I'm sure we all wish we could go back in time and do something to avoid getting IC. Although there is nothing we can do now other than to manage it the best we can, perhaps by understanding the urinary disorder, we can help others keep their bladders healthy.
Potential causes of interstitial cystitis
Although no exact cause has yet been pinpointed, I have come up with a few potential causes of interstitial cystitis based on personal experience and research.
- It could be genetic. Studies show that there seems to be a genetic link to IC, but further research is needed.
- It could be an autoimmune reaction or allergy.
- There could be a defect in the protective bladder lining. A leak in the epithelium may allow toxic substances in urine to irritate your bladder wall.
- The bladder lining could be damaged from infection. Although it could have a genetic component, I believe my bladder wall started to become damaged the first time I got a urinary tract infection. After my third infection, the pain never went away.
Ways to avoid getting interstitial cystitis
Unfortunately, there may be nothing you can do to prevent the onset of IC. However, if you suffer from frequent bladder infections, you should know a few things that you can do to - hopefully - avoid getting this painful bladder disorder.
- Take your bladder health seriously. Do what you can to avoid getting infections: Urinate before and after intercourse, drink plenty of water, and relieve your bladder when you feel the need. Never hold it in if you can help it.
- If you do get a bladder infection, take steps to allow quick and complete healing. First, see your doctor for treatment and take your full prescribed course of antibiotics. Stay hydrated, but avoid acidic food and beverages, which can be more irritating (yes, even cranberry juice). Stick with water. Consider taking probiotics to replenish the healthy bacteria in your body. Avoid intercourse until you have completed your treatment, and wear breathable cotton undergarments.
**Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, and this article is not meant to replace professional medical advice. If you are suffering from urinary symptoms, please visit with your doctor immediately.
Interstitial Cystitis, University of Rochester Medical Center
Photo courtesy of Flickr / Britt-knee