Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic non-bacterial inflammation and/or breakdown of the bladder lining often associated with Chronic Pelvic Pain and Female Urethral Syndrome (FUS). Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) is just what it sounds like — pain that may occur anywhere the pelvis. This type of pain may occur in several places at once or move around within the pelvis from one day to the next. It may also be localized pain or radiate from the lower back into the pelvis, which makes a diagnosis more difficult.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is probably the most misdiagnosed urological condition — on average, a four-year delay exists between the onset of symptoms and an IC diagnosis. IC/CPPS is also a diagnosis of exclusion, often given to a patient after ruling out other potential problems. In addition, several studies suggest that the prevalence of IC in the United States is substantially underreported.
Even though physicians find it difficult to diagnose IC/CPPS…
- 17 million people suffer from overactive bladder syndrome
- 10.8 million have been diagnosed with IC
- 9 million people live with Chronic Pelvic Pain
- 2.5 million women suffer from a combination of IC/CPPS
- 2 million men have non-bacterial prostatitis
At Choices in Health, we believe IC and CPPS belong to a family of related conditions that may arise from widely different causes. Even when the symptoms are identical, the cause may vary from one patient to the next. The challenge is to determine the underlying cause for each patient and administer the proper care.
This family of related conditions includes the following:
Women & Men
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Overactive Bladder
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Pudendal Nerve Neuralgia
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary Urgency (urgent need to urinate)
- Dyspareunia (pain during intercourse)
- Female Ureteral Syndrome
- Vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain)
These conditions can occur by themselves, or a patient may have several of them at once. Successful treatment depends upon proper assessment of symptoms and a deep understanding the interconnected pathology between each symptom.
The urology team at Choices in Health specializes in uncovering the underlying causes of these symptoms and successfully treating them.
This family of IC/CPPS conditions arises from five interrelated components. These components frequently overlap one another. For example, a patient may have food sensitivities to gluten and dairy, unresolved emotional trauma from childhood, and sacroiliac joint misalignment from a car accident five years ago — all of which can lead to a chronic pelvic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, an overactive bladder, plus other symptoms that don’t appear to have any connection with each other.
With all five of these components interacting with each other, it’s no wonder why people with IC/CPPS often feel like they’re playing a game of Whac-a-mole with their symptoms.
The five interrelated components include
- Bladder and Urethral Lining
- Allergies/Sensitivities (food, household chemicals, environmental pollution)
- Smoking and other tobacco products
- Alcohol consumption
- Lumbo-sacral issues
- Sacroiliac joint misalignment
- Ligamental laxity or constriction
- Chronic pelvic floor imbalance
- Biomechanical issues in the lower extremities
- Myofascial strictures
- Surgical scars
- Nerve impingement/dysfunction
- Autonomic dysregulation
- Chronic pain
- Neurotransmitter abnormalities
- Unresolved emotional trauma
- Drink 8-10 glasses of pure water every day
- Limit bladder irritants (avoid eating anything you wouldn’t put on an open wound)
- Spicy foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Acidic foods
- Herbal/Homeopathic remedies
- Regularly engage the core muscles of the lower back, butt, and abdomen by attending Pilates, yoga, and core strengthening classes.
- Condition-specific Acupressure (Our on-staff acupuncturist teaches patients the precise acupuncture points to assist in healing the patient’s particular condition.)
- Partner-facilitated physical therapy (We teach both patient and their partner the specific physical therapy techniques and exercises to facilitate the patient’s healing at home.)
IC/CPPS Diagnostic Tools
- Medical history
- Physical exam
- Pelvic pain symptom score
- Bladder diary
- Urine culture
- Urinary Dynamic Study (UDS)
- Bladder scans
- Allergy testing
- Cystoscopy (with and without bladder distention)
- Potassium sensitivity test
At Choices in Health, we are keenly aware that not every kind of treatment is best for every body. This awareness, based on our more than 60 years of collective experience working with IC/CPPS, allows us to synthesize multiple factors and design individual treatment plans for each patient based on orthodox and complementary medicine.
We look for the causes beneath the symptoms. (Why are your bladder and pelvis in pain? How can we free you from this condition?) Our integrated approach to healing the whole person is based on a deep understanding of traditional medicine, and supported by proven therapies and leading-edge products/techniques.
We understand how debilitating IC/CPPS can be. Our treatment protocol begins by helping patients make simple lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, stress management). For many patients, these simple changes dramatically decrease symptoms.
When patients require additional care to regain their health, we rely on the following treatment areas.
Physical Therapy for IC/CPPS
- Cranio-sacral therapy
- Biofeedback/Electrical stimulation
- Frequency specific microcurrent
- Myofacial release
- Stanford Protocol