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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also called painful bladder syndrome. IC is a condition that causes pain in your bladder and pelvic area. You may also have ulcers in your bladder. The cause of IC is unknown.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms get worse, or you develop new symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be given to decrease symptoms such as pain, urinary urgency, and frequency.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Do Kegel exercises as directed. Kegel exercises will help strengthen the muscles that control bowel movements and urination. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on Kegel exercises. Tighten your pelvic muscles slowly. It may feel like you are trying to hold back urine or gas. Hold these muscles and count to 3. Relax, tighten them quickly, and release. Repeat the cycle 10 times. Do 10 sets of Kegel exercises, 5 times a day. Do not hold your breath when you do Kegel exercises. Keep your stomach, back, and leg muscles relaxed.
- Do not smoke. Smoking may worsen your symptoms. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can also cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Train your bladder to urinate less often. This can be done by going to the bathroom at scheduled times. Try to hold your urine when you feel the urge to go. For example, hold your urine for 5 minutes when you feel the urge to go. As that becomes easier, hold your urine for 10 minutes.
- Manage stress. Stress may worsen symptoms. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you find ways to manage stress, such as relaxation techniques.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.