Interstitial Cystitis (cont.)
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Interstitial Cystitis Treatment
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A range of treatment options for interstitial cystitis exists, from changing diet and exercise habits, to medication, to surgery. Each medical treatment comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and a doctor recommends it based on the how the disease manifests itself.
Certain food items may worsen the symptoms of IC; they include the following:
All food items do not affect all people with IC in the same way. Therefore, each person should find out which food item makes one's symptoms worse. This can be done by trying an "elimination diet." On an elimination diet, one needs to stop eating all food items that can make symptoms worse. If symptoms improve on the elimination diet, the food item that was irritating the bladder needs to be identified. This can be done by introducing one food item at a time into the diet. If the addition of the food item does not worsen symptoms, it can be added to the regular diet. In this manner, one can identify the food item that makes symptoms worse and thus avoid it.
Many people with IC have reported that smoking makes their symptoms worse. Quitting smoking will not only provide symptomatic relief to people with IC but will also decrease the risk of developing bladder cancer, because smoking is a known cause of bladder cancer. Smoking cessation will also decrease the incidence of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and lung cancer.
Many people with IC have reported that gentle stretching exercises help alleviate the symptoms of IC.
People with IC may be able to reduce urinary frequency by using bladder-training techniques. They are advised to progressively increase the voiding (emptying the bladder) interval over the course of weeks to months by using relaxation techniques and distractions. A diary can help track the progress.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/13/2014
George Lazarou, MD, FACOG
Shehnaz Shaikh, MD
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