What is Interstitial Cystitis and How Can It Be Treated?
Everybody pees! You probably don’t give much thought to the processes in your body that regulate urination. That is, until something goes wrong.
Your bladder is a hollow and muscular organ that stores urine, expanding in size until it’s full. Once your bladder is full, your pelvic nerves send signals to your brain. These signals are what cause the urge you feel when you need to urinate.
When you have interstitial cystitis, the signals to your bladder and pelvic nerves go haywire. You'll feel the urge to urinate more often than usual, even if you don’t need to go. This results in you frequently visiting the toilet only to release small amounts of urine.
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that belongs to a group of disorders known as painful bladder syndrome. It puts pressure on your bladder, making you feel like you constantly need to use the toilet. Interstitial cystitis can be a mild nuisance or it can be severe enough to cause bladder and pelvic pain.
Symptoms of Cystitis
The signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis are different for each person. It’s not uncommon for the symptoms to resemble those you would experience during a urinary tract infection although interstitial cystitis isn’t an infection.
You might frequently experience symptoms or only have flare-ups of symptoms with symptom-free periods in between.
- A persistent urge to urinate
- Frequent urination throughout the day and night
- Only releasing small amounts of urine
- Pelvic pain and chronic pelvic pain
- Pain between the genitals and anus
- Pain during sex
- Bladder discomfort
How Long Does Cystitis Last?
For most people, symptoms aren’t consistently severe. Instead, they usually come in waves or as periodic flare ups. You may go days, weeks, or months without experiencing significant symptoms before they come back worse than they had been.
For others, symptoms may be persistently present, worse on some days than on others.
Causes of Interstitial Cystitis
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis isn’t fully understood, but there are several common risk factors and triggers that can contribute. Younger people are rarely diagnosed with the condition, with most cases occurring in people aged 30 or older.
While both men and women can get it, it’s more commonly diagnosed in women. When men experience symptoms similar to interstitial cystitis, it’s more often a prostate disorder.
Genetic disorders that affect the makeup of the bladder or bladder lining can make someone more likely to get the condition. It may also be linked to an autoimmune disorder or an allergy. People with a family history of interstitial cystitis are also at a higher risk.
Some studies show a link between interstitial cystitis and certain chronic pain disorders. This includes fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.
Flare Ups can be caused by:
- Being stressed out
- Strenuous exercise
- Sexual activity
- Sitting for long periods
Complications Interstitial Cystitis
The symptoms and side effects of interstitial cystitis can reduce a person’s quality of life. Constantly feeling the urge to urinate and dealing with the pain can make it hard to take part in your daily activities and social life. It can even impact your ability to work and to get a restful night’s sleep.
If sex is a cause of flare-ups or is too painful, this can have a serious effect on intimacy and relationships. This, combined with the other complications of interstitial cystitis, can result in emotional distress and mental health concerns.
As a chronic condition, there is no cure for interstitial cystitis. There are, however, several medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes that can manage the condition. By taking certain steps and following the advice of your healthcare providers, your quality of life doesn’t have to suffer.
Treatment of Interstitial Cystitis
Treatment aims to reduce the severity of symptoms. Most patients will have to use a multi-pronged approach to manage the condition. It’s not uncommon to have to try several different treatment options before finding the combination that works best. Often the first step is making some lifestyle changes.
- Diet: Some foods and drinks can trigger flare-ups so you should keep a food/symptom diary. That way you can keep track of the foods and drinks you consume and any symptoms that come afterwards. You can then cut those substances out of your diet to prevent a flare-up. Common irritants include acidic foods, caffeine, alcohol, fizzy drinks, and artificial sweeteners.
- Reduce stress: With how hectic our lives are, reducing stress is usually low on our list of priorities. The less stress you have, though, the better your overall health will be. This goes for all mental health concerns. You should take your mental health seriously and get any help you may think you need.
- Physical activity: Strenuous activity might cause a flare-up, but regular, moderate exercise can actually help manage your symptoms. Try walking, yoga, and other low-impact exercises.
In addition to lifestyle changes, physical therapy can help with interstitial cystitis. Your therapist will show you exercises that will strengthen your pelvic muscles to reduce the pain and urge to urinate. Bladder retraining is another therapy method that can help.
More severe cases of interstitial cystitis may need more intensive medical intervention or surgical treatment. This can include bladder instillations, bladder stretching, and nerve stimulation. Your doctor will advise you if they feel you would benefit from any procedures.
Others may find relief by taking oral medications. From muscle relaxants to antacids, to antidepressants, there are a lot of options when it comes to tablets to reduce your symptoms. If you have been prescribed tablets for your interstitial cystitis symptoms, you can buy cystitis medication online from Pharmacy Planet.
At Pharmacy Planet, you’ll find a wide range of medications to improve your bladder health. Visit us today to buy bladder infection treatment and to buy Nitrofurantoin tablets and Trimethoprim for Cystitis Online in the UK. After completing an online assessment, our pharmacists will dispense your medications and have them shipped to your home.