Have You Ever Heard of Interstitial Cystitis?

We are continuing on our journey with discussing our topic on the pelvic floor. We hope you have enjoyed the most recent blogs we have posted.  So…. we continue on down on our pelvic floor journey to … Interstitial Cystitis. What the heck is that? Right!??

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic pain condition with both pelvic and urinary pain and symptoms. There is an inflammation in the bladder lining with potentially scarring in the bladder. It usually appears as if you have the feeling of a urinary tract infection, but you go to your doctor the test is negative for a bacterial infection or a urinary infection. IC has usually an unexplained pressure or pain in the location of the bladder and pelvis. Many people report it as severe pain often more intense than the pain associated with bladder cancer.

These are some of the common symptoms associated with IC:

  • Feeling the need to urinate right away
  • Needing to urinate often
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Also could have irritable bowel syndrome and/or fibromyalgia
  • Blood in urine
  • Urinary retention and/or hesitancy
  • Could have triggered an increase bladder and pelvic pain with eating and drinking the following: caffeine, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, citrus fruits, hot peppers, and artificial sweeteners

I wanted to share a little about my journey with interstitial cystitis. I was diagnosed about 3 years ago with interstitial cystitis. I had what I thought was frequent urinary tract infections. I had increased bladder and pelvic pain after sustaining an injury to my back from a fall.  I had frequent urination and burning but also increased problems with constipation. So why all of this personal information ?? I know ….TMI.. right?!!

The interesting part about this is that the doctors pretty much described it as something I would just have to “live with”. They told me to start to eliminate certain foods and drinks from my diet. The doctors also said that I would have to eat and to drink this way from now on. I did ask for a prescription to complete physical therapy, but I had to insist upon it. They also wanted to give me medications to control the pain but I didn’t ever take them. I felt very much like they had the classic opinion that “I just needed to relieve stress and lose weight”.

I began myofascial release physical therapy actually in San Antonio and we were able to complete pelvic floor treatments. It was amazing that immediately I started to feel a release and a relief upon the first treatment. The burning pain lessened and stopped. I no longer had increased urinary frequency and constipation improved. I could actually sit for more than 1-2 minutes without pain–HUGE!  My myofascial release therapist explained to me that the pelvic floor myofascial release treatments were actually changing the biochemical environment and chemistry in the bladder, the bladder lining, and the pelvic floor. I did not have to take medications. The frequent feeling of UTIs stopped and I felt so much better. I did have to change my diet to be honest but I found I didn’t have to so restrictive all of the time in what I chose to eat. I felt great hope and great relief.

I wanted to share my story as to give anybody suffering with interstitial cystitis some hope and offer the idea of coming into Monarch Physical Therapy to try a stent of pelvic floor treatments with us. It is amazing work!

Please feel free to share any of your stories or questions with this blog…..it might actually help someone else’s life! You are not alone in this journey. Talking about these topics is very healthy!


Amber Drabek, PT

Amber Drabek
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Have You Ever Heard of Interstitial Cystitis?


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