Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tips to Cope with Interstitial Cystitis

It is believed that Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a chronic disease with no treatment or cure. However do not get disheartened. There are many who go into remission, and often with proper treatment and care the patient can remain symptom free for years. Here are the things you need to do after getting diagnosed with IC. The list has been prepared on the basis of my personal experience and should not be considered a medical theory.  This is what I did after I was diagnosed with IC.

Attitude: IC is incurable they say but do not get disheartened. Change your attitude and say “I Can” loudly. This will help you go a long way. The moment you send signals to your brain that you can heal yourself; your body also reacts positively.

      Research, Research, Research: This is what I did. I researched extensively both online and offline. I read as much as possible regarding this disease. It helped me get a very clear perspective regarding what I was going through. I read about the symptoms, precautions, treatment and even alternative ways to treat IC. I would be sharing all those eventually in this blog.

      Find a Good Urologist: It is very important to find a good doctor. A doctor who is compassionate and empathetic. One who is ready to listen to you and considers you a priority. I personally do not like doctors who are dismissive and doesn’t encourage the patient to ask questions.
          Identify your triggers:  It is very important to identify your triggers. I will discuss more elaborately about triggers later on. The few common triggers are stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, intercourse and strenuous physical activity.  Once you identify what aggravates your symptoms try and avoid them.
      Avoid: Citrus fruits, Coffee, tea, alcohol, tomatoes, raw onions, sugar, processed foods, sauces and pickles. But this list is not exhaustive. Every individual has his/her unique trigger food that you need to identify. Your doctor may not give you an exhaustive list of foods to avoid. Therefore it is very important that you start avoiding food that you think are escalating your symptoms. Follow this chart to identify your trigger food. Try eating an alkaline diet.
       Medicine: Take your medicines, however IC being a difficult disease not all medicine will suit you. Therefore you and your doctor will have to work hard to pinpoint the medicine that work for you. For example I responded well to pentosan but many don’t. So keep tracking.

            Try home remedies: I try quite a few home remedies to soothe my IC along with taking regular medicines. One is baking soda. Avoid it if you have high blood pressure. You can try half teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in a glass of water whenever you feel your symptoms are flaring up. It gives immediate relief.

Exercise: If you are in pain it is difficult to think of exercising but try doing low intensity exercises like walking, yoga and stretching.

Meditate: Try breathing exercises and prayers to help calm down. This will help control your stress level.

 Sunshine: One day when I was crying in pain my mom-in-law advised me to go and soak in the sun. It helped to soothe me. Now I have made it a habit to sit in the sun for half an hour each day. It helps to balance my vitamin D level and also soothes me.

Join a Support Group: In India there are no proper registered support group. However there are numerous online support groups that you can join. The Facebook support group that I joined helped me tremendously in this lonely battle. So search for a group that suits you and join. 


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