Strategies To Alleviate The Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic, severely debilitating disease that affects the bladder. Its symptoms include urgent and frequent urination, pelvic pain, and painful intercourse; its causes are unknown. The problems can come and go, flare-ups are common, and the condition usually lasts a lifetime.

Typically, IC is diagnosed only after ruling out a variety of other conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases, bladder cancer, and bladder infections. And because doctors often misdiagnose IC as an infection, years can elapse before the condition is accurately diagnosed.

Nutrition Connection

Here are some food strategies to help alleviate the symptoms of IC:

-Try an elimination diet. Many foods are reported to worsen symptoms, but people react differently to different foods. Rather than eliminating suspected food triggers from your diet all at once, try eliminating one at a time for several days, and note whether or not your symptoms got better. Some common triggers include coffee, cranberry juice, and hot peppers.

-Avoid trigger foods. Once you’ve identified your food triggers, be especially careful not to eat them when you’re starting a new drug therapy.

-Consider going organic. Since many people with IC are sensitive to food additives, including preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavorings, and other chemicals, try to buy fresh organic food whenever you can.

Beyond the Diet

-Find a drug regime that works. Medications used to treat IC include ibuprofen, tricyclic antidepressants, diphenhydramine, and pentosan polysulfate, the only drug specifically approved by the FDA to treat IC.

-Get some PT. Physical therapy can be extremely helpful for some IC symptoms, particularly if you also experience pelvic pain. Seek out a therapist who is experienced in treating people with IC.
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