If you’re experiencing chronic pain or constant pressure in your bladder or pelvic area, you may be suffering from interstitial cystitis (IC). According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, it is a form of bladder pain syndrome (BPS) that affects between 4 -12 million people.
At Urology of Greater Atlanta, the team of board-certified urologists provides expert diagnosis and treatment for this painful condition. A professional diagnosis is important because it is often confused with a urinary tract infection. Call us or request an appointment online today for an IC consultation.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for interstitial cystitis. Treatment aims are to reduce bladder pain, pelvic pain and reduce inflammation. Treatment options include oral medications, bladder instillations, and physical therapy. Physical therapy is a proven treatment that helps relieve symptoms such as pelvic and bladder pain, urinary frequency, and other urinary symptoms. It works by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
How Is The Pelvic Floor Related to Interstitial Cystitis?
Many IC patients and even some medical doctors consider IC primarily as a bladder condition. While the bladder is largely involved, researchers have shown that the pelvic floor was involved in at least 80 percent of patients’ symptoms. Problems with the pelvic floor can cause IC symptoms like lower abdominal pain, urinary urgency, frequency, and urethral burning.
On top of that, they can cause other symptoms that are seemingly unrelated to the bladder, including low back pain, tailbone pain, hip pain, and pain with intercourse. Pelvic floor dysfunction can also be the reason why you urgently need to go to the toilet, but when you get there, you cannot release it.
Of course, interstitial cystitis can still be due to problems with the bladder. However, the pelvic floor could also be contributing to the problem or it could even be a combination of both.
Treating IC effectively will then depend on a combination of physical therapy and bladder treatments.
How Can Physical Therapy Help IC?
Physical therapy is tailored to release the trigger points and tension in the pelvic muscles. This allows your bladder to relax and function normally again. It will also release the pain throughout the pelvic region. Your physical therapists will also work to clear out inflammation in the pelvic area and around the bladder, restoring normal blood flow and function.
It should be noted that you should not do kegel exercises unless accompanied by a physical therapist. These can make IC symptoms worse.
How Effective is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy is the most proven treatment option for interstitial cystitis. The American Urological Association has given this treatment an evidence grade of “A” and recommends it as the first-line medical treatment.
Trials from many top institutions like Stanford and the University of Michigan have shown that around 85 percent of patients with IC felt some benefits from 10 weeks of manual physical therapy. They reported that their symptoms improved by 35 to 50% within less than three months of treatment. Of these, 60% said their symptoms had improved “moderately” or “markedly.”
Call Us Now
If you suffer from IC, make an appointment to consult with the talented team at Urology of Greater Atlanta by calling the practice or booking online. We have offices in Blue Ridge and Griffin, GA.