Overcoming Interstitial Cystitis (IC) Naturally
If you are suffering from IC, you are most likely worried that there is very little help available. This is particularly worrying, when we are so often told it is a lifelong, debilitating condition that can only be managed with a very strict diet and/or medications.
IC, also known as painful bladder syndrome, came on my radar when a family member of mine had a UTI, diagnosed with a positive culture, following a period of prolonged stress. After taking a cause of antibiotics from her GP the symptoms of the UTI remained. So, another culture was taken, only this time it came back negative for infection. She was simply told there was nothing wrong. However, she was in pain and rushing to the bathroom every 20 minutes, whereas before her UTI there were no problems at all. Clearly, something was wrong.
UTI SYTMPTOMS DESPITE NEGATIVE CULTURES
The problem with cultures run by GP clinics is the amount of bacteria picked up in the culture needs to be relatively high for a UTI to be diagnosed. This means that low grade infections, or partially treated infections are often missed and left to linger, causing chronic, low grade cystitis-type symptoms. After several months of suffering and being confined to home, this was confirmed by my relative when she paid privately for a different kind of culture to be performed, which showed up bacteria levels just below the NHS threshold for detecting a UTI.
In fact, low levels of bacteria are a very common cause of chronic cystitis/IC. What’s more, most UTIs are caused by ecoli bacteria, whereas it’s not uncommon to find other bacteria lying behind cases of IC, such as Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus for example. In fact, in some cases, healthy bacteria is detected in the bladder, which can cause symptoms because it shouldn’t be in the bladder – when this occurs it is a good indicator of digestive issues affecting the bladder.
The good news is that with a tailored program of natural medicine many women are able to live completely normal lives. The key to treating IC is identifying the underlying cause and correcting this. For some women this can encompass several factors. These range from underlying low grade bacterial infections (which don’t show up on a normal culture), hormonal imbalances, mold, Candida, SIBO, pelvic floor issues, digestive issues, sacroiliac joint problems, and more. The first step is to unravel what has caused the IC symptoms. This is done via a consultation and possibly functional testing.
Symptoms experienced include:
- Urinary frequency (more than 7-8 times per day, sometimes up to 60 times)
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Urinary urgency
- Bladder pain
It mainly affects women, which account for about 90% of cases. It affects any age group, from children up to post-menopausal women. However, by the age of 30, many will have experienced at some point a urinary issue.
NATURAL INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS TREATMENT
Once the underlying cause has been established a program is tailored to address these issues. Natural antibiotics are often used in the treatment of IC, as bacteria is nearly always present. In addition, digestive health is often implicated too, and usually goes hand-in-hand with IC. Often, people with urinary issues have a history of taking many antibiotics, and this too is an area that is frequently worked on. Other factors that can play a role are all individually addressed also. Vitamins, herbs, specific probiotics, natural antibitoics, homeopathics and diet are all things that can be used, depending on the underlying causes identified.
One thing of note is stress. Stress is such a common trigger for IC, and this too is something that can be helped with herbs and nutritional support.
IC is something I’m treating more and more in my practice, as well as recurring cystitis. This in part is due to the declining effectiveness of antibiotics, and the lower levels generally given as awareness of antibiotic overuse has grown.
When IC comes about, it is a warning light that your body needs help and attention. Making the decision to treat this condition by peeling back the layers that have caused it to come about will help to free you of the debilitating and life changing condition. What’s more, it will help set you on the path to good health generally, which in turn leads you enjoy a full and happy life.
If you are interested to find out more, call 01379 307707 to discuss further.