Immune | April 26, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
The bladder is a muscular sac located in the pelvis and functions as a urine reservoir, accommodating 300-600 ml of urine.
Bladder pain and irritation can occur at any age to both men and women, but is most common in adult women. Several problems can cause bladder pain. Common causes include:
As mentioned, the causes of interstitial cystitis – where there is irritation of the bladder wall but no infection - are unknown. However, up to 90% of patients report sensitivities to a wide variety of foods. According to Interstitial Cystitis Association, dietary changes should be your first line of defense. For some people it may be the only treatment they need, while others may need medications and lifestyle modification.
You may know from your own experience which foods and beverages appear to exacerbate your bladder symptoms. By eliminating items known to cause irritation, based on your own experience, you may avoid exacerbation of the symptoms, or reduce current pain and flare-ups.
Certain foods and drinks act as diuretics, irritating the bladder by stimulating it to increase urinary frequency, while others, such as spicy and acidic foods, may also cause bladder irritation. Studies of patients with the condition have identified the most bothersome foods as those containing caffeine, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato products, items containing vinegar, spicy food, alcohol, and certain artificial sweeteners.
Eliminate the top food triggers from your diet for a period of three weeks. If your symptoms improve during a three-week elimination period, carefully add foods back into your diet one at a time to see which are your personal triggering foods.
Note that although cranberry juice is often recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infections, in the case of interstitial cystitis, cranberry juice is very high in acid and can actually cause more irritation.
In the last 10-15 years wheat and gluten have received much negative attention. Many people have been switching to gluten-free diets, believing that gluten is inherently bad for their health. Could gluten be irritating your bladder?
Some reports suggest that many people with interstitial cystitis also have coeliac disease. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
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Even if you have been tested negative to coeliac disease, you may be sensitive to gluten. It is called non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. It means that you experience symptoms similar to those of coeliac disease following the ingestion of gluten-containing food.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect test for non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. If coeliac disease has been excluded, elimination diet is the best way to determine whether your symptoms improve when you avoid gluten.
Fresh is best. Avoid processed foods as they often contain irritating preservatives, artificial flavourings, and additives.
Behavioural therapy and stress management techniques can be used alongside dietary changes to improve your symptoms. For example:
Friedlander, J.I., Shorter, B. & Moldwin, R.M., 2012. Diet and its role in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and comorbid conditions. BJU International, 109(11), pp.1584–1591. Available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10860.x
Gill, B.C., et al., 2016. Bladder Anatomy. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1949017-overview#showall
Interstitial Cystitis Association, 2015. Celiac Disease. Available at: www.ichelp.org
Interstitial Cystitis Association, 2009. Understanding the Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome Diet. Available at: www.ichelp.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2017. Definition & Facts of Interstitial Cystitis. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/interstitial-cystitis-painful-bladder-syndrome/definition-facts
Rovner. E, S. et al., 2017. Interstitial Cystitis Treatment & Management. Medscape. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2055505-treatment#d11
Swati Jha, A. et al., 2007. Review Painful bladder syndrome and interstitial cystitis. Review, 9, pp.34–41. Available at: www.rcog.org.uk/togonline
Verghese, T.S. et al., 2016. Complementary therapies for bladder pain syndrome: a systematic review. International urogynecology journal, 27(8), pp.1127–36. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26642800