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So called, Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial means between the layers, cystitis in this sense means, of the bladder lining. So its a condition of the lining of the bladder. Now, my ‘Patients Encyclopaedia’ has a good section on this condition and I don’t propose to go into it all just here. What I would like to cover a bit more about in this blog is the current medical usage of the term. It seems that any woman suffering repeated or ongoing cystitis is lumped in to the terminology. The urologists can’t get to grips with it because basically they don’t understand womens’ bladders and they in turn are let down by absolute lack of proper training in female bladder conditions as well as absence of laboratory facilities to isolate more unusual and difficult bacteria.

If your urologist doesn’t know about Mycobacteria and there isn’t a lab nearby that tests for it then you won’t get a diagnosis. So likewise no treatment and they don’t like the treatment I advise in my book but its very helpful.

Furthermore, a lot of women are just fobbed off with the diagnosis of IC to get them out of the surgery  or to start them on fobbing-off treatments. Private doctors make a mint of money from this diagnosis and most are wrong diagnoses.

In middle age there’s an added difficulty of lowering hormones which cause sensitive urethral and vaginal skin to lose ‘plumpness’. Skin becomes prey to much more bacterial travelling from anus to vulva. Sex can become too sore and miserable and raw thin skin can become very painful. I call this a parcel. Each part of the parcel needs attention at the same time as the other parts.

So, HRT is imperative; this can be prescribed in any manner- patches, pills, creams, gels whatever as there is a wide choice nowdays. Its completely individual, I for instance, am happiest on a couple of months every eight months or so of low-level oral Femoston conte/15 which suits my age group. But discuss with your doctor. I prefer a vaginal cream to a tablet  but others are happy on the tablet. The HRT will boost skin tone and reduce soreness in both bladder and vagina.

Bottle washing is a must to stop new bacteria from entering a sore bladder, see my book for its details.

Get out of jeans whose central knot grinds into the thin skin and creates inflammation. Leave off strong spices like chilli, pepper, strong coffee/tea, all alcohol.

For great pain you might be prescribed Amytriptolene but whilst this does need help pain is a symptom, stopping it is not finding the cause of the pain. Its the cause you need to find.

It goes without saying that you need to know if there is any sign of bladder cancer which will be more likely in smokers or those unfortunate to be secondary smokers.

Check vaginal swabs for bacteria and fungi, any doctor or sexual health clinic.

Finally I would say again my book has more pages and time to look into the condition. You will have a cause for this bladder pain, you have to find that cause.

Angela Kilmartin