Interstitial Cystitis, or IC, is a chronic, painful bladder condition where your bladder gets irritated easily. The symptoms can mimic a bladder infection but when tests are done, there’s no infection present. It’s a difficult condition to deal with, as you know if you’re living with it. But there are things you can do to keep IC from taking over your life.
1. Learn about It
If you have Interstitial Cystitis, then the first thing you want to do is learn about it. Your doctor is an excellent place to start for information. They probably have several pamphlets or booklets that can give you the basic information on the condition. There’s also more information available online. The more you know, the better you can deal with it.
2. Work with Your Doctor
Your doctor is your advocate in dealing with IC. If you aren’t already seeing an urologist then you probably should ask for a referral. They’re most knowledgeable about the treatments available to you. There are different options that can be used in dealing with Interstitial Cystitis including medication, surgical procedures and more. Ask them to explain these to you at your next appointment.
3. Keep a Food and Beverage Journal
Individuals that struggle with IC are usually affected by the things they eat and drink. When you’re first diagnosed, you generally don’t know what things do and don’t cause your IC to flare up. Your doctor can be instrumental in helping you to learn the common foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder. It can take time to figure out which things do and don’t bother you personally. Keeping a food and beverage journal can help you see the patterns in your IC flare-ups.
4. Avoid Your Triggers
After some time has passed, you’ll be able to see what your triggers are. Once you know, it’s best to minimize or totally avoid them. I’ve been dealing with IC for several years now and I know that carbonated beverages and coffee are things that can cause my symptoms to flare up. I try my best to stay away from them or at least only have them on rare occasions. Finding other things you enjoy in place of trigger foods and beverages can be helpful.
5. Become Friends with Water
Water is your best friend when you’ve got Interstitial Cystitis. Water is very good at promoting bladder health among many of its benefits. It’s the best drink for you, especially if you’re an IC sufferer. However, you may become bored with water when that’s practically all you drink. Tips I’ve learned are to buy my favorite brand of bottled water or add fruit slices.
6. Talk to Your Partner
Interstitial Cystitis can affect intimacy with your partner. Sometimes you may not be able to be together sexually because your IC is flaring. It’s good to talk about this openly and help your partner understand what’s happening. Thankfully, this usually isn’t an issue for an extended amount of time once you’re working with an urologist and following their advice. After your symptoms are under control, episodes generally become much rarer.
7. Manage Your Symptoms
The biggest key to living with IC is to manage your symptoms. This means you take control of them before they control your life. This requires you to actively do what you need to do to feel your best. It can be a hassle but it can greatly improve the quality of your life. If what you’re doing isn’t working, tell your doctor. There’s more than one treatment plan to dealing with IC.
These are 7 steps to help you live your best life with Interstitial Cystitis. How long have you been dealing with IC? You’re welcome to share your IC stories.