Holistic Approach to Interstitial Cystit

Holistic Approach to Interstitial Cystitis
Interstital Cystitis can seem like a scary diagnosis at the urology office, especially if you then go home and google it all night. Online blogs, forums, and articles will tell you that you will never be able to eat the things you want to eat, you will be in pain all your life, and it is untreatable. Here’s the scoop. It IS treatable and you can manage the symptoms with the right steps. It will not always be easy and there is a lot of trial and error, however, it is very possible to lead a healthy life with IC given the proper guidance.
Intestitial Cystitis, according to the American Urological Association, is defined as “An unpleasant sensation (pain, pressure, discomfort) perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, associated with lower urinary tract symptoms of more than 6 weeks duration, in the absence of infection or other identifiable causes”. Often patients will have symptoms of bladder pain, increased day time and night time urinary frequency, urgency, incomplete emptying, and burning urethral pain. Pelvic floor physical therapy has shown to help release the muscular tension that is likely contributing to symptoms via myofasical release, connective tissue manipulation, education on body mechanics and posture, and providing stretches as a home exercise program. Pelvic floor physical therapists can also educate patients on common bladder irritants. These are common food and drinks that can trigger symptoms of increased urgency, frequency, pain, and leakage. While physical therapists would love to take the credit in helping patients feel 100% better, it is a multidisciplinary approach. We often refer patients to urologists, nutritionists, mental health therapists, and other medical providers to address the patient as a whole person.
Aside from physical therapy, there are other medical interventions patients can research about as other options to address their symptoms. There are oral medications, bladder instillations, hydrodistention, intra-bladder botox, electrical stimulation, nerve blocks, and trigger point injections that can address IC symptoms. Keep in mind, many of these options can have side effects and do not always work for everyone. In fact, some of these interventions can flare symptoms and make patients feel worse. It is always best to consult with your physician on whether any of these options are appropriate for you. There are also complementary treatments such as acupuncture, meditation, and mental therapy that can supplement the stress and pain that is associated with this condition. It is always best to consult with a nutritionist and determine food sensitivities that can trigger IC symptoms. The bottom line is that IC is not a death sentence. There are plenty of options to explore. Discuss with your physician and pelvic floor physical therapists your questions and concerns.

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