There are several articles stating what Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is and the treatments. If you’re reading this article you know what it is; I’ll simply state it is a chronic inflammation of the bladder wall, with bladder spasms, and at times debilitating pain; no definite medical cure has been found. It does affect men and women.
There are many alternative treatments that people with this disease have found on their own and they work for them and they get relief. You try them and no relief. The key is ‘they work for them’. It could be due to the fact each person’s chemical makeup is different. This could also be why not everyone has the same symptoms.
Seven years ago I was walking and suddenly was gripped with a gut wrenching pain in my pelvic/groin area. I could barely walk back to the house as the pain was excruciating. I got in the hot tub and felt a little relief. A couple days later the pain struck again and for a longer period of time; back to the hot tub, again temporary relief.
It was 2 years before I was diagnosed with IC. First I was diagnosed with Anal Cancer and prolapsed uterus, bladder, and rectum. We really thought the pain was from the Anal Cancer. I had surgery, cancer gone, pain still there.
I researched and decided IC could be the problem. My urologist said it was a ‘fad diagnosis’ and he didn’t really believe in it. After he performed a Cystoscopy, he quietly informed me my bladder was inflamed and eroded in a couple of places. He had also taken biopsies to verify it wasn’t cancer.
Conventional meds didn’t work. I tried alternative treatments, and a strict diet régime. My main relief was the hot tub and getting an adjustment from the chiropractor. I no longer could work out at the gym everyday due to the pain. Cranberry juice which worked for urinary tract infections made the IC worse.
Another option is injections of Botox into the bladder. It paralyzes the bladder to stop the bladder spasms, the source of the pain. I didn’t give this option any thought, not for me.
Plumb Square and Level as being the Best Pain Relief
My husband was a contractor and was disabled from an injury to his back. He would always refer to staying Plumb Square and Level as being the best pain relief.
I thought about what he had said and looked at my posture, certainly not what he would call Plumb Square and Level. I straightened up, back to the old military attention stance, head up, shoulders back, tummy and buttocks tucked in. I couldn’t believe the difference, not a cure but a difference.
I also started to note what activity seemed to help, what made it worse, what was I eating, and what was my system doing.
My biggest relief is staying in a Plumb Square and Level position while standing, walking, or sitting. I also take a B6 and Magnesium every morning. During flare-ups I may take it every 4 hours. If I am going to be doing strenuous activity I will take it before engaging in the activity as a preventative measure.
Keep a Journal: write down everything
- Any other medical problems you have
- Foods you eat and drink
- Activity you perform
- What makes it worse
- What makes it better
- When do you urinate and how often
- When you pain flares up
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera soothes and calms the mucous membranes. It seems to bring the body in balance and helps reduce the inflammation of the bladder and quiets the bladder spasms.
Limit Salt and Acids
Salt and vinegar are culprits which cause problems. If your bladder is inflamed and eroded, salt and vinegar aren’t going to help it. Think of it as putting salt in an open wound. OUCH!
An acidic body causes many health issues. Try to reduce the amount of acidic products you consume. Try limiting or cutting out different foods and see if it makes a difference.
An emergency measure that I would do when nothing else helped was to take ½ teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of water, let sit for a minute and then drink. This would usually start lessening the bladder spasms after 20 minutes.
Baking soda is sodium, salt, I stopped using it. Plumb Square and Level works in its place. I still revert to my old posture at times and will notice the spasms start-up. I go Plumb Square and Level and the pain subsides.
Kegel for Men and Women
Kegel exercises also helps, men this is for you also, as it strengthens the bladder.
Plain constipation or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can cause IC; if the rectum drops or prolapse, this can cause IC. A uterine prolapse or if the uterus lays on the bladder can cause it.
I have surgery every few months to verify the cancer hasn’t come back as I refused chemo and radiation. The surgery causes a flare up of IC. After surgery I go to my chiropractor for an adjustment and cold laser treatment. The cold laser treatment is immediate relief as it heals the inflammation and helps the entire area heal faster. The cold laser also helps in inflammation of IC and lessens the bladder spasms.
I have a farm and ride around (bounce) on a large tractor and lift over 25 lbs. These two things will cause back pain, and IC flares up. At times it’s enough pain that I have to go in for an adjustment. My L3-4 through S1-2 move out of place, even just the slightest bit out of place, the IC kicks in. These vertebrae house the nerve roots which go to the bladder.
When this happens I ice my lower back until I can get in and see my chiropractor; alternate ice on and off every 30 minutes until the pain lets up.
If I ice my lower back and the pain doesn’t let up and my back doesn’t feel out of place, the next step is heat. I will place a heating pad so I can sit on it and have it on my lower back also. I have another heating pad over my lower belly and pelvic/groin area. Relief comes anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on how severe the pain is. Another option is getting in a hot tub if you have one.
Whether driving the car, motorcycle, riding lawn mower, or whatever else, try to stay in a Plumb Square and Level position to minimize problems.
Research shows that lifting weight can cause bladder spasms. Find out what your weight restriction is.
- Plumb Square and Level position to minimize problems and reduce spasms
- Slow deep breathing
- Keep a Journal
- Aloe Vera Juice to reduce the bladder inflammation
- Adjustments and Cold Laser Treatment
- Reduce Salt and Acidic products
- Kegel Exercises
- Find your weight restriction and adhere to it
- Alternate ice to the lower back for 30 minutes off and on until pain relief
- Heating pads to sit on, lower back and on lower belly or get in the hot tub
- Try B6 and Magnesium (The best combination I have found that works is Formula 303 along with Stress plus which has all the B’s in it. You can purchase these online at Earth Turns, I’m not affiliated with them.)
Remember we all have a different chemical makeup, not all of these may work for you. Plumb Square and Level seems to work for everyone I know that has tried it.
You will need to try different treatments, record, what you take and works, and what doesn’t. Ultimately you’ll need to figure out what works best for your system.
A list of herbs and herbal combinations can be found at Herbs for Interstitial Cystitis.