Urinary Troubles

People who have fibromyalgia are vulnerable to interstitial cystitis (IC), a chronic and painful inflammation of the bladder. Like fibromyalgia and IBS, the cause of IC is a mystery. People who have IC typically experience an increased need to urinate. In some people, it may feel urgent. If you have a severe case, you may wind up urinating as many as sixty times a day. It can also cause pain in the pelvic region, especially during sexual intercourse and/or menstruation.

Treating IC often requires a great deal of trial and error. The only medication currently approved by the FDA for use in treating IC is pentosan polysulfate (Elmiron), which can relieve bladder discomfort and pain by preventing irritation of the bladder lining. Certain tricyclic antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, antispasmodics, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants can also provide relief. Some patients may be treated with bladder instillation, which involves pouring medications into the bladder. In rare cases, surgery may be done, though it's often not successful.

You can also take self-help measures to alleviate your symptoms. Eliminating highly acidic or spicy foods can reduce the symptoms, as can giving up cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol. You might also consider trying stress reduction strategies, such as exercise and meditation. For more information about IC, check out the Interstitial Cystitis Association Web site at www.ichelp.com.

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