What is Interstitial Cystitis and how does it relate to Endometriosis?

What is Interstitial Cystitis and how does it relate to Endometriosis?

To be honest I had never even heard of this condition until a few months ago. I figured my symptoms that I had with my bladder, were all related to the Endometriosis and didn’t think it could actually be a completely separate condition. What’s interesting about Interstitial Cystitis is that many of the symptoms we experience with Endo, are very similar.

Okay, so what is Interstitial Cystitis?

Essentially, it is an inflammatory condition. This inflammation causes scaring and the bladder to stiffen. This affects how our bladders expand and react to pressure. In 90% of IC Cases there are pinpoint spots of bleeding which are visible in the lining. In 5% of cases there are ulcers or sores develop in the lining of the bladder. – so very similar to Endo.

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Urgency to go to the toilet
  • Pain if you don’t go straight away
  • Pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain worsens during menstruation

For me, the pain and symptoms seem to be predominantly on the left side of my body. I notice it more when I am travelling or doing more sitting and not enough movement.

 

What can we do about it?

I know instinctively we kinda want to know if we definitely have IC. Thing is, the tests to assess whether you do or don’t are quite painful and your approach would be no different than if you have Endometriosis. It is an inflammatory reaction by the body. The same as with Endometriosis. Commonly called an autoimmune response by the body.

An overproduction of histamine – like allergies.

It is quite likely that us endo girls also suffer from IC. It is quite common to have both – hence the symptoms may appear to be just endo but could be IC to go with it.

The good news is that you may not have Endo as bad as you might be thinking. I know sometimes my IC is so bad, that I think endo is going full steam ahead. I found IC much easier to treat and resolve the symptoms easily.

 

Here are things that I have done that seem to help:

  • Drink heaps of water. This is massively important! I notice a massive difference when I slack off on my water.
  • Avoid acidic drinks and sugary drinks. I found Cranberry juice to be one of the worst ones. Alcohol, coffee and black teas will also make it worse.
  • Avoid acidic or spicy foods. I find tomatoes seem to affect me almost instantly.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises
  • Eat heaps of water filled fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase the natural diuretics in your diet. Lemon with hot water is brilliant! Cucumber, Parsley, Dill and green stuff.
I find if I have a really bad case of it, I will find a natural treatment option through a Naturopath or Chinese Doctor for Bladder Infections and that seems to calm it right down.

 

So, what is our overall approach then?

  • Avoid inflammatory foods like meat, dairy and grains
  • Use heat packs with Castor oil to help the body flush out the toxins in the area, which are indirectly causing the auto immune response
  • Get the blood flowing in the area. Yoga is brilliant for this or even just going for a walk will help. I find sitting for extended periods of time seems to make it worse.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes. This inhibits movement in the body and lymphatic system.
Do you suffer from IC? What have you found works well for you? What makes it worse?

 

Big hugs,

PS: If you want to figure out how to manage endometriosis naturally, sign up to my free REACH Kickstarter program. Simply click here to sign up. 

Share your thoughts...

  1. Hello Melissa!
    Thanks for all your post, all are very useful! .
    First at all excuse me for my English, Im from South America and don’t speech your language, but I do an effort for you to understand me.
    My Mother is 67 years old and she suffer IC during the last year. She don’t have any infection but, during her young years she had urethral stricture twice. And she have Endometriosis caused for many, many years of use HRT but she never shown symptoms. Today she is on treatment for it, and it seems to work well.
    About the IC she visit an specialist but he said that the only thing he could do to help her was to place a medicine named Rimso 50 into the bladder. Until now she had 5 administers of Rimso, she feels a tittle better but the pain and burning sensation don’t left her…
    Well, she do all things you said like forget coffee, tomatoes, acids, etc. Also she try acupuncture but didn’t works. Now Im working on persuade her to go Yoga classes! its not easy….
    And I want to ask you for a tip you mention in your post: “Use heat packs with Castor oil to help the body flush out the toxins in the area, which are indirectly causing the auto immune response”.
    Is it mean to apply castor oil over your underbelly and then use the heat pack? or in your country there are some kind of heat pack that contains castor Oil or seeds of it? Or did you mean to ingest castor oil? excuse me please, may be is a grammatical trek that I don’t recognize… 🙁
    Thanks for your help!

  2. I found your website last night and have spent hours reading it. Thank you for all this information! I have endo and have been struggling to find solutions for years, often giving up and just relying on pain meds, which have wreaked havoc on my intestinal flora, etc. Before last night I had never heard of IC. I really can’t believe it, after all these years. I’m excited to try the natural remedies you provide for endo and for IC, as I think I may have it too, which would explain many of my symptoms. Melissa, in other articles you write about a Bicarbonate drink that you make and drink of soda and corn silk. Is this also something you recommend drinking daily, in the morning? If so, what kind of soda (baking soda?) and how much of it and the corn silk to you put into the water?

    I know I’ll have many more questions as I read on. Thanks again. I feel both excited and relieved to have your site as a resource and to be able to tap into a great community of women who are tackling similar issues.

    • Hi Lee-Ann and welcome 🙂
      I would drink the bicarb with water only once a day on an empty stomach. It is mainly designed to reduce acidity in the body. One teaspoon in a glass of water and down it. I wouldn’t do this as the only solution though. IC and endo are inflammatory conditions, so the key is to reduce inflammation. You do this the best by increasing foods that are anti-inflammatory like fruits and veg and cut down on the inflammatory ones like meat, sugar and dairy. I would have the corn silk on the days where your IC is really sore but not too often. I would also add lemon in water each day – it is alkaline on the body. Just cut a slice of lemon and put some hot water over it and drink it all day – just top it up. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Man Oh my I thought I was alone in this as well. 🙂 but I to suffer from it & its horrible. I didn’t even know what it was until I was diagnosed with endometriosis. It’s like If I don’t go to the restroom when I need to all hell breaks loose. I been trying to have a healthy diet & try different recipes that goes with it but I haven’t found anything yet. Id like to get more ideas on what everyone else & what they eat in their diet. Any responses help & would be gladly appreciated.

    • It has heaps to do with diet. I found eating and drinking heaps of natural diuretics made a huge difference. For instance, I might eat a whole raw cucumber or drink parsley tea. It works wonders! I will write an article on Diuretics soon 🙂

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