Interstitial cystitis affects between one and two million people in the United States, with women outpacing men by as much as eight to one. If you find yourself in this group, you know all too well the pain, discomfort, and quality-of-life issues that come with this chronic disorder. Fortunately, there are ways that you can get a better handle on the pain.
At Bela Vida Urogynecology, our team of women’s health specialists treats a wide range of gynecologic and urology-related conditions, helping women in the greater Orlando, Florida area lead happy, healthy lives. So, if you’re struggling with interstitial cystitis, our goal is the same, and we offer several treatments that can help you gain the upper hand on your pain.
To give you an idea of your options, here are five ways to alleviate the pain caused by interstitial cystitis.
There’s no known cure for interstitial cystitis (IC), but there are ways that we can help you manage your pain during a flare-up. For example, spot medications like ibuprofen can help with the inflammation in your bladder. There’s also an FDA-approved medication for IC called Elmiron®, which may help repair the problem in the lining of your bladder.
Other medications, such as antidepressants and antihistamines, have also been shown to provide relief.
Rest assured, we work with you until we find a medication that provides you with a respite from your pain.
2. Bladder instillations
When oral medications aren’t enough, we can try a bladder instillation, which is a technique in which we deliver pain- and inflammation-relieving medications directly into your bladder. The most common bladder instillation contains dimethyl sulfoxide, but heparin, Elmiron, and lidocaine are also options.
Typically, we need to perform the bladder instillations on a weekly basis for six to eight weeks, and then bi-weekly for an additional three or four months.
3. Targeted physical therapy
When it comes to a women’s pelvic health, the buzz word is Kegels, which are exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor. If you’re suffering from IC, we recommend that you NOT perform these exercises, which may exacerbate your condition. Rather, we can point you toward relaxation techniques and exercises that will help release scar tissue.
The InterStim is an implantable device that stimulates your sacral nerve in order to normalize the communication between your bladder and your brain. This treatment is largely used for treating incontinence and overactive bladder, but it can be effective for those who struggle with IC. The device is designed to help you gain better control over your bladder, which can offset the pain, as well.
This neuromodulator has found a place in treating incontinence quite effectively and medical experts have been experimenting with its use in treating IC. Botox has provided relief for many sufferers of IC by quieting the bladder, though results are varied so far.
The bottom line is that we will work with you until you find relief from your IC. Though the treatments above are interventional in nature, we also believe in the amazing power of reducing stress and lifestyle changes that will keep your IC from flaring.
We’re happy to sit down with you to come up with a holistic plan for your interstitial cystitis. Simply contact one of our two locations in Oviedo or Kissimmee to get started.