Interstitial cystitis is a painful bladder syndrome. It is a difficult health condition to diagnose and don’t have any cure. However, treatments can help to reduce the symptoms and make lifestyle better with it.
Interstitial cystitis develops several symptoms accompanied by severity. Expert says that it might cause to develop many other diseases.
Having urinary pain from more than six months may not happen due to a kidney stone or urinary infection, but it is interstitial cystitis.
Interstitial cystitis symptoms can be challenging which affect sleep, social life, ability to work and exercise.
What is Interstitial cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder ailment. It is the bladder inflammation which may occur without infection in the bladder. Some people with recurring feels difficult to move. When your kidney release filtered urine, the bladder holds it before you pass it out. During Interstitial cystitis, the bladder may feel pressure, and pain and symptoms may come and go. Some people also feel constant pain.
In some cases, interstitial cystitis causes painful, frequent bathroom trips. It is possible that the patient may require to pee around 40 – 60 times. Some patient also gets sleep disturbance.
Why Interstitial cystitis occur?
The definite cause of interstitial cystitis is unexplained, but scientist determined that there are diverse factors which can contribute to developing the disease.
According to some research, initially, the contributing factors may damage the bladder or the lining of the bladder and leads to the growth of interstitial cystitis. Here are some important triggering factors.
- Muscles dysfunctions of pelvic floor
- Bacterial infection accompanied with cystitis
- Bladder trauma
- Bladder overdistention
- Spinal cord trauma
- Autoimmune disorder
- Primary neurogenic inflammation (hypersensitivity of pelvic nerves)
Signs of Interstitial Cystitis
The average adult urinates between four to six times in a day. If you are urinating more than that, then it is a sign of bladder ailment. Here are the important signs you are should not ignore.
The individual with interstitial cystitis experience pain below the belly button and around the bladder. Whenever your bladder gets full, the pain increase which makes you run bathroom multiple times.
In some cases, some people feel discomfort with waistband due to the painful tenderness around the bladder area.
Interstitial cystitis has a sign of frequent bathroom visits but more urgent than normal times. You may feel the sudden and desperate urge to urinate. If you empty your bladder in 10 seconds, then everything is good in your bladder. If it is taking less time than it means the bladder is not completely emptying which creates frequent urgency.
The feeling of incomplete emptying
Feeling incomplete emptiness after urinating is a sign of interstitial cystitis.
In some case, it happens because of tight pelvic floor muscles which create difficulties for the bladder to contract to empty correctly.
Some people may experience incomplete bladder emptiness due to sensitiveness which also has a link with pelvic floor problem.
Bladder feels full all the time
The compression and tightness in lower abdomen make you feel that your bladder is full all the time. There will be pressure feeling below the belly button. If you ignore bladder signs of feeling full, then the mild pain can become severe and leads to chronic urological problems.
The patient of interstitial cystitis gets a sign of extreme pain around the bladder and urethra. The hurt feeling occurs as acidic burning or twisting knife or ground glass in the urethra and bladder.
Generally, some people wake up one time during the night to empty the bladder, but during interstitial cystitis, there will be frequent sleep disturbance to visit the bathroom. When you sleep the bladder may fill slowly, and nobody notices it until it gets full.
In cases of interstitial cystitis, you may experience more sensitivity that bladder is filling. The constant trickle in the bladder makes the body to assume and generate a wake-up signal for going to the bathroom.
During interstitial cystitis, you may experience urethral pain while peeing or afterward. Frequent urination causes to irritate the pelvic floor muscles and creates a burning sensation.
According to some experts, the bladder or urethra lining get hurt while passing the toxins and cause urinary infection which results in burning.
Many of interstitial cystitis patient get incontinence problem. It may not happen frequently, but there will be feeling bladder spasms and urgency. When you have a weak pelvic floor, you may feel difficult to hold the urine and pressure such as sneezing, coughing, lifting, and laughing causes urine leakage. It also described as stress incontinence.
Pain during intercourse can be a typical sign of interstitial cystitis or pelvic floor dysfunction. In most cases, women feel pain in the bladder, vagina, and urethra while having intercourse. They may continue to feel the pain for many days. It affects men also in which they experience pain in urethra, testicles, bladder, penis, and ejaculation. These all painful condition doesn’t happen due to sex, but it can have a link to urological problems.
When you are developing interstitial cystitis syndrome, your pelvic floor muscle becomes tight or overactive which causes pelvic pain. You will also feel the pain in rectum or perineum. Women and men feel pain in genital parts.
You are required to undergo some specific tests for the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis and discuss your health with your doctor.
Give your previous bladder health history if anything problem you had earlier. Explain the symptoms such as incomplete urine, burning sensation and the gap between your bathroom visits.
During this test, the doctor may examine your outer genital parts and abdomen to determine inner pelvic organs such as rectum and anus. You require to tests of urine to find if any urinary tract infection link.
In this test, the doctor may insert a thin tube in the urethra. This cystoscope has a tiny camera which shows the lining of the bladder.
The doctor may also inject some liquid to measure the bladder capacity. This procedure describes as hydrodistention which involves giving the anesthesia to the patient to numb the area.
This test also applies cystoscopy with the help of anesthesia. Your doctor will take sample tissue of the bladder and urethra by microscope to analyze. This test helps to discover the bladder cancer and other underlying diseases which may affect the bladder.
This test involves the collection of a urine sample to analyze cells to determine cancer.
Sensitivity test of Potassium
In this test, the doctor will insert potassium chloride and water in your bladder. You will ask to rank zero to five about the pain and urine urgency you feel after injecting every solution. If it increases the pain, then the doctor will determine interstitial cystitis. People with normal bladder don’t feel any difference with two times of injecting solutions.
Eradicate Interstitial Cystitis
An active and lively lifestyle can assist you to eradicate interstitial cystitis and never let it come with the following ways to manage.
Manage your Diet
There are some foods which burn bladder lining during interstitial cystitis. Even the symptoms can grow worse with time. In that situation, you need to completely withdraw certain foods from your everyday food intake which includes:
What Foods to Avoid?
You need to limit the refined sugar foods which contain white flour such as white rice and white bread. Bad bacteria develop with more sugary food which leads to inflammation in people with interstitial cystitis.
Tomatoes are an acidic vegetable which creates inflammation response in the bladder. If you are sensitive, then you should completely avoid tomato intake. You can also try eating some tomato by removing its seeds. You can eat it in a salad, but you should avoid foods such as pasta, salsa, pizza sauce, and ketchup.
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea contain caffeine which causes to increase the bladder activity and result in worse symptoms such as urinary urgency and frequency. Therefore, avoid caffeine-containing drinks.
Reduce citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as lime, orange, lemons contain high citric acid which can create a problem for bladder controlling ability. But these fruits are still healthy for the overall body. Therefore, you can eat them in a reduced amount to avoid bladder irritation.
When you are suffering from interstitial cystitis, you should avoid alcoholic beverages which can cause overactive bladder. It also impairs the bladder signals to the brain and makes you overflow. You can withdraw beer, liquor, and wine.
Avoid Spicy foods
Your favorite spicy food which you enjoy with watery eyes and burning mouth can also create burning sensation in your bladder. Especially chili sauce and peppers hugely affect bladder health. To improve interstitial cystitis, you should avoid spicy salsa containing tomatoes.
According to the research of Cleveland Clinic, natural sweeteners and artificial sweetener cause to increase overactive bladder symptoms. You can observe the symptoms if you limit the sweetener intake.
Apart from tea and coffee, chocolates also have caffeine. You can choose white chocolate or dark chocolate which comprises more cocoa and less caffeine. A small bite may help you to satisfy the chocolate craving.
There is no easy treatment which can never let interstitial cystitis come back. You may require to try the different steps of treatments before you can find a good option to overcome the symptoms because different treatment works for different people with interstitial cystitis.
You can take physical therapist helps to relieve the pelvic pain related with tight connective tissues, muscle tenderness and muscle abnormalities in your pelvic floor.
Your doctor may prescribe oral medications to improve the symptoms of interstitial cystitis which include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain.
- ibuprofen – Advil, Motrin IB, etc
- Naproxen sodium – Aleve
Tricyclic antidepressants to reduce urinary frequency, urgency.
Amitriptyline or imipramine – Tofranil (It help bladder to relax and reduce the pain.
- Loratadine – Claritin
Pentosan polysulfate sodium – Elmiron
It is approved by the Food-and-Drug-Administration particularly to treat interstitial cystitis.
How this medicine work still unknown. But it helps in the bladder inner surface restoration. It also helps to protect bladder wall from harmful substances in the urine which causes to irritate the bladder lining. The treatment may take two to four months to relive the pain and reduces urinary frequency in six months.
There are different nerve stimulation techniques which include:
TENS-Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
This treatment method helps to reduce the pelvic pain with the help of electrical pulses. It also decreases the urinary frequency in some cases. The nerve stimulation method boosts the blood circulation to the bladder.
This method also strengthens the bladder muscles which help to regulate the bladder capacity to release the substance which blocks and cause pain.
Sacral nerve stimulation
The sacral nerves mainly have a link between the bladder and spinal cord. The stimulation of sacral nerves helps to relieve the urinary urgency which caused by interstitial cystitis.
During sacral stimulation, a tiny wire placed around the sacral nerves to transmit electrical vibrations in your bladder. If this procedure reduces the symptoms, then a permanent device had implant by surgery. This procedure may not handle the pain of interstitial cystitis but can relieve symptoms such as urgency and frequency.
After having the cystoscopy, the symptoms may get improvement temporarily. Bladder distention is a stretch of the bladder with water. If the patient gets long-term relief and better improvement, then this procedure can continue.
During the bladder installation, your doctor will inject the prescribed medication such as dimethyl sulfoxide – Rimso-50 in the bladder with the help of a catheter which is a flexible, thin tube entered by the urethra.
In some cases, the solution requires to mix with other medicines such as local anesthesia. It will stay in the bladder for 15 minutes and release during urination.
You may get the treatment for six to eight weeks. You may also get dimethyl sulfoxide – DMSO. Later you also require maintenance treatments.
The latest method to bladder installation uses a solution which contains sodium bicarbonate, lidocaine, and heparin or pentosan.
Generally, surgery is not recommended during interstitial cystitis because bladder removal can still cause the pain and result in another organ complication.
Individuals with sharp pain or the bladder unable to hold very less urine can be the candidates for surgery.
But, surgery option requires only when other treatment option fails, and symptoms disturb the quality of life. Here are the surgery options.
This treatment involves a minimally invasive method. During this method, equipment inserted through the urethra to remove the ulcer which may present with interstitial cystitis.
It is a different type of minimally invasive method which involves an equipment insertion through the urethra to cut the ulcer in the bladder.
This procedure aims to increase the capacity of the weak bladder by adding a piece of intestine on the bladder. This option is considered only in rare cases. This procedure also doesn’t relieve the complete pain and require to empty the bladder many times with a catheter (a thin urine passing tube).
Other ways to reduce the growing Interstitial cystitis
Manage Water Intake
For good health, everyone recommends drinking enough water. In bladder related problems you need to limit the fluid intake as much as possible. Plain water can be a good choice to manage the overactive bladder.
More water may increase your bathroom visits whereas less water can make your urine more acidic and concentrated. Even reduced fluid intake can lead to constipation problem.
You can take advice from your doctor to take the right amount of water to balance the bladder health.
It completely depends on the type of your health because some people drink eight glasses per day whereas some people end up drinking only 3 to 4 glasses.
Stress is the biggest cause which contributes to developing the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. You need to withdraw the things which cause you to stress such as job, angry boss, personal life. A relaxed body and mind may help to minimize the urgency and incontinence problem.
According to research, smoking can cause to increase the urinary urgency during interstitial cystitis. Constant coughing due to smoking can put more pressure and pelvic floor which leads damage to the bladder lining.
Apart from the routine liveliness, you should do some exercises such as walking and muscles stretching of your body to improve blood circulation and diminish the symptoms of interstitial cystitis.
When you have interstitial cystitis and bladder related problem, training it can be a good option. It is a self-training which involves urination on time. Set the time limit to take intervals for urine. Start by every half an hour and increase the time as you feel comfortable.
During the bladder training, you will learn to hold urinary urge for longer by practicing a relaxation method such as meditation, breathing deeply.
Cope with Interstitial cystitis
Interstitial cystitis can affect the life quality. If you are suffering or any family member, then family and friends support is important because the urinary topic is hard to explain. Some people end up talking about the conditions due to shyness and hesitation which causes to develop the symptoms.
Consult a doctor who can show interest in treating your condition and reducing symptoms to regain the quality life.
There are groups to join in Interstitial cystitis association who can provide support and sympathetic listening.