the lower back as a possible cause for the burning bladder. If your sacral nerves are causing your bladder to burn, then the solution may be very simple!
Pain In Abdomen And Lower Back
Some people experience interstitial cystitis experience pain in their lower back and lower abdomen. This type of pain, again, could be associated with urinary tract infection or some other condition. If it is a urinary tract infection, its important to seek treatment as the infection might have spread to the kidneys. In the case of interstitial cystitis, this type of pain can be alleviated with treatment, but evaluation at a clinic is required.
What Causes Interstitial Cystitis
While the cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown, there are several theories including:
- Defects in the epithelium of the bladder
- Bladder trauma
- Oxalate issues
- Gut microbiome imbalances
Personally, I believe interstitial cystitis is strongly rooted in nutrition related causes: poor digestion, nutritional deficiencies, poor liver function, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, hypothyroidism, and low protein diets as well as associated with a history of UTIs, antibiotics, birth control pill use, and chronic viral issues .
According to Dr. Ray Peat, IC has to do with hormonal imbalance, Interstitial cystitis involves an increased number and sensitivity of mast cells in the bladder, as a result of too much estrogen activity, or too little thyroid and progesterone.”
How Do I Find Doctors Who Treat Interstitial Cystitis Near Me
Receiving an interstitial cystitis diagnosis is the first step in receiving treatment and returning to a more fulfilling life. A urogynecologist or urologist can examine you and determine if you have interstitial cystitis and what might be causing it. When you are searching for your doctor, make sure they are board-certified, ask questions about what kind of treatment options they offer, and find out what procedures they perform. Your doctor will work with you to create the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
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