Interstitial cystitis (IC) is an inflamed or irritated bladder wall. It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and pressure in the bladder. It’s sometimes called painful bladder syndrome, and it’s more common in women than in men.

Interstitial cystitis is often referred to as a “women’s disease” as it primarily affects women. In fact, women make up about 90 per cent of the people diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC). This may be because the female urinary system is more vulnerable to irritation and infection.

Some people with interstitial cystitis (IC) also experience fatigue, sleep problems, and anxiety. The exact cause of interstitial cystitis (IC) is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to defects in the lining of the bladder.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

Pelvic pain: In women, interstitial cystitis can cause pelvic pain. This pain can range from mild to severe, and it can be constant or intermittent. It can also be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the pain is coming from. In addition to pelvic pain, women with interstitial cystitis (IC) may also experience frequent and urgent urination. This can be extremely disruptive to daily life.

Other symptoms that women may experience include pain during sex, pain in the lower back or abdomen, and painful menstruation.

How do women manage interstitial cystitis?

Managing interstitial cystitis can be a challenging process, but there are a number of things that women can do to find relief.

The first step is to see a doctor for a diagnosis and to rule out any other possible causes of the symptoms. Once IC is diagnosed, there are several treatment options that may be effective. Additionally, stress management and relaxation techniques can be helpful in managing the symptoms of interstitial cystitis.

Treatment for interstitial cystitis

There are a number of different treatments that may be effective for interstitial cystitis. One option is medication, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, bladder instillations, or muscle relaxants. These can help to reduce the inflammation and spasms that can occur in the bladder.

Another option is lifestyle changes, such as avoiding bladder irritants like caffeine and acidic foods, staying hydrated, and quitting smoking.

Some women also find relief from bladder training, which helps to retrain the bladder to hold more urine.

Finally, physical therapy, such as pelvic floor therapy, may be helpful for some women.

Preventive measures for interstitial cystitis

There are a number of preventive measures that can be taken to help reduce the risk of developing interstitial cystitis. One of the most important is maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to bladder dysfunction.

Another important step is avoiding smoking, as it can irritate the bladder and increase the risk of developing interstitial cystitis.

Additionally, staying hydrated and avoiding trigger foods, such as acidic foods, spicy foods, and caffeine, can also help to reduce the risk of developing the condition.