Conditions, IC Stories, Interstitial Cystitis

How I Healed from Interstitial Cystitis

In this post I’d like to get a bit more personal rather than practical. I would like to talk about how I healed from interstitial cystitis.

Contrary to common belief, I have experienced on myself that it is possible to recover from this condition. I believe that this is possible for each of us but that the journey might be a different one.





Why?

Because the body always tries to heal…When we have a wound, it heals. If we get an infection we get a fever and combat it.

We just need to let the body do its job.

How I got interstitial cystitis

Chronic disease is usually multi-factorial and therefore there probably is no one trigger, but multiple ones.

I have always been prone to bladder problems and so has my mother and relatives on her side of the family.

My earlier experiences consisted of bladder infections and sometimes overactive bladder (especially when I got cold).

Later, this turned into full blown urinary tract infections that also affected my kidneys.

I also suffered from IBS for most of my life, although I was never aware of it.

Then, a few things happened in my life: I went through an extremely stressful period that included graduating from uni and a break-up and I lived in a cold and mouldy house and my immune system was suffering.

When I went on a holiday to Switzerland, where it was extremely cold, I got another bladder infection. I couldn’t be bothered to go to the doctor over there and left it untreated.

The infection travelled up to my kidneys.

A circle of antibiotics and recurrent infections began.

After a few courses of antibiotics, the bladder pain and the frequency started to be present constantly. Thinking it might be a ‘rest infection’ I took another course of antibiotics.

That’s when my interstitial cystitis and IBS really kicked off.

A stony path to healing

I have been raised by a mother who always favoured natural remedies over orthodox medication so I was reluctant to follow the orthodox path. I had also not gotten much help from the doctors I visited and felt thoroughly let down.

Additionally, I was not prepared to live a life in chronic pain. I could not imagine myself being someone who has a chronic disease!

It was starting to really get in the way of my life and relationships.

Therefore, I started looking for answers.

I came across candida and the raw vegan diet. Having already been a vegetarian for most of my life, the switch seemed to make sense. I started juicing and eating superfoods. I took natural antifungals to ‘kill off’ the candida I thought I had. I cut out sugar and processed foods.

6 months later, my bladder still hurt and my gut was on fire. I had extreme food intolerances and every bit of sugar or starch made my bladder flare up. I was cold all the time.

All the while, I kept researching.

Recovery from interstitial cystitis

Things finally started to get better when I learned about the gut microbiota and probiotics. I started eating fermented foods and felt better. But the pain was still there.

Two books then changed my approach completely: Nourishing Traditions and The Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I learned how animal foods contain nutrients important for gut and bladder wall integrity and hormone health. I learned how the gut microbiota can make or break our health and how antibiotics kill these bacteria. I realized I had many of the symptoms associated with poor gut health and nutrient deficiencies.

I decided that I needed to put animal foods back into my diet. When I first started to eat eggs again, I could not get enough of them. My body was craving them so much, I couldn’t think of anything else. My body was clearly telling me something!

I started consuming bone broth and a few months later I ate meat for the first time in over twenty years.

Then I went on the GAPS diet to heal my gut.

After 6 months on the GAPS diet my interstitial cystitis was gone!

Steps I took that helped me recover from interstitial cystitis

  • I cut out sugar, processed foods, grains, dairy (apart from fermented dairy), soy and hydrogenated oils
  • I consumed nutrient dense natural animal and plant foods
  • I only consumed organic vegetables and grass-fed/free range meats
  • I consumed probiotic rich fermented foods
  • I consumed glycine rich bone broth and gelatine that contain nutrients needed for gut and bladder wall repair
  • I consumed healthy fats including butter, ghee and coconut oil and upped my omega 3 intake from cod liver oil
  • I removed foods I was intolerant to
  • I removed toxic cleaning products and personal care full of chemicals and switched to natural products
  • I removed plastics
  • I spent time outside

Conclusion

Although my case is only anecdotal evidence, the steps I took to finally recover all have evidence behind them.

I finally healed because I let my body heal. I removed things that stood in the way of healing and added things that supported healing.

Today I follow a paleo type of diet and I am healthier and stronger than I have ever been.

My interstitial cystitis only flares up very occasionally and briefly (usually if I’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with me or if I’m extremely stressed).

I believe that the steps I took can help anyone to feel better and that chronic disease does not have to be a sentence for life.

Making changes is not easy – but neither is being in pain!

Now I’d like to hear from you. Are you suffering from interstitial cystitis? Have you made changes and felt better, or have you recovered fully? Let me know in the comments!


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How I Healed from Interstitial Cystitis | Bladder-Help.com

4 Comments

  • Reply

    Rosie

    June 27, 2017

    Hi Layla.

    I really love your page – I have recently discovered this link between leaky gut/bladder and IC and want to start a diet. However I am seeing some cross overs that seem to contradict – ie. I know that soya is a huge flare for my IC however the diet says that we need to consume more fermented products? when you set out on this diet did you experience flare ups and just hope for it to be worth it? any advise would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply

      Layla

      June 27, 2017

      Hi Rosie, thank you! What kind of diet are you looking to go on? I experienced a lot of flare ups when I went on a raw vegan diet. Once I introduced animal foods again and went on the GAPS diet nothing got worse (the pain was constant anyways) and after 6 months the pain slowly went away. I’d be wary of soya as it is quite an inflammatory food and an allergic trigger for many people. Fermented foods, though generally beneficial because they contain friendly bacteria in their raw state, can be an issue as many IC sufferers have raised mast cells/histamine and fermented foods contain histamine, which may exacerbate symptoms. Fermented products don’t have to be soy either, sauerkraut would probably be a better choice (though if you do want to eat soy, have a fermented form as it’s more beneficial). Healing can make us feel worse first (i.e. produce herxheimer reactions) but the way to gauge if a diet is working would be that after a short period of feeling worse you start feeling better (this may move up and down a bit).

  • Reply

    createinhimalways

    July 30, 2017

    Layla, thank you so much for your great information. Do you remember if your IC became much worse when you began your protocol? I did fodmaps for a month and then moved into the GAPS right after that and have been following it for a month. The IC is worse than usual though at this point. I am feeling discouraged. Any advice/encouragement?

    Thank you, Angie

    • Reply

      Layla

      July 31, 2017

      Hi Angie, I don’t remember the IC getting worse at that point but I had some other ‘healing symptoms’ for a while such as skin rashes and a cough. Before, when I did raw/vegan/juicing my IC got worse an that was not a healing effect it was in fact just getting worse from that diet.
      There can be some initial worsening of symptoms (potentially due to unfriendly bacteria dying off) but this should get better after a couple of weeks. If it keeps getting worse, the diet isn’t working for you – in this case don’t think you need to try harder but try something else (like AIP). Also ask yourself if sticking to the diet is causing you a lot of stress, as stress can be a massive flare for IC.

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