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Interstitial Cystitis vs. Chronic Cystitis PDF Print E-mail

Chronic Cystitis vs Interstitial Cystitis

Initially, Chronic Cystitis and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) symptoms are very similar. The difference being that, in time, even though it may take a long time, chronic cystitis can be cured, usually with an extended period on antibiotics. Finding the right antibiotics that work best may also take time. The chronic cystitis patient finds they feel much better on antibiotics, but when the antibiotics are withdrawn, symptoms again begin to manifest. Interstitial Cystitis, on the other hand, at least at this point, is incurable. Antibiotics may help relieve some of the symptoms but will not relieve all of them even after many months of treatment. One of the reasons for this may be that the weakened bladder lining of IC is more susceptible to infection and even a low level of infection can cause IC symptoms, if that diagnosis is made.

The diagnosis process between these two conditions can be very frustrating! However, it is important to cooperate with your physician through this process; this is the only way they can truly diagnose between the two. One reason is that our current culturing techniques are designed to find acute infections, and are limited in their ability to find chronic, low-level infections that still cause symptoms. So, until better testing techniques are available, we are stuck with a pragmatic approach to treatment. Either way, though, your bladder is inflamed and irritated and the daily pain can be difficult! Here are some coping tools that can help get you through:

AZO or Uristat: This an over-the-counter medication that will help relieve some of your bladder symptoms. Make sure you get the origninal AZO not the one with cranberry! A word of warning, it turns the urine orange and stains about everything. The prescription name for this is Pyridium (phenazopyridine hydrochloride); this is helpful if you have good prescription medical coverage since they don't pay for over-the-counter medications. Ask your doctor about taking it, as well as dosages. Another warning, try not to take it 48-hours before a doctors visit where a urine test is done. If you do, make sure to tell them since it can affect the test results.

Ice or heat: Soaking in a warm bath with baking soda added is very soothing as well as using a heating pad for short periods. You can also use the instant heat pads when you have to be on the go. Ice can also help relieve especially the burning type pain.

Foods: Watching bladder-irritating foods is a good way to also help the bladder to heal. The big 5 triggers of bladder pain include: 1) tomatoes, 2) caffeine (soda, coffee, tea, chocolate), 3) alcohol, 4) cranberries, and 5) smoking.

D-Mannose: Cranberry is often recommended for infections since it does help keep some types of bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. The acidity, though, can irritate an already painful bladder. An alternative to this is taking blueberry instead since it works the same but is less acidic, or using a product called D-Mannose. D-Mannose is made from the sugars in cranberry and blueberry that actually wash the bacteria out of the system, not allowing them to attach to the bladder lining. This can be bought in powder or capsule form. It has little taste and can be added directly to water since it is cheaper in the powder form. Many, if not most, fruits are also very acidic and irritating to the bladder as well. Some that are usually safe are pears, watermelon, and blueberry. There are several things that can help reduce the acidity of foods.

Prelief/Baking Soda: One is taking a product called Prelief. It is an over-the-counter medication sold by most pharmacies. Another way is taking baking soda internally which can also calm an irritated bladder. Some doctors recommend adding one teaspoon to a cup of water and drinking it. I, personally, cannot stand the taste so find it helpful to put into capsules. You can buy empty gelatin capsules at most health food stores as well as a capsulizer that makes filling them quick and easy.

Probiotics: One way you can also help yourself is by watching for, and doing your best, to prevent yeast infections. Yeast overgrowth, unfortunately, is a common side effect of antibiotics, especially when a patient is on them for a long time. The reason is that antibiotics kill the good bacterial flora in the vaginal and intestinal tract along with the bad bacteria. Using a good probiotic helps to put these back into your system. Find a good probiotic (or acidophilus) that contains FOS. FOS helps to keep the bacteria alive. There are many good products out there which all claim to be the best. Taking the ones that are refrigerated or freeze-dried, etc. in a way that preserves the number of live bacteria is very important. It is best to take probiotics on an empty stomach and several hours away from taking your antibiotics. Since women are just more prone not only to urinary tract infections but also yeast infections, probiotics can also be actually put into the vaginal tract using a water douche. Empty the probiotic capsule into the water before using it to wash out the vagina. Soaking in a bathtub with a few drops of tea tree oil helps prevent yeast infection, as well as being antibacteria. (This also might help to prevent infections before intercourse). There are several other products that can kill yeast and the bad bacterial without damaging the good flora, these include a product called Silverbiotics from American Biotech Labs. This, in itself, works as an antibiotic but it also kills yeast. It can be taken orally or used by large medicine eyedropper or syringe to shoot it into the vagina as well. A small spray bottle works well on the external tissues, etc., too. MSM is an anti-inflammatory natural medicine that many have noticed also seems to help control yeast infections. Since yeast feeds on sugars, cutting down or limiting your sugar intake can reduce the risk of yeast infections. Wearing all-cotton underwear, loose-fitting clothing and keeping the genital area dry also helps to avoid them.

However, even using preventatives, you may get a yeast infection. If you see signs of a yeast infection, such as itching, discharge, odor, etc., let your doctor know. He/she may want you to use over-the-counter medications to treat it first but if it becomes an ongoing issue they can prescribe different medications that are designed to kill off the yeast. Keeping a yeast infection under control is also very important to diagnose since the signs can often confuse or mask urinary tract infection symptoms.

For more information or support, contact Shelly Matthewson at . I am not a doctor and all treatments should be discussed with your physician. This information is only designed to help provide patient-to-patient support.


Jul 05, 2015 at 09:19 AM

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