I never had a bladder instillation when I suffered from ‘interstitial cystitis’ – my doctor at the time couldn’t even diagnose me, so I didn’t get to try any conventional treatment for IC. In my desperation, I very quickly turned to natural interventions… and the rest is history.
We often speak of orthodox medicine as being ‘evidence based’ and anything ‘alternative’ as being ‘quackery’. I have long come to understand that a lot of ‘alternative’ interventions are in fact very much following the newest evidence but also that ‘quackery’ (and maybe more importantly ego) can be found in all walks of medicine.
So far, I’ve mostly stayed away from writing about conventional treatments and it’s not my intention to slag anything off. But after hearing from so many sufferers I’ve spoken to that instillations have not helped them, I wanted to see if their use is actually evidence-based.
After having suffered for two years of what I now understand was ‘Interstitial Cystitis’, years of researching and writing about bladder health and working with clients who suffer from chronic bladder issues I’ve gathered some key points to consider.
If you don’t want to read through all the information I have compiled on this blog, I think this could be a good starting point for anyone afflicted with these problems.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is one of the few allopathic medicines that seems to be rather popular in functional medicine circles.
I have heard of people taking it for interstitial cystitis and therefore wanted to investigate the why and how it could be used and whether its use makes sense for this condition.
I often use a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) test as a cheap way of getting an idea of my client’s main mineral levels in the body.
One pattern that I often see is a high calcium level, along with lowered magnesium (as well as potassium and boron). I personally also had this pattern.
Not everyone with this pattern has bladder issues, but I do believe that high calcium levels together with lowered magnesium might contribute to them.
Many chronic lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) may actually be associated with undetected chronic infections . Testing is still based on the assumption that the bladder is sterile (and it’s not!) – I have written about the problems with gold standard urine testing in the past.
Today I would like to give you a list of some alternatives to standard urine testing.
Hippocrates already said over 2000 years ago that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. Today, we’re understanding more and more how right he was.
For me personally, gut issues preceded the onset of chronic cystitis and interstitial cystitis. When my gut was at its worst, so was my bladder. I have no doubt that, similarly to many other conditions, the gut is implicated in bladder problems.
I have been mainly clear of bladder symptoms for over 3 years now. One of the few things that can still flare up interstitial cystitis symptoms for me are B vitamin complex supplements. These tend to cause a burning sensation and a slight loss of bladder muscle tone. There is a reason why B vitamin supplements can be a problem for IC sufferers, which I’d like to share with you today.
Amino acids are derived from protein and they are the main building blocks in the body. For example, they are used to make hormones, neurotransmitters and enzymes. Some of them are essential, meaning they need to be taken in from the diet, whilst the others can be manufactured in the body.
As you hopefully can see from the above, amino acids are pretty important. But some of them can become problematic for people with bladder pain. These are tyrosine, tryptophan, tyramine and phenylalanine (called the ‘arylalkylamines’).
When I first had interstitial cystitis (IC), I started looking at diet and lifestyle changes that might help me get better. Exercise is generally considered to be health promoting, so I decided to include it in my routine. I knew quite a few people who were jogging regularly and decided to give it a go myself, since it required no special equipment or gym membership.
However, each time I did go for a run I would get a massive flare of my IC symptoms, as well as the urge to run to the toilet.
I eventually abandoned jogging (mainly because I was chronically fatigued and couldn’t do much at all). I only recently came across an explanation as to why jogging may not be so great for the bladder and I thought I’d share it with you!
If you have been following this blog for a while you’ll hopefully know about the role of the microbiome in health, including bladder health. I’ve posted about this topic several times. Today I’d like to look more specifically at the bladder microbiota and interstitial cystitis (IC).