Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go RIGHT NOW

Apparently, I’ve reached an age where all health issues I develop somehow develop below the belt. Why my ladybits are protesting, I don’t really know. My ailments are life-threatening, but they are annoying and they are life-altering. During Persephone Magazine’s launch, I shared the details of my Ablation Vacation. This winter, apparently, will be known as Winter of my Bladder’s Discontent.

I went to the doctor last week for what I thought was a typical UTI, but I found out about something else much more annoying (believe it or not) –  Painful Bladdder Syndrome, a syndrome related to Interstitial Cystitis. Cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder. Typically, this is caused by a bacterial infection, more commonly known as a UTI.

Interstitial Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder with no bacterial cause. It’s a bit of a mystery disease, as there is no specific cause. For whatever reason, body signals get mixed up, and it feels (at least in my case) like you have a UTI all of the time. The pain, the urgency, the frequency is all there, only it can’t be fixed with a simple round of antibiotics.

The Mayo Clinic has a good synopsis of the affliction if you’d like to read about symptoms, causes and treatments in depth. Their website also states:

Interstitial cystitis. The cause of this chronic bladder inflammation, also called painful bladder syndrome, is unclear. Most cases are diagnosed in women. The condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

The fact that the Mayo Clinic says this  makes me a little nervous. I mean, if the Mayo Clinic can’t solve the problem, who can? Onset of this condition is typically around age 40, and most cases are diagnosed in women. Generation X, it’s apparently our turn.

The first step in managing symptoms to adjust my diet. For some unknown reason (again, unkown? really? in 2010?), caffeine, carbonations, and citrus seem to aggravate this condition. It’s suggested that patients keep a food diary to track diet and symptoms to see if these foods (among others) trigger symptoms. So far, I’ve nixed the morning coffee and all soda. I’ve bypassed the clementines and grapefruit at the grocery store. It’s amazing how easy it is to give things up when the alternative is urinating more often than my children and feeling like hot pokers are jabbing your bladder.

In addition to dietary changes, diagnostic tests can be done to determine what other courses of treatment may help lessen symptoms. An assortment of drugs, including antihistamines,  antidepressants, and ibuprofen all have been noted to alleviate symptoms in some patients.

There are some days I don’t love being a girl.

2 thoughts on “Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go RIGHT NOW”

  1. Ah “Middle-Aged Mystery Symptoms and Disorders” may just be the title for what is becoming a series of body posts! I’ve known so many women who struggle with their thyroids, and it does seem to be a crap shoot as to what works and what doesn’t. Ugh. It’s god to know I’m in good company ;)

  2. Aw man I wish there had been guide for Middle-Aged Mystery Symptoms and Disorders. Most of the time my doctors chalk things up to depression or my thyroid. Uh, no, I know you all are obliged to parrot textbook responses and recommendations, I got that. But I am still feeling a little lost by the lack of knowledge of female “ailments”.

    I’m sorry about your condition. I’ve had a sensitive bladder ever since the birth of my second child. My doctor never said anything about what I call the aftermath symptoms ahead of time, didn’t know to research this issue because I was too caught up with maintaining my pregnancy health and forgot about my personal health. I discovered the sensitive bladder thing through chats with other moms. One aerobics instructor commented sympathetically, “I can tell who has had children by the moms going [to the bathroom] during the [jumping phase of class.]”

    Sometimes all we can do is “alleviate our symptoms” and that just doesn’t feel right. Isn’t enough. But we have to take what we can get and wait for more medical discoveries.

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