I would have never thought that treating my sleep apnea would improve my IC symptoms. I was at the point where I was waking up every 1 to 2 hours to use the bathroom. I was always completely exhausted both physically and mentally. The only thing I could think of was when was my next opportunity to sleep. I never felt rested even if I took naps during the day. And “yes” I said naps [plural] each day. I was trying to work full-time, and parent two children while being fatigued 24/7.
How did I get diagnosed with sleep apnea? At one of my dental appointments, the hygienist suspected that I might have sleep apnea because I was grinding my teeth at night. I also had a weird snoring pattern. I would sort of gasp for air in one quick “sputter” or breathe. I mentioned this to my doctor, and he suggested I have a sleep study done. When the sleep center called to schedule my evaluation, I was told I would have to spend the night in their facility with probes on me. I thought that there was no way I was going to do that because I got up every hour or so to go to the bathroom. I ended up not doing the sleep study at that time. Months later, I was desperate for sleep, and followed through with the sleep study; however, this doctor sent you home with a device and other diagnostic probes, leads and wires.
The test results showed that I had mild to moderate sleep apnea. I purchased an APAP or Automatic Positive Airway Pressure device. The difference this device has made in my life is remarkable. Now, I usually go to the bathroom 2 times a night, and when I wake up I feel completely rested. I guess when you think about sleep and IC, this connection does make sense.
Sleep is “essential… because it contributes significantly to the restoration and recuperation of physical and mental functioning [Alis Kotler, Judith Reishtein, Patricia Shewokis © 2011 Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates Urologic Nursing, pp. 159-165, 172].
My body never had a chance to replenish or recover from the day because I was never getting quality, deep sleep. I still have IC; however, my nights are more restful. There is a negative aspect to not waking up during the night. When I do get up in the morning, my bladder pain level tends to be high because I have not emptied my bladder which then causes spasms. The trade off of getting a good night’s sleep is worth the pain. I grab an ice pack to help ease the pain, and I move forward with my day.