Doctor's Corner: Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic painful disorder affecting the lining of the bladder. The symptoms can mimic a urinary tract infection and may include pain with urination, urgency, frequency, incontinence as well as painful intercourse. For some, the pain can be so severe that it can reduce quality of life and lead to anxiety and depression.
There are several current theories about the underlying cause of IC. It is believed that some combination of irritating triggers such as low-grade infection, dietary factors such as highly acidic or oxalate-containing foods and elevations in cortisol from long-term stress are at play.
There is now also a growing body of research pointing to degenerative changes in the connective tissue of the bladder lining as well. The theory is that specific proteins called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs that support the transitional epithelial cells of the bladder lining become weak, effectively leading to a “leaky bladder” syndrome.
Research has shown that supplementation with Glucosamine Sulfate, Sodium Hyaluronate and Chondroitin Sulfate can improve the strength and integrity of joints and is routinely used in the treatment of orthopedic conditions such as degenerative disc disease. These molecules are important structural components of connective tissue throughout the body and have shown excellent results when used to support the mucosal integrity of the bladder lining as well.
Bioflavonoids are widely used to reduce oxidative damage and improve immune function. They are highly anti-inflammatory and have been shown to decrease chronic inflammation in the bladder lining, making them an effective supplementation to GAG support.
To learn more about the science behind the naturopathic treatment of IC or if you are experiencing symptoms contact Dr. Tegan Moore for a free 15-minute consultation.