HealthSheets™


Treating Interstitial Cystitis: Lifestyle Changes

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Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a type of bladder problem that causes the bladder wall to be tender and easily irritated. This can cause pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Interstitial cystitis can be treated in many different ways. This includes making certain lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms. Following are some common lifestyle changes that may be included as part of your treatment.

Avoiding certain foods

Your healthcare provider may advise you to avoid certain foods that can worsen your symptoms. These include alcohol, spicy food, chocolate, and caffeine. These can also include citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and carbonated drinks. Start by cutting certain foods out of your diet for a few weeks. Then, add the foods back into your diet. See whether this has any effect on your symptoms.

Retraining your bladder

Your provider may also recommend bladder retraining. This involves holding urine in for longer and longer periods. The goal is to stretch the bladder and increase the amount the bladder can hold.

Managing stress

In addition, your provider may teach you various methods to help manage the stress in your life. Stress does not cause interstitial cystitis, but it can make your symptoms worse. Meditation, massage, and yoga are some good ways to relax and relieve stress. Exercise can help relieve stress as well. You may want to start with walking or swimming. These activities are less likely to cause symptoms and may be easier for you to do regularly. Another important lifestyle change that your doctor may prescribe is the use of pelvic myofascial exercises.

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