Managing your symptoms is part of living well with interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is a chronic, unpredictable condition that causes bladder pressure and pain. Symptoms vary from person to person, but the urge to urinate frequently and pain in the pelvic region is common.
While there’s no foolproof way to prevent IC, treatment that includes lifestyle changes can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. By working closely with a urologist like Dr. Dupont, together you can develop a program that works for you.
Read on to find out some of the changes that help relieve symptoms of IC and talk them over with her when you come in for a visit.
Steer Clear of the 3 Cs
Most IC patients notice flare ups after eating certain foods. Not everyone has the same triggers. However, the culprits that are most bothersome for patients with IC are citrus fruits and juices, carbonated beverages, and caffeinated drinks.
These foods and drinks contain substances, such as acids, that irritate the bladders of IC patients. Avoiding these foods can help reduce flare-ups and control symptoms.
Avoid Other Dietary Triggers
Many patients with IC also need to also avoid spicy foods and limit alcohol. You may have other dietary triggers. To find out if a certain food or drink is causing you problems, try eliminating it for a week or two before reintroducing it.
If you find that your symptoms improve during the elimination period and return upon reintroduction, chances are that may be a trigger for you.
It’s natural to cut back on water to try and reduce how much you urinate. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best approach. When you restrict your water intake, your urine becomes more concentrated, making your condition worse.
Adequate fluid intake is important for IC patients. More water dilutes the irritants, which helps reduce your symptoms and flare-ups. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip it throughout the day. Most patients with IC need at least eight glasses of water each day.
Practice Bladder Training
Bladder training can help relieve the symptoms of IC. It involves lengthening the time between trips to the restroom. The goal is to urinate based on a set schedule, not when you get the urge.
You may find this challenging in the beginning, if you get the urge to urinate frequently. With some practice, you’ll succeed at waiting longer without urinating.
The team at Dupont Institute can help you develop a bladder training program.
This typically involves taking note of when you use the bathroom and waiting certain intervals, like 30 minutes. You’ll gradually increase the intervals by five minutes until you gain more control over the urge to urinate. Many patients notice improvements within just a few weeks.
Stress is a common IC trigger and can make your pain and frequent urges worse, so managing your stressors may help. Taking time to de-stress with warm baths and practicing controlled breathing exercises to reduce stress can go a long way in preventing flare-ups.
At Dupont Institute we understand the complexity of IC. That’s why we offer a multidimensional approach to IC treatment that includes medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes to help you feel better. To gain control of your IC, call us or click the “appointment request” button here on the website to schedule an appointment.