Pelvic Physical Therapy Treatment for Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is an idiopathic, chronic condition that causes pain in the urinary bladder and pelvic floor. Most often seen in women, interstitial cystitis can be a lifelong condition that impacts quality of life in many ways. Therefore, effective, compassionate medical management of this condition is highly important for patients to get as much relief as possible.
At JAG Physical Therapy, we are New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania’s regional experts when it comes to women’s health and pelvic floor therapy. We treat interstitial cystitis with empathy and skill, providing symptom relief, effective patient education, and constant support. Find a location near you, schedule your initial evaluation today, or read on to learn more about how we help people manage interstitial cystitis.
What Causes Interstitial Cystitis?
The causes of interstitial cystitis are still unknown, but current medical research has proposed a number of theories, any of which may be separate causes of the disease. There may be an autoimmune factor, in which the epithelial lining of the bladder is damaged by the patient’s own immune system wrongly attacking it. The weakening of the bladder lining might also be caused by repeated urinary tract infections, overconsumption of caffeinated beverages, or physical trauma. There could also potentially be genetic or allergy-related components, or bladder function could be compromised by overall systemic stress.
What are the Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial cystitis is especially associated with pain above the pubic bone – women who have sharp pains in the center of the pelvis are urged to see a doctor to be evaluated. Interstitial cystitis also causes a range of urinary-related symptoms, such as frequent urination that causes pain or a burning sensation, urinary hesitancy (or waiting an abnormally long time to begin expelling urine), and a nighttime need to urinate (nocturia) that causes disturbances in sleep. Many people with interstitial cystitis develop Hunner’s lesions, or ulcers on the walls of the bladder. Finally, interstitial cystitis can also result in pain during sexual intercourse. Ultimately, these symptoms can cause problems driving, traveling, working, or engaging in activities with family members, spouses, and friends.
How is Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosed?
Interstitial cystitis is primarily considered a diagnosis of exclusion. In other words, a physician will rule out conditions like bladder infection, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids before suspecting interstitial cystitis in a patient. Urinalysis and ultrasound scanning can also be used for diagnosis of this condition, in addition to medical history and the patient’s description of symptoms.
Interstitial Cystitis Treatment Options
At JAG Physical Therapy, our PT staff uses their expertise and compassion to aid patients diagnosed with interstital cystitis in strengthening their bladder function, reducing pain in situations that would otherwise cause interstitial cystitis to flare, and more.
A number of forms of medication and surgery are available for interstitial cystitis, including heparin and lidocaine bladder instillations and operations to treat Hunner’s lesions. However, physical therapy is considered a highly recommended method for relieving interstitial cystitis symptoms that avoids side effects and the need for an invasive procedure.
JAG PT’s pelvic physical therapy program utilizes an effective mix of techniques from modalities like manual therapy, guided stretching, trigger point release, and electrical stimulation to reduce bladder pain, alleviate sexual dysfunction, and overall allow for less urgency and worry when it comes to urination. We also focus on patient education, because we believe being informed is key to making the right decisions and maintaining healthy control over your body and your life.