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.
- 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.