To be honest I had never even heard of this condition until a few months ago. I figured my symptoms that I had with my bladder, were all related to the Endometriosis and didn’t think it could actually be a completely separate condition. What’s interesting about Interstitial Cystitis is that many of the symptoms we experience with Endo, are very similar.
Okay, so what is Interstitial Cystitis?
Essentially, it is an inflammatory condition. This inflammation causes scaring and the bladder to stiffen. This affects how our bladders expand and react to pressure. In 90% of IC Cases there are pinpoint spots of bleeding which are visible in the lining. In 5% of cases there are ulcers or sores develop in the lining of the bladder. – so very similar to Endo.
What are the symptoms?
- Urgency to go to the toilet
- Pain if you don’t go straight away
- Pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain worsens during menstruation
For me, the pain and symptoms seem to be predominantly on the left side of my body. I notice it more when I am travelling or doing more sitting and not enough movement.
What can we do about it?
I know instinctively we kinda want to know if we definitely have IC. Thing is, the tests to assess whether you do or don’t are quite painful and your approach would be no different than if you have Endometriosis. It is an inflammatory reaction by the body. The same as with Endometriosis. Commonly called an autoimmune response by the body.
An overproduction of histamine – like allergies.
It is quite likely that women suffering with endo, also suffer from IC. It is quite common to have both – hence the symptoms may appear to be just endo but could be IC to go with it.
The good news is that you may not have Endo as bad as you might be thinking. I know sometimes my IC is so bad, that I think endo is going full steam ahead. I found IC much easier to treat and resolve the symptoms easily.
Here are things that I have done that seem to help:
- Drink heaps of water. This is massively important! I notice a massive difference when I slack off on my water.
- Avoid acidic drinks and sugary drinks. I found Cranberry juice to be one of the worst ones. Alcohol, coffee and black teas will also make it worse.
- Avoid acidic or spicy foods. I find tomatoes seem to affect me almost instantly.
- Do pelvic floor exercises
- Eat heaps of water filled fruits and vegetables.
- Increase the natural diuretics in your diet. Lemon with hot water is brilliant! Cucumber, Parsley, Dill and green stuff.
So, what is our overall approach then?
- Avoid inflammatory foods like meat, dairy and grains
- Use heat packs with Castor oil to help the body flush out the toxins in the area, which are indirectly causing the auto-immune response
- Get the blood flowing in the area. Yoga is brilliant for this or even just going for a walk will help. I find sitting for extended periods of time seems to make it worse.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes. This inhibits movement in the body and lymphatic system.