What Are the Treatment Options For Interstitial Cystitis?

Did you know that one to five people out of 100,000 live with interstitial cystitis (IC)? Even more, up to 12% of women in the population are living with early symptoms of the condition.

All of these people are dealing with bladder pain, pelvic pain, pelvic pressure, and overall discomfort. Some people are even dealing with ulcers on their bladder.

There is no cure for the condition yet, but there are several treatment options for interstitial cystitis. If you’re interested in knowing what the options are, keep reading. We have the most updated knowledge that you need right now.

Interstitial Cystitis Treatments

For many patients with interstitial cystitis, a combination of many treatments is the best way to go. These patients should see their physician so that they can talk about what their options are based on the kind and progression of their interstitial cystitis.

It’s important to note that some patients have to go through several trial and error processes before they find the right combination. So, all patients with interstitial cystitis should work closely with their doctors to find the right treatment plan for them.

If a physician hasn’t seen you for this condition yet, here’s what you can expect from your first visit.

Interstitial Cystitis Pain Medications

Physicians tend to focus on controlling and/or stopping the pain that comes with interstitial cystitis. And, there are plenty of options for pain medications when it comes to this condition. There are over-the-counter medications, non-narcotic pain medications, topical medications, and narcotic pain medications.

Usually, the physician will consider using these medications in that order. This is to avoid the complications that come with narcotics.

So, let’s start with over-the-counter medications. These do not require a prescription and are relatively harmless as long as you’re using them as your physician directs you to use them. Choices for interstitial cystitis include the following:

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • NSAIDs
  • Ibuprofen
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen sodium

If those aren’t working, your physician may turn to non-narcotic medications next. These require a prescription, but they aren’t as risky as narcotics:

  • Phenazopyridine plus
  • Urelle oral
  • Uribel
  • Utira

If those aren’t working for your pain, your physician may turn to topical treatments. These are medications that go directly on your skin:

  • Lidocaine patch
  • Vaginal and rectal diazepam
  • Topical amitriptyline

Lastly, your physician may turn to narcotic pain medications if you’ve tried other options without any relief. These medications can be addictive, but they are very effective at removing pain:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Methadone
  • Tapentadol

If you’re taking narcotic medications, you should stay in communication with your doctor about your pain. And, you shouldn’t stray from the prescription they’ve given you without their permission.

Interstitial Cystitis Diet

You may also be able to relieve the symptoms of interstitial cystitis by adjusting your diet. There are plenty of adjustments that patients have found to work for their condition:

  • Gluten-free diets
  • IC food list
  • Anti-yeast therapy
  • Alkaline diets
  • Nutrition supplements
  • IC-friendly recipes

Many patients even get tested for allergies to make sure that their symptoms aren’t a harsh reaction to eating the wrong things. 

When making diet modifications, it’s important to give it time. You’re not going to get results overnight from changing your diet. You have to wait a few days to a week to notice the results.

Interstitial Cystitis Lifestyle

Some lifestyle changes may also benefit those with IC. 

First, it’s important to manage your stress. A large amount of stress can exacerbate symptoms of the condition. So, patients should consider meditation, yoga, and the like.

Patients with interstitial cystitis should also consider managing their sleep. In order to care for your body, you need to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. So, you should aim for eight to nine hours of sleep a night to give your body the energy it needs to fight off IC.

Lastly, patients with IC may want to consider bladder retraining. Sometimes, interstitial cystitis can cause urinary frequency, causing patients to struggle with urinating on themselves, their beds, and more.

In order to control this, these patients may need to retrain their bladders. If you’re experiencing mild symptoms, you can even do this on your own.

All you have to do is hold your bladder in for longer than your body is urging you to go. For example, let’s say that you have to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. At the 30-minute mark, you should hold your bladder for 15 minutes.

If you’re feeling any pain, you should go to the bathroom. This exercise isn’t meant to harm you. Rather, it’s a retraining program for your bladder.

So, it may take some time for you to actually notice a difference in your bladder’s function.

Interstitial Cystitis Surgery

Surgical procedures are reserved for patients with extreme symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Typically, these are the patients who are having painful ulcers.

A trained professional can use laser technology to remove the ulcers from your bladder. This procedure is specifically helpful for Hunner’s ulcers.

Your physician may recommend a cystoscopy with hydrodistention if they’re down to the last resort. This means that they may recommend this procedure if you’ve tried every other treatment and lifestyle adjustment out there.

If this surgical procedure doesn’t work, they may recommend an augmentation cystoplasty. This is a procedure in which they would remove part of the bladder.

If your condition is affecting your entire bladder, they may remove your entire bladder. If this happens, your surgeon should be able to divert your urine to exit the body through a urinary conduit. Although, this doesn’t hold urine like the bladder did so you’ll need to wear a urinary stoma to collect the urine.

See an Experienced Physician

If you have interstitial cystitis or believe you may have it, you need to see an experienced physician. Luckily, our medical team is experienced in interstitial cystitis and similar conditions.

No matter what treatment you have your eye on, our team can help you decide the best choice for you.

Make an appointment today to get started.