What is IC?

Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a often referred to as painful bladder syndrome, and according to most in the “mainstream” medical community, there is no cure.  Doctors tend to agree that a patient can go into remission; however, this remission is usually temporary.

Common symptoms are urgency, frequency, bladder pressure and pelvic pain.  Some of the challenges IC suffers deal with on a daily basis is lack of energy, lack of sleep, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, etc.  This disease drastically diminishes your quality of life.  Current treatments bring little to no relief.  The severity of this disease varies from person to person.  One of the worse cases might involve a person going to the bathroom 40 to 60 times a day.

Teaching ClassWhen someone asks me to describe this disease, I say that I feel like have a never ending bladder infection.  People can then relate to my circumstance because they might have had a bladder infection at one time and know what I am dealing with.  For my situation though, I have NEVER had a bladder infection.

WebMD indicates that this disease comes with lots of challenges that can “…affect your social life, exercise, sleep and even your ability to work.”  The official cause for IC is still unknown.  Inflammation in the bladder wall is typical for an IC suffer.  Some IC patients have (Hunner’s) ulcers in the bladder.  Tissue and/or nerve damage is often present.  Lack of elasticity and thickness of the bladder wall develop over time.

Diagnosing this disease is tricky.  Usually a doctor will diagnose a person with IC based on symptoms, ruling out other diseases and viewing (and sometimes doing a biopsy) bladder through a cystoscopy procedure.

Elmiron is a drug developed specifically for IC.  Bladder instillations of different cocktail solutions is also a means of treating the disease.  Botox injections in the bladder wall is also a treatment option.  Dietary restrictions (avoiding bladder irritants) are also used to help reduce the symptoms.

Below is a list of possible causes for IC.

  • a damaged bladder GAG layer
  • damaged nerves in the pelvic area
  • abnormal nerve growth factors
  • dysfunctional central nervous system
  • fastidious infections including fungal and biofilm infections
  • other bladder wall and urinary sphincter injury/damage
  • spinal cord injury
  • pelvic adhesions
  • scar tissue and or thinning of the bladder wall
  • chemical and or metal infestation
  • auto-immune diseases
  • chemotherapy injury
  • dysfunctional parasympathetic nervous system
  • hormone imbalance
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • dysfunctional nervous system with cross-talk
  • hyper-active nerves
  • vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • a low body nitric oxide
  • oxalate intake
  • genetic disorders
  • allergies | histamine and mast cell proliferation

[source:  Natural Approach Nutrition link]

Hopefully more effective treatments will be available soon.  I am personally hoping for a “cure” so no one has to live with this debilitating disease!

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