Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPR) is a chronic painful disorder affecting the lining of the bladder.
Interstitial Cystitis Pain, Frequent Urination and Incontinence
The symptoms can mimic a urinary tract infection and may include pain with urination, urgency, frequency, incontinence as well as painful intercourse.
For many with this disease symptoms the pain can be so severe that it can reduce quality of life and lead to anxiety and depression.
What causes it?
There are several current theories about the underlying cause of Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or BPS. It is believed that some combination of irritating triggers such as:
- systemic inflammation. with excess mast-cell activation, and glycosaminoglycan deficiency
- dietary factors such as highly acidic or oxalate-containing foods and lectins
- elevations in cortisol from long-term stress
One indicator of a systemic problem is the correlation between interstitial cystitis and cardiovascular disease. We now know that women diagnosed with IC have a significantly increased incidence of ischemic stroke 3 years after diagnosis.
Interstitial Cystitis – Treatment
Systemic Inflammation and Nutrient Depletion
To start with we need to consider the systemic inflammation and the nutrient depletion.
- Vitamin D – Pelvic floor disorder and pelvic pain are associated with a deficiency of vitamin D, which is an immunoregulatory hormone.
- Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – Low dietary intake of glucosamine and chondroitin can lead to deficient levels of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). These proteins are precursors to GAG formation and can be found in the cartilage of animals and seafood. Research is pointing to degenerative changes in the connective tissue of the bladder lining . The theory is that specific proteins called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs that support the transitional epithelial cells of the bladder lining become weak, effectively leading to a “leaky bladder” syndrome. GAGs have been found to reduce bladder permeability and local inflammation.
- Bioflavonoids are also widely used to reduce oxidative damage and improve immune function. They are highly anti-inflammatory and have been shown to decrease chronic inflammation in the bladder lining, making them an effective supplementation to GAG support.
Lastly, lifestyle factors must also be assessed.
- Poor sleep patterns may play a role in IC
- Lack of melatonin may play a role in IC
- Consistent daily exercise helps ward off inflammation anywhere in the body.