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Interstitial Cystitis: My bladder hurts!

You've been told you have interstitial cystitis. Ouch! 

What is interstitial cystitis?

Also known as "IC", is a chronic painful bladder. This can cause pain in the lower abdomen, difficulty and pain with urination, increased bladder pressure and frequency to urinate. 

                                         Woman lying on sofa looking sick in the living room

Drink water, help IC?

Patients with IC often have inflamed bladder walls as well. 

Did you know that physical therapists can help treat the symptoms of IC? We can't make cellular changes to the bladder but there are lot of lifestyle tips and tricks to ease the symptoms.

Start with drinking enough water! As a general rule of thumb, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces per day. This can of course vary based on other health conditions, exercise and environment. If we don't drink enough water, it makes urine more acidic and actually makes it more irritating to the lining of the bladder. Thus, worsening bladder symptoms. 

                                                                  close up of  a water splash on white background

Bladder irritants

Next up is removing bladder irritants! Wow sounds obvious right? The bladder is irritated and we want to remove anything that irritates it. This pertains to our DIET. Some of the most common ones are:
  • citrus 
  • caffeine
  • alcohol 
  • dairy 
  • tomatoes and tomato products
  • carbonated beverages 
  • sugar 

You may be thinking, gosh is there anything left that you can eat?! Absolutely. Not everyone has the same bladder irritants. By trying out an elimination diet you can better help identify your particular triggers. It also doesn't mean you always have to avoid these foods, but to not be surprised if symptoms flare when you consume them. This is also not an exhaustive list, your therapist will help guide you. 

The bladder and the pelvic floor have an opposite relationship with one another. As the bladder contracts to urinate, the pelvic floor must relax. As the pelvic floor contracts, the bladder is forced to relax. We can use that to our advantage to decrease bladder urgency and frequency! Your pelvic floor physical therapist will teach you how to properly contract your pelvic floor to then help relax the bladder for a period of time. 

Physical therapists can help treat IC

There are many more tricks and tools we have to treating IC! If you're ready to find out more, please contact our pelvic floor physical therapist!