How to Get the Best Treatment for Interstitial Cystitis
If you tend to suffer pain in your abdomen or bladder area whenever you urinate, you may have interstitial cystitis, also known as bladder pain syndrome.
IC or BPS is a condition that inflames the bladder and results in mild to severe urinary pain. The disease is hard to diagnose, but it’s characterized by frequent urination and chronic or long-term pain that may come and go on its own.
It’s unknown what causes IC and how many types of the disease there are. And since there is no cure for the condition, treatment revolves around managing the pain and inflammation.
Additionally, there is no specific way to relieve IC. Your doctor may use different treatment combinations to see what works for you.
That said, here are some of the best-known treatments for managing interstitial cystitis.
1. Common Medications
IC/BPS may not have a cure, but certain over-the-counter and prescription medications can be used to relieve the symptoms.
Since you’re targeting pain and inflammation, you need medicines that can address these issues.
Usually, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen will help with the pain. But you may have to go for something stronger, like opioids, if the pain is severe.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications to aid in relaxing your bladder, such as amitriptyline or imipramine. Additionally, you may take antihistamines as well to combat frequent urination.
2. Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium
Besides the various drug combinations your healthcare provider may prescribe, there’s a drug specifically designed for IC/BPS called pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron).
Like other medicines, Elmiron doesn’t cure IC/BPS. But it’s been approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for urinary pain and inflammation.
The drug may also improve the bladder lining, reducing urination frequency.
3. Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO)
Not everyone will find relief in conventional drugs. Dimethyl Sulfoxide is the kind of intervention that takes the fight to the enemy, in this case, your bladder.
DMSO is an approved drug that is installed in your bladder to help fight pain and inflammation.
The drug has proven to relieve the effects of interstitial cystitis in some patients and is sometimes used in combination with other medications for a better outcome.
4. Bladder Distention Therapy
Bladder distention therapy has been used to treat symptoms of IC/BPS with relative success. During the procedure, the bladder is stretched with water to its maximum capacity and then emptied.
The treatment provides temporary relief for the urge and frequency of passing urine as well as urinary incontinence.
5. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, is a targeted electrical therapy that can be used to relieve the symptoms of IC/BPS.
The therapy involves the placement of electrical wires on your pubic area or lower back. These wires deliver mild electrical pulses to help relieve pain in your pelvic region. It may also ease urinary urgency and frequency, but that’s not always the case.
Nerve stimulation using TENS may not be the answer for everyone, but it does work for some people.
6. Physical Activity
Physical activity is at the forefront of good health as it supports and strengthens all bodily systems, from the respiratory to the digestive systems.
The immune system is the most important system that benefits from staying physically active. Strengthening it allows it to fight off infections and inflammation better.
There are plenty of exercises to help you stay fit and combat the symptoms of IC/BPS. Besides exercising, you can keep an active lifestyle by walking, being handy, and working a lot outdoors.
Basically, try to avoid a sedentary lifestyle if you have IC, as it weakens your systems even more.
7. Diet Adjustment
For some people with IC/BPS, diet changes may help relieve the symptoms. Usually, certain foods or drinks trigger the condition.
Keeping track of what you eat and drink can help determine whether certain foods can trigger your IC/BPS.
Since a good diet boosts your immune system, work with a dietician to devise a healthy meal plan to support your general health.
Interstitial cystitis may not have a cure. You can manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Medications and home remedies may help you cope with the condition. But most importantly, try living a healthy, stress-free, and active lifestyle.