Painful Bladder Syndrome (Interstitial Cystitis) Treatment

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More than 1 million women in the U.S. currently suffer from a painful condition called interstitial cystitis (IC). You may feel that relief is simply beyond your reach. Continuous discomfort and urinary urgency may dictate your daily activities and limit your goals. But the treatment you need could be right around the corner. If you have painful bladder syndrome, it is time to give us a call.

At Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles, our urology specialists are skilled in diagnosing and treating female urological issues. Furthermore, we take a holistic approach to ensuring total health and happiness, no matter what urological condition a patient may have. We believe that women suffering from interstitial cystitis deserve the comprehensive care they need. Our goal: to help our patients live their lives fully, free of pelvic pain or discomfort.

What is Interstitial Cystitis

IC is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder that affects the bladder, urinary tract, and immune system. Also called painful bladder syndrome, this condition can affect both men and women. However, it most commonly occurs in women. IC shares many of the same symptoms with other pelvic or urinary conditions, such as urinary incontinence or bladder infections. But the main symptoms can include:

  • Urinary urgency
  • Urinary frequency
  • Small bladder capacity
  • Bladder and lower pelvic pain
  • Hunner’s ulcers (patches of inflammation on the bladder wall on cystoscopy)

The symptoms of IC can vary widely among patients. This fact is why it can be so difficult to diagnose. In more severe cases, patients may experience hard bladders. This typically comes from scarred or stiffened tissue due to frequent inflammation and ulcers. The cause of interstitial cystitis is still unknown. But researchers suggest it may develop as a result of:

  • Certain irritants in the urine
  • Previous bladder trauma
  • Mast cell activation (where substances are released such as histamine)
  • And hormone fluctuations

Exploring Treatment Options

Finding an effective interstitial cystitis treatment can be difficult at first. But there are solutions available that really do work. Since IC can have such a wide range of symptoms, no one treatment works for every single patient. We look individually at the patient and their symptoms. Based on this, we take a combination approach to relieve urinary key symptoms like:

  • Urgency
  • Bladder pain
  • And urinary frequency

A trial-and-error approach is often needed to determine the best combination of treatments for each patient. IC treatment combinations may include:

Medications

Many patients are fortunate to find relief with the help of pain relievers and other medicines, such as:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Topical pain relievers
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Anti-depressant medications
  • Anti-histamines
  • Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Pentosan (Elmiron ®)
  • Bladder instillations (medication solutions administered in the bladder)

Lifestyle Modifications

Certain lifestyle, diet, or behavioral factors may contribute to painful bladder syndrome. Therefore, making adjustments can help relieve discomfort or pelvic pain. Coffee, other caffeinated drinks, potassium-rich foods, and acidic foods should be avoided. These drinks can increase the irritation in the bladder, lead to frequent urination, and worsen symptoms. Many patients in Los Angeles can successfully manage IC by modifying their diets and avoiding certain foods or ingredients that trigger their symptoms.

Additionally, some patients can “retrain” their bladders. Doing so can increase the time between having to empty their bladders. It essentially works by regulating when to drink liquids and when to avoid them. This allows patients to effectively train their bladders to hold more liquid for longer periods.

Lastly, tight or weak pelvic muscles can contribute to IC and trigger spasms of pain. Physical therapy has been known to provide much-needed relief naturally. Ideal therapy works by stretching and strengthening the muscles that cramp around the bladder.

Neuromodulation for Interstitial Cystitis

Electrical nerve stimulators can helo relieve pain in the lower back, pelvis, and bladder. The devices work by internally or externally stimulating the nerves that connect to the source of the pain. Stimulating these nerves can help relieve pelvic pain and tension, at least temporarily.

What Treatment Is Right for Me?

We understand that patients want to get rid of painful bladder symptoms quickly. That is why we work closely with each patient to match them with their ideal treatment. Our goal is to provide safe, effective treatment that restores your bladder to normal function. Through non-surgical methods, we can help you overcome your IC symptoms. To learn which painful bladder treatment is best for you, contact us today. During your consultation, we can go over all the factors that might contribute to your IC symptoms. Based on your unique situation, we build a treatment plan to restore your painful bladder to normal comfort.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Living with painful bladder syndrome can be both unpleasant and inconvenient. But a team of expert urologists can help get your life back on track. Contact us today to set up your personal consultation at Comprehensive Urology