Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
I want to share more about my struggles the past few months in hopes to encourage someone else out there struggling. I'm not embarrassed at all sharing this story (after infertility not much embarrasses me anymore..at least medical related!) but understand some women may feel ashamed or unsure of who to go to for help.
I saw two specialists for extreme bladder and pelvic pain, and they offered ZERO help. One just spent 5 minutes with me and prescribed two pharmaceuticals to mask the pain. He also said "you'd be more miserable if you had interstitial cystitis." I guess he didn't consider not being able to walk and being homebound for over two months as miserable??
So after seeing two specialists who didn't help me at ALL, I drove over an hour to see my more natural minded doctor (the same one who helped me through infertility and is a Napro trained doctor). He was able to diagnose me pretty quickly with interstitial cystitis and pelvic floor dysfunction. The pain has been intense and sometimes down right unbearable like I cant even walk. I've was home bound for two months and felt helpless. I couldn't sleep because I felt like my bladder was on fire or like a knife was scraping the insides of my bladder. I was running to the toilet every 15 minutes throughout the day and after I urinated still had no relief. I now know this pain was from interstitial cystitis, a chronic bladder condition.
I also had a pinching sensation in my pelvis that got worse if I lifted my 2 year old or even thought about exercising. Sometimes this pain was so bad, I couldn't walk. A few nights my husband came home from work and I would be laying in the fetal position crying my eyes out. I now know this pain was from uterine prolapse.
I don't share all these details to make you feel sorry for me or sound like I'm complaining. I just want other women out there that are experiencing this type of pain to know there is hope. There are things you can do to get better, and there are people who can help! I got started with a PT and have so far attended two sessions (they are painful). I'm by no means cured and there's a long road ahead..but I have seen improvements in my urinary frequency and pain so I'm very hopeful! And I've dove into the research much like I did with PCOS and it's fascinating how much nutrition can help to heal IC. IC has been a wake up call for me that I have some mega inflammation going on in my body.
So here's what I'm doing or have tried for IC.... some of these supplements are for postpartum anxiety, leaky gut and adrenal fatigue which in turn will help my IC. Please remember I'm not a medical doctor, but a dietitian who is very passionate about using real food and supplements to heal our body. Please consult your doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. I did a lot of research before starting these and I sought help from a naturopath:)
1. Probiotic- I think IC is an extension of leaky gut syndrome which I've struggled on and off with. I'm currently taking Prescript-Assist Probiotics. They are expensive but they have been working wonders for my GI symptoms! I think it's good to switch up your brands too every so often.
2. Myo-inositol- been taking this supplement during infertility and postpartum after each of my kids. It helps with blood sugar regulation!
3. Marshmallow Root- I tried this and didn't feel any relief from taking it but I've heard other women so it works wonders so worth a try. I took capsules but may try a liquid just to see if I respond better to it.
4. Aloe Vera- researched that this supplement can really help IC pain but didn't try it since I'm breastfeeding.
5. Vitamin D- Taking 3000 IUs/a day especially while nursing.
6. Rhodiola rosea- I take this for anxiety but not everyday. I know stress can make IC and PFD worse so really working on things to help me manage my stress and heal from adrenal fatigue. I alternate it with Theanine, but find the best results from Rhodiola.
7. Maca Powder- trying to rebalance my hormones and help with anxiety.
8. L-Glutamine- I take this supplement to help heal my leaky gut. I usually just add it to my smoothies in the morning.
9. Bone Broth or Collagen Peptides- I've been drinking bone broth (not the most tasty thing ever) but it's excellent in gut healing. I also add Vital Proteins collagen peptides to my smoothies when I can afford to buy it!
9. Yoga & Guided Imagery- I have trouble working out due to my IC pain but 20 minutes of yoga here and there is really helping me! Some days and nights, the pain was so intense that I used the same guided imagery that I used to get me through labor!
10. Real Food!- I think we can make healing so complicated and get so overwhelmed with what to eat. I'm keeping it simple- real food, no processed junk, trying to buy mostly organic and sticking to pasture raised eggs, grass fed beef and avoiding bladder irritants.
11. PT!!!- So starting PT has been amazing for me, and I'm slowing seeing results mostly in my pelvic pain. My IC pain is still here pretty strong, but I'm determined and hopeful it will start to get better as I heal my gut, take care of myself and heal my adrenal fatigue.
I think that about sums up what I'm doing. Send me an email or comment below if you have IC or have struggled with it and what natural things you have found helpful!