In the United States, interstitial cystitis, or chronic pelvic pain, has affected more than 12 million people. Many women and older individuals are affected by this disease. Since the actual cause of this ailment is yet unknown, finding a permanent cure is challenging. However, a wide range of therapies and homemade cures can assist you in reducing the symptoms of IC. Let’s take a closer look at some at-home treatments for chronic pelvic pain.
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What Do You Mean By Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, refers to a medical condition including pressure and pain developing in the bladder and pelvic region.
There is a disturbance in the urination reflex. The urinary bladder is the hollow body organ in the renal system responsible for signaling the brain to urinate. Whenever the bladder becomes full, or its bladder walls expand, a neural transmitter or reflex originates that signals the brain for urination.
During interstitial cystitis, signaling and neurotransmitter originating from the bladder get mixed, causing a disturbance in the volume and frequency of urination. Even if there is insufficient urine production, you feel the urge to go to the washroom with interstitial cystitis. It disturbs the quality of life, causing discomfort in daily routine activities.
Symptoms Of Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis symptoms vary widely from person to person. There is also a variation in IC symptoms at different ages of life and different events of life. Events mean conditions that are affecting a person medically in his lifestyles, such as the menstruation cycle, anxiety, various exercises, prolonged sitting, and sexual arousal. The different interstitial cystitis symptoms include:
- Continue urge to urinate
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Increased urination frequency
- Small volume of urine
- Irritation and itching during urination
- Painful intercourse
These symptoms can get worsen when a person is suffering from other urinary tract disorders such as urinary tract infection.
Causes Of Interstitial Cystitis
The exact reasons resulting in interstitial cystitis are still unknown. However, different factors resulting in interstitial cystitis can be detected. More often, there are some defects in the outer covering or epithelium of the urinary bladder. This defect allows the irritant or toxic chemical to pass out in the urine, disturbing the urination reflex. Genetics, urinary tract infections, and allergic reactions can also lead to interstitial cystitis.
Further, women are more likely to suffer from interstitial cystitis than men. People aged 30 or older are at more risk of getting urinary disorders. ICs can also trigger many other medical conditions. These triggered conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, chronic urinary tract infection, and others.
Homemade Remedies For Interstitial Cystitis
The most effective homemade remedies for interstitial cystitis are discussed below:
Apply Hot Compression
The inflammation and pain in the bladder due to interstitial cystitis can be effectively relieved by applying heat. What do you think? How can heat help in reducing pain and inflammation? Firstly, applying heat to the bladder causes vasodilation in that area. Vasodilation causes increased blood flow, which helps in increased healing of the affected area. Secondly, heat application relaxes the constricted muscular fibers, which create impulses, helping reduce pain sensation.
Whenever you are experiencing pain in the urinary bladder due to interstitial cystitis, applying a hot compress also proves effective. Heat is an easy homemade remedy for alleviating interstitial cystitis symptoms by allowing fast healing and reducing pain in the bladder’s muscular walls. You just have to follow the steps below to benefit from hot compression.
- In a thin cloth, wrap a hot water bag.
- Take this bag, and apply it to the pelvic region.
- Continue pressing hot compression for at least five minutes.
- Take a break after 5 minutes and then repeat the same process.
- Continue applying hot compression with a little break for 20 to 25 minutes.
Applying the same procedure about 2 to 3 times a day or whenever feeling pelvic pain is recommended. If you don’t want to go with a water bag, apply hot organic oil topically and massage for 15 minutes. Repeat this oil massage about 2 to 3 times a day.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider vinegar is also effective in curing different symptoms of interstitial cystitis. It usually removes toxins from the body and promotes the healthy functioning of the urinary bladder. It more particularly helps maintain the pH of the urinary bladder.
It also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria resulting in urinary tract infection, further leading to interstitial cystitis. Patients with interstitial cystitis have experienced significant improvement in more different symptoms of interstitial cystitis.
Changing lifestyle and maintaining a specific diet boost the healing functioning of apple cider vinegar. Diluted apple cider vinegar is always preferable to concentrate one for interstitial cystitis. Follow the below-mentioned steps to consume apple cider vinegar:
- Take a glass of water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar to it.
- To make it taste better, add a small amount of honey.
To get the maximum effects of apple cider vinegar, continue taking it twice daily. However, there are some precautions that everyone must keep in their mind before using apple cider vinegar. Always keep in mind apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature. It can result in side effects such as acid reflux, gastric ulcer, heartburn, and bloating. These side effects are particularly likely to occur when apple cider vinegar is concentrated.
Increase Your Water Intake
Taking excess water always proves helpful for alleviating the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. People suffering from interstitial cystitis usually avoid excess water intake to reduce the frequency of urination. Interstitial patients are observed to reduce their water intake to prevent discomfort and irritation they have to face during urination. But, this practice is not beneficial.
No matter if you have to face frequent uncomfortable urination due to excess water intake, it helps remove harmful toxins from the body. Efficient toxin removal promotes effective recovery from interstitial cystitis symptoms. Further, more water intake reduces the bladder’s acidic environment, inflammation, and irritant concentration.
You can increase your water intake by consuming water-rich fruits, vegetables, or other soupy meals. Drinking water in small portions with a break in between may prevent frequent urination if you feel discomfort during urination.
Take Kegels or Pelvic Floor Exercise
The muscular fibers usually tense and tighten during interstitial cystitis. Relaxing these muscles is needed to relieve different symptoms of interstitial cystitis, such as pelvic pain. There are different types of exercise that you can do for relacing urinary muscles. Remember, taking impropriate exercise can further tighten and worsen pelvic pain during IC. You must have to follow the specific exercises recommended by your therapist.
One of the effective IC exercises, kegel exercise, is important in reducing the pressure on bladder muscles and relieving interstitial symptoms. The upsides that kegel exercise can provide involve improved control of urination, making you more stimulant or active about your senses, and reducing pelvic pain. Follow the below-mentioned guidelines to do kegel’s exercise for interstitial cystitis.
- Select a peaceful site and sit there.
- Continue breathing normally and contract your kegel’s or pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds.
- Take a break for the next 5 seconds.
- Repeat the same process for at least 15 to 20 minutes at once and twice to thrice a day.
- To get efficient recovery effects, empty your urinary bladder before starting the exercise.
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is considered very effective for treating interstitial cystitis due to its alkaline nature. It maintains the healthy pH of the urinary bladder, further reducing the risk of infection occurring in it. It has been scientifically proven that the intake of baking soda helps in the alkalinization of urine, which is very effective in curing different IC symptoms. Look at the following steps to use baking soda for the interstitium.
- Take a glass of water and mix half a teaspoon of baking soda.
- Drink this mixture twice or thrice a day.
- Continue drinking baking soda in water until your IC symptoms get relieved.
The alkaline nature of baking soda can also be harnessed by adding one cup to a half-filled bathtub and soaking your body for at least 10 to 12 minutes once a day.
Increase Your Turmeric Intake
Turmeric, due to the presence of many antioxidants, is effective for treating different symptoms of interstitial cystitis. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce the inflammation in the urinary bladder.
An important compound, curcumin, present in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Thus besides relieving inflammation, turmeric reduces pelvic pain. Anti-microbial properties are also in excess in turmeric, reducing the risk factors of urinary tract infection. You can increase your turmeric intake by
- Adding turmeric to different cooking recipes
- Taking turmeric supplements
Reduce Your Stress Level
Although anxiety, stress, or depression is not a reason for interstitial cystitis, it can worsen the symptoms of your condition. Severe hormonal fluctuations occur due to stress which then excessively destroys bladder functioning, including increased inflammation in the bladder.
Therefore, it is necessary to lessen your stress. By changing your lifestyle, adopting different habits such as exercise, maintaining your favorite hobbies, and eating a healthy diet, you can maintain healthy hormones in the body
Avoid Unhealthy Foods
Different foods that can worsen your IC symptoms include acidic and spicy food, processed chocolates, citric fruits, coffee, pickles, vinegar, caffeine, carbonated and alcoholic drinks. It is always the best decision to avoid these kinds of foods. Instead, go with a diet that is rich in fluids and water which helps in flushing toxins out of the bladder.
Conventional Treatments For Interstitial Cystitis
Below are discussed conventional treatments for treating interstitial cystitis.
Different oral medications are available for relieving IC symptoms. Most of these medications include:
|NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,||Ibuprofen such as Advil, Motrin, and naproxen sodium such as Aleve|
|Tricyclic antidepressants||Amitriptyline and imipramine|
|Pentosan polysulfate sodium||Elmiron|
Most of these drugs work by relaxing the urinary bladder, reducing the frequent urge to urinate and suppressing the bladder wall. There also occurs healing of the epithelium lining of the bladder, which prevents irritation during urination. You have to take these medications after the recommendation of your doctor.
The time needed for recovery after taking these medicines varies from 2 to 6 months. These oral medications can adversely affect eye functioning or result in blurred vision. Therefore, proper optic tests are needed.
Some medications, such as dimethyl sulfoxide (Rimso-50), are inserted directly into the bladder using a thin catheter through the urethra. Different solutions mixed with prescribed drugs, often containing analgesics, are used for direct insertion in the urinary bladder.
Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Two main therapies used for stimulating nerve to relieve interstitial symptoms are discussed below:
|Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)||Sacral Nerve Stimulation|
|Electrical impulses are used to relieve pelvic pain and strengthen the bladder muscles.||Sacral nerves are stimulated, which reduces the urgency to urinate.|
|Electrical wires are inserted in the lower back area or above the pubic area to send mild electrical impulses.||Thin wires are inserted near sacral nerves sending impulses to the bladder.|
Applying hot compresses, performing kegel exercises, using baking soda, increasing your intake of turmeric, lowering your stress level, and avoiding harmful inflammatory foods are some of the several homemade therapies that can help you with IC symptoms. Before trying the above-discussed natural remedy, you must tell your doctor if you also suffer from any other medical problem.