Frequent Urge to Urinate? It Could be Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as “painful bladder syndrome,” is diagnosed in about 200,000 people in the U.S. each year. It is most common in women and can cut deeply into its sufferers’ quality of life.

Interstitial Cystitis

(Pixabay / markusspiske)

Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Painful intercourse

When the body is working optimally, the bladder fills up, and the brain signals the body through the pelvic nerves that it is time to urinate. In people with IC, these signals get tangled up, and the body feels the desperate urge to urinate, even when the bladder is practically empty. Many people with IC report having to limit their activities to stay close to a toilet and having difficulty sleeping at night.

The most common treatments include bladder instillations with the bladder being infused with various medications to reduce inflammation and pain. The instillations can be highly uncomfortable and only work in the short term.

No one is certain of exactly what causes interstitial cystitis, but there is some evidence that some cases may be related to food allergies. A food allergy treatment known as sublingual immunotherapy is being used by some allergists to address the condition.

Sublingual immunotherapy works much like allergy shots, but the allergen extracts are dispensed under the tongue as oral drops rather than injected into the skin. The therapy has been shown to be an effective food allergy treatment. In many cases, patients’ IC responds well to the treatment. A licensed physician can prescribe sublingual immunotherapy.

If you have interstitial cystitis, contact your doctor. He or she can see if foods are contributing to your problem by ordering an allergy test kit for physicians. The kit will allow them to gauge your reactions to certain trigger foods. Your doctor may then want to prescribe a food allergy treatment program to address the symptoms of your interstitial cystitis.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.