From Urinary Track Infections to Interstitial Cystitis
When I first got off of birth control I suffered with recurring urinary track infections (UTI). Anyone who has suffered with a UTI understands just how miserable bladder pain and inflammation is. I recall frantically dialing up my doctor – then suffering for hours until my appointment came – unable to concentrate on anything…
I’d then take a week’s worth of antibiotics and a pain reliever that turned my urine bright orange. Then I was fine for awhile, until my bladder pain flared up again. My appointments became more frequent — every couple of months as I had what I felt to be undeniable symptoms of a UTI.
But the tests from the lab continued to come back clear — no UTI factors in my urine.
Regardless, my doctor continued to prescribe me antibiotics and the bright orange pain reliever, as I’d convinced her I had an infection….
I mean my bladder was on fire! I felt like I had to go pee all the time and when I did go to the bathroom only a few drops would come out, followed by an immense kind of pain that just did not subside. Ugh.
I started to feel super frustrated. My bladder pain was flaring up quite frequently and I was just miserable. I didn’t think anything could be worse than pain from endometriosis, but I must say that I believe bladder pain to be just as bad, if not worse. If this wasn’t a UTI then what?
Ironically, one of my co-workers was going through the same thing and mentioned Interstitial Cystitis (IC) to me. (She was doing the whole get diagnosed bit through expensive specialist appointments, while I confronted Dr. Google, LOL.)
Interstitial Cystitis and Endometriosis
I started looking more into IC and found that it is very common with endometriosis. And like endometriosis, there is no “cure” for IC per Westernized medical standards.
So, in hopes of feeling better, along with the changes I implemented with my diet for endometriosis, I decided to eliminate even more to adjust to the recommended diet for Interstitial Cystitis.
I found when I followed the diet I did feel better, however it was very difficult to follow, especially with the restrictions I had already in place on my diet for endometriosis (no gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, etc).
I’ve read different studies about the causes of IC and a lot points to the PH levels in our bodies (too much acidity leads to pain). I also learned that Candida (very common in women with endometriosis) can trigger bladder pain.I believe that it is also tied to hormones, estrogen in particular. Once I addressed these issues, I find that I no longer have to follow the IC diet.
Bladder Pain Relief Please!
This past week, I woke up with that all too familiar pain in my bladder. Oh no….
But this time I did not run to call the doctor to get on more antibiotics, because I know better now. Antibiotics are not the first option anymore. I know now the damage that antibiotics do to my body — including killing off the good bacteria in the gut that I very much need.
Luckily, my years of suffering with what I believed to be IC have granted me with a tool box of options for natural bladder pain relief (all of which I had on hand)…
1.) D-Mannose –
D-Mannose is a pure natural stereo isomer of glucose and is found naturally in fruits such as cranberries, apples, peaches, and blueberries. D-Mannose is processed and eliminated quickly from the body (definite bonus when the bladder is a burning!)
D-Mannose allows bad bacteria to be flushed out in the urine. It provides a barrier of sorts between Escherichia coli (a bacteria found in 90% of UTIs) and the bladder wall so that the bacteria does not stick to the bladder. It is said to cure UTIs in two to three days.
I find that it quickly helps me any time I have bladder pain. When my bladder pain was more frequent, I took D-Mannose everyday as a preventative action, increasing my dosage when I had more pain (usually prior to ovulation and my period).
2.) Probiotics –
Instead of turning to antibiotics like I did in the past, I took a probiotic for my bladder pain. I take a probiotic everyday, but increased my dosage with my bladder pain symptoms — more good bacteria warriors to ward off those causing my bladder pain (Candida perhaps?)
Olive leafs contain powerful antioxidants and are anti-microbial — essentially they serve as a natural antibiotic. I took about a tablespoon when my bladder pain hit (no waiting for the doctor this time bacteria – ha!)
I do take Barlean’s occasionally when I feel (or see) symptoms of Candida overgrowth. One symptom of Candida overgrowth, by the way, is recurring UTI’s, and as mentioned, Candida also causes bladder inflammation common with IC.
4.) Peppermint Tea –
I find peppermint tea to be the very best soother for bladder pain. There were times where I had a flare up, drank a couple glasses of peppermint tea and it subsided shortly there after.
While peppermint tea will not resolve an infection, it definitely helps ease the pain, especially if it is an IC flare. In addition, to peppermint tea, drinking water is important to re-hydrate the body and flush out the bad.
5.) Maca Root –
I found Maca Root as a solution to my bladder pain by chance. I used to take Maca on a daily basis (a specific brand called Femmenessence MacaHarmony) but when I had bladder pain, and took a dosage of this Maca, I found that it quickly dissipated the pain.
When I took Maca consistently, my bladder pain pretty much stopped.
This leads me to believe that my bladder pain is related to hormones, and I believe estrogen specifically. Maca helps to naturally balance out hormones and has been said to help naturally raise progesterone levels.
I should mention, that Maca is not for everyone – some endo gals report it causing more hormonal havoc. I LOVE it, but Just FYI 🙂
On the Positive Side?
When my bladder pain flared this past week I took all five options above and my pain was substantially decreased within a half an hour and gone within a couple of hours.
This is awesome, considering I used to take a full five days of antibiotics from the doctor and whatever weird pain killer that made me pee bright orange.
I used to worry a lot about having a bladder flare up. There was a time when it took over my world. But not today. With my natural remedies in hand, I save myself a trip to the doctor and find relief much quicker — and naturally 🙂
Now two years into my natural journey to heal my endometriosis, I’ve pretty well healed the bladder pain that was plaguing my life. YAY!
I noticed this shift after doing a series of liver cleanses, which I believe has helped balance out my hormones — as my liver performs better, the excess estrogen levels filter out.
Do you suffer with bladder pain? Any other natural remedies that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear from you….
Much Peace 🙂
🌟 P.S. Since writing this post I believe that the underlying root cause of IC and bladder flares is the strep bacteria. Learn more about that here.