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Heather’s self-care tips for an IC bladder  

Heather Taddy profile

When you have Interstitial Cystitis, or IC, your bladder and pelvic area can feel like your arch-nemesis. Often, persistent pain rules your life in every way imaginable. It ruins your sleep patterns, diet, personal and work life, and disturbs your overall quality of life.  

Living with IC is bad enough, but dealing with the agony of a flare makes you want to find any solution for relief. My number one goal is to find what soothes my bladder and pelvic floor. I believe it’s impossible to lead a normal life until you do. So how do you learn to love your bladder again and live comfortably with IC? I’ll tell you what works for me.  

My personal experience with IC flares.  

An IC flare is the dramatic worsening of symptoms. Combating a flare is never easy because they’re so unpredictable. Sometimes, flares happen, and you can’t even pinpoint the exact cause. Triggers are unique to each person. Flares can be induced by certain foods or drinks. They can also be caused by emotional or physical stress.  

Learn more about potential causes of IC flares. 

When I have an IC flare, I experience: 

  • Intense urgency  
  • Urinary frequency 
  • Extreme discomfort 

Although everyone’s symptoms are different, I feel a combination of everything when my bladder fills. There’s also a sensation of pressure felt in my bladder as it expands. It’s almost as if someone’s hand is squeezing my bladder and refusing to let it go. 

Most people have had to hold their bladders for a long time. For instance, whenever you’ve been on a long road trip and couldn’t find a bathroom. Multiply that feeling by 10 and you’ve got an IC flare.  

Flares can feel like someone wearing stiletto heels taking a stroll across your bladder. There’s a stabbing and burning pain. If I try to hold my urine, the pain is even more severe, or I have bladder spasms. Then, when I do finally pee, the urgency returns within a few minutes and sometimes, it burns. It’s a cycle of insanity.  

Strategies to get through an IC flare. 

From my experience, flares can last anywhere from a couple days to a couple of weeks, or even a month. That means I always have a plan in place to take care of myself whenever a flare strikes.  

I like to classify flares as the following:  

  • Diet flares: triggered by something I’ve eaten or drank. 
  • Stress flares: triggered by feelings of worry or anxiousness.  
  • Sex flares: triggered before or after intimacy. 
  • Traveling flares: triggered by having to hold my bladder or a change in my environment. 
  • Hormone-induced flares: triggered by my period or anything that throws my hormones out of whack. 

I handle flares by increasing my water intake. This helps flush toxins out of my body and soothe the lining of my bladder. Every time I drink water, I visualize it healing and soothing my bladder. Of course, this requires you to constantly be within distance of a restroom.  

Pro tip: When you’re experiencing a flare, leaving the house is probably the last thing you want to do.  

I’ve had flares so bad that I laid in the bathroom all day in a sleeping bag. I used to have flares from drinking coffee and any beverage that wasn’t water. For a long time, I had to eliminate everything.  

Once I started taking Bladder Acid Control, I found myself being able to work other beverages and problem foods back into my life. Bladder Daily Comfort has also provided me with essential nutrients to help soothe and rebuild the lining of my bladder. Adding these supplements into my routine has helped me love my bladder again. 

Since taking Femetry, my symptoms have lessened significantly, and I haven’t had any flares. I take the supplements, use the techniques on this list, and add in a few other things that work for my body. It’s important to understand that this is my experience and over time, you should develop a routine that works for you. 

Fool-proof self-care for an IC bladder. 

When it comes to soothing your bladder, these are the steps that have worked for me. 

  • Pelvic floor stretches and diaphragmatic breathing helps to calm the pelvic floor. This is very important since a tight pelvic floor is often responsible for your symptoms. 
  • Relaxation techniques are key. I don’t know about you, but for me, my nerves are always at play with IC. I’ve found ways to handle stress and relax to ease my discomfort.  
  • I do daily tracking in a notebook. These include details about my diet, exercise, state of mind, life events, even the kind of water I drink, the vitamins I take, and general ratings of my bladder pain. Pay attention to everything, from what you’re putting into your body to how you handle stress.  
  • For pain management, I use a heating pad, take a warm bath, and use Cannabidiol (CBD).  

With IC, you’ll always have good days and bad days. This depends on a lot of things, including your pelvic floor. The key is finding ways to soothe your bladder. With this condition, not every solution works for every person. Even though your bladder can feel like a nuisance, there are plenty of ways to soothe it.  

It’s difficult to love my bladder when it’s been a source of daily frustration for the past 16 years. The best way to love your bladder and soothe a flare is to identify your triggers and modify your lifestyle to avoid them. I wish you the best of luck on your bladder journey. Urine my thoughts! 

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Heather Taddy profile