Pelvic Physical Therapy is the first line of treatment for Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain

Interstitial Cystitis, or IC as commonly referred to, is an enigmatic and often debilitating condition. Its symptoms are so unique that most sufferers compare their IC to having a UTI without having actual urinary tract infections. A lot of these symptoms can overlap with something called pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Is it not uncommon to see that treating pelvic floor and abdominal area can improve IC symptoms of urgency, frequency, straining, burning and pelvic pain.

What Is Interstitial Cystitis (IC)

The chronic, painful condition known as interstitial cystitis is more prevalent in women than men. Interstitial cystitis is unknown exactly why it occurs, and it is a diagnosis of exclusion and often doctors have to to be a specialist to diagnose and treat it.

Interstitial Cystitis begins with symptoms of urinary frequency (needing to go to the bathroom more often), urgency (feeling like you need to urinate immediately), and burning or pain during urination. These symptoms can be mild at first and worsen over time without treatment. In some cases, IC can cause other problems, such as bleeding from the bladder, pelvic pain, fatigue, and depression.

Symptoms of IC

The symptoms of IC vary from person to person. Some people experience constant discomfort, while others may have flares of pain that come and go without warning. Some people report feeling like they have a full bladder even when it's empty because the discomfort from IC is so intense that it feels like there's more urine in their bladder than there is. Others report needing to urinate more frequently than usual — sometimes as often as 60 times per day — but experience little relief because they still feel like they need to go again soon after leaving the bathroom.

Who Is At Risk?

Many different factors can increase your risk of developing Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS). These include:

Sex: Women are more likely than men to develop IC/BPS. However, men and women of all ethnic backgrounds can suffer from IC.

What Causes IC?

The exact cause of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome is unknown. The condition is believed to be caused by inflammation in the bladder wall lining (the interstitial layer), and this inflammation causes irritation and swelling, which leads to painful symptoms.

While diet and stress can trigger flare-ups of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome symptoms, they don't cause it directly.

Treatment of IC

Pelvic Physical Therapy is the first line of treatment for Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain Syndrome. Pelvic PT can help patients with IC/BPS by decreasing symptoms through manual therapy, exercise, and education.

Physical therapists perform manual therapy techniques to decrease inflammation in the bladder, pelvic floor muscles, and nerves.

In addition to manual physical therapy, therapists may also use:

● Biofeedback

● Electrical Stimulation

● Interferential Therapy

● Ultrasound

● Cold Laser

Finding a Specialist Is Vital For Proper Care

We hope you decide to explore this often-misunderstood condition. We understand that IC can be a confusing diagnosis to accept, but we want you to know that there is help, and now is the best time to stand up and start your journey towards healing.

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