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Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness Month

by admin September 27 2017 07:33
interstitial cystitis awareness month 2017

September is Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Pain Syndrome Awareness Month, and we want to take time to discuss the importance of spreading awareness and share some vital information that could potentially help others who are living with this condition. Bladder health is a big focus here at 180 Medical. Many of our customers live with conditions that require them to use catheters, such as spinal cord injuries, neurogenic bladder, bladder retention or incontinence, and sometimes Interstitial Cystitis (also called Bladder Pain Syndrome, or BPS), among many other reasons.

ic awareness month

Interstitial Cystitis can happen to anyone, although it tends to occur more frequently in women rather than men, and it happened to me. 

My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for over 6 years. I live with Interstitial Cystitis as well as Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Let me tell you a bit about this condition and why awareness is so important.

What is Interstitial Cystitis?

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, about 4 million Americans are living with IC. Some of the symptoms of IC can be similar to other issues and conditions, so it can take time to diagnose, but here are some of the main identifying symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain and/or pressure in the bladder and/or pelvic area
  • Urgency and frequency of urination
  • Lack of infection and negative cultures, despite exhibiting symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Spasms
  • Burning sensation
  • Nocturia (urge to urinate at night)
  • Painful intercourse

How Is Interstitial Cystitis Treated?

While currently there is no known cure, there are a variety of treatments that may make symptoms more manageable. A few options include:
  • Avoid triggering foods and follow the IC Diet or your doctor's recommendations for a diet regimen
  • Botox injections in the bladder
  • Physical therapy
  • Neuromodulation, which is electrical nerve stimulators that send mild pulses to the nerves in the lower back to help relieve chronic pain and/or assist in urinary function
  • Over-the-counter medicine (consider your doctor's advice on which types or brands to seek out)
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain management 
  • Surgical procedures
  • Bladder instillations

My Experience With Bladder Instillations

I have had some success with controlling my Interstitial Cystitis with diet and medication, but recently, my symptoms worsened. My urologist recommended bladder instillations as a treatment option, which is a drug therapy method where an anti-inflammatory combination of medication (Heparin, lidocaine, and sodium bicarbonate) is inserted directly into the bladder via a catheter to reduce irritation. The in-office treatments were scheduled for once a week five weeks in a row.

It took about four instillations before I noticed a difference in my symptoms, but everyone is different. Some people might need only one instillation per week, like me, while others might require more instillations per week or over a longer period of time. People who self-cath and receive intermittent catheters may be able to administer the bladder instillation treatments at home if approved by their doctor. Your urologist or other prescribing healthcare professional will be able to come up with the best plan for your individual needs.

Awareness About Interstitial Cystitis Helps

living with interstitial cystitisBecause some of the symptoms of IC mimic other conditions, not everyone who lives with it knows they have it. Sometimes, people just don't want to address this condition with a doctor due to its nature. However, the more we all do our part in spreading awareness, the stigma surrounding issues with the bladder will lessen, and more people will feel comfortable talking about their symptoms. And the sooner they can be diagnosed, the sooner they can seek some relief in treatment. 

If you think you might have Interstitial Cystitis, talk to your doctor. They're here to help. Your prescribing healthcare professional will be able to talk over some of your options and get you back to living life as normally as possible again. 

Know that you are not at all alone, and there are resources available to you for learning and connecting with a vast network of others who are dealing with symptoms like yours. In the meantime, thanks to raising awareness about this condition, research for a cure and better treatment options continues, and there are some clinical trials underway which will be testing possible new treatments for IC. There is hope ahead!

If you have begun to use intermittent catheters as a related aid to your condition, 180 Medical is here to offer you quality catheter supplies and a listening ear. We have a wide selection from all of the top catheter manufacturers. Contact one of our highly-trained specialists today, and we’ll be glad to help you get set up on the right catheter for your individual needs.

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About the Author: 

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for seven years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.

Interstitial Cystitis and Your Diet

by admin March 23 2015 11:54
living with interstitial cystitis blog header

If you have been following my Living With Interstitial Cystitis blog series, you know that last year, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, IC, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. You can read my last blog post here.

When I began having symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, I was in major denial about the condition. I thought there was no way the food I ate could affect my bladder, until I also started having flank pain. I was asked by my doctor to just try the IC diet to see if it helped alleviate my pain. Before some testing I had to undergo for my kidneys, I was told to follow the diet strictly.

When I began this diet, it not only had affected my bladder pain but also had a direct effect on the degree of flank pain I had on a daily basis. I noticed that as I cut out more and more of the troublesome foods and drinks, the better I felt for longer periods of time.

Before I started, I drank a full pot of coffee every morning, three diet sodas (containing both aspartame and saccharin) per day, frozen and processed foods, chocolate, and pretty much anything else I wanted. With the old standard diet, I had continuous symptoms. I had to come to a point where I finally decided that there is just no food out there that tastes good enough to keep me in pain and discomfort. I have cut out almost all of those problem foods now (with the exception of coffee, which I still have in moderation).

I am fairly new to my diagnosis with Interstitial Cystitis; however, I did have symptoms for a while before I actually sought medical treatment. Like many others with this condition, I have other medical conditions. From what I have researched, IC tends to cluster with other diseases and pain conditions. I completely understand how frustrating it must be for some who have long suffered from this extremely painful condition to take advice from someone who has not had suffered the symptoms long enough to give tips. While I understand how specialized and extreme the condition can be, I also must convey that this is not my only chronic condition. I see multiple doctors, including a rheumatologist, a nephrologist, a urologist, an orthopedic doctor (I had one hip replaced at age 36, and other joints are affected as well), and a general practitioner. I follow the IC diet strictly, which is one of the biggest reasons my symptoms remain as under control as they can be. They are never completely gone. I always have some degree of burning sensation or urgency, but with the diet it is tolerable.

You can learn more at, which gives full details about the diet, but the main foods to avoid are:
  • Alcohol 
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame and saccharin) 
  • Carbonated beverages (soda) 
  • Coffee  
  • Citrus 
  • Hot peppers and spicy food 
  • Yogurt or sour cream 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Soy 
  • Vinegar (including vinaigrette salad dressings ) 
  • Processed food 
  • Cured meats 
  • Chocolate (a really bad trigger for kidney stones as well, which I also have) 
  • Canned foods 
  • Grapes 
  • Sharp cheeses 
  • Tea 
  • Black and red pepper 
  • Horseradish 
  • Cinnamon (this is on the "try it" list, but is one that I personally have to avoid) 
  • Pecans   
There are entirely too many foods to list them all, and many are on the "try it" list. Pork is something, for instance, that always bothers me. It's definitely a food item I have to avoid. 

IC is such a personalized condition. Sometimes I can eat something one day, and it will not bother me, but the next time I eat it, it will. It can also depend on what else you had that day (food combinations), and if you are a female, it can even sometimes depend on where you are at in your menstrual cycle.

Since I started on the IC diet, I have cut out processed food. At my home, we make almost everything from scratch, cutting out boxed dinners and mixes. I no longer eat fast food or frozen dinners, which can be challenging on the nights when my daughters have school functions, but we have adjusted. I whole-heartedly suggest trying this diet to anyone who suffers from IC.

The elimination diet is easy to use, and it can help you to rule out foods, if you are unsure of which ones are irritating your bladder. It takes all of the willpower you can muster, but I promise it’s worth it to feel better! Cut all of the major triggers out, then slowly add food in one at a time.

As an added bonus, since starting this diet, I have lost about 30 pounds. I feel healthier than I have in years! My skin looks great, and I have more energy. The key is to make sure you get enough protein, fruit, and vegetables!

I still have some degree of symptoms even with the diet. This isn't a miracle cure, but it does help to ease the symptoms if followed. Although, for some, it can completely trish interstitial cystitis ic diet fruit smoothiealleviate most or all of the symptoms. It just depends on the person and the severity of their condition.

I thought it might be nice to include a recipe for a fruit smoothie that I drink for breakfast and lunch each day. My recipe includes bananas, although this is an item on the caution list. If you find that bananas bother you, you could try another type of fruit. You will need:
  • ½-1 whole banana (or substitute another fruit) 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • ½ cup raspberries 
  • 1 cup skim milk 
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar 
As a personal preference, I use frozen berries, but if you use fresh, you might add an ice cube or two, depending on the consistency you prefer. Blend in a blender or magic bullet until smooth. Drink promptly.

Do you have any tasty recipes from the Interstitial Cystitis Diet that you'd like to share with us?

If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey. Stay tuned to our blog for more posts, including my own experience and input on Interstitial Cystitis.

About the Author: 

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for four years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.


My Personal Experience with Interstitial Cystitis

by admin January 15 2015 15:05
living with interstitial cystitis blog header

My name is Trish, and I have worked for 180 Medical for 4 years. I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction within the last year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic painful condition of the bladder.

Many of the customers at 180 Medical also share this same diagnosis with me. While I am not yet at a stage in my condition that requires me to self-cath, I thought I could share some of my own experiences and tips. 

Interstitial Cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), can often have similar symptoms to a bladder infection. When I initially began to have symptoms, I thought I had a urinary tract infection (UTI) for several weeks in a row. One of my family members has Interstitial Cystitis, so I was already familiar with some of the symptoms. After the second negative urinalysis that showed I did not have a UTI, it became clear that I was possibly dealing with IC.

According to, roughly 4 million Americans suffer from IC. interstitial cystitis ic who is affected

Common symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

  • Pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic area. Sometimes this is so bad for me personally, I have to sit in a hot bath or hold a heating pad on my pelvis until it calms down.
  • Urgency and frequency of urination, as often as every 10 minutes for some. My IC does get that bad sometimes.
  • Lack of infection/negative cultures, despite exhibiting symptoms of a UTI. I do tend to get kidney infections at times.
  • Spasms and burning
  • Nocturia (urge to urinate at night). Sometimes, during a bad flare-up, I have to go to the bathroom up to 5 times in the middle of the night.
  • Painful sexual intercourse (which can, at times, make the IC worse)
Interstitial Cystitis is a specialized condition, and while it will cause some common symptoms shared by many, the experience can be different between person to person. It's difficult to tell someone else exactly how it feels, because one person may have symptoms that the other doesn't (and vice versa). One person may have mild urgency with no pain, while someone else could have extreme pelvic pain, spasms, burning, and increased frequency of urination. 

Personal Tips for IC

Here are some tips that help me, personally, during an IC flare-up:

  • Soak in a Sitz Bath or warm Epsom Salt bath. 
  • Place a heating pad onto your pelvic area to alleviate pelvic pain.
  • Mix a quarter teaspoon of baking soda into a ½ cup of water, stir, and drink promptly. This calms the bladder. Make sure and check with your doctor if you take other medication.  
  • Eat squash and sweet potatoes during a flare-up. They both help sooth my bladder, as do white potatoes and white rice. Make sure you leave out the black pepper. If you miss lemon flavor, try adding a bit of tarragon, which adds a distinct citrus flavor without the bladder irritation.
  • Drink as much water as possible. Water is the best thing for your body, especially those of us with IC. The spasms and other symptoms will eventually calm down after you flush your bladder.  
  • Drink chamomile or peppermint hot teas. They both have soothing effects on the bladder. 
  • Yoga can also be very relaxing and strengthening for some of the Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) symptoms.  
  • When nothing alleviates your symptoms, see your doctor. Do not ever feel like you are an imposition on your doctor or their staff. That is what they are here for.
  • The staff at 180 Medical is always available as well to answer any questions we can.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis, just know you are not alone in your personal journey.


About the Author: 

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for four years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.


Interstitial Cystitis Awareness and You

by Catheter Experts September 20 2013 16:23
Bladder pain can occur for a variety of reasons, but there is one condition that causes bladder pain that isn’t very well known: interstitial cystitis (commonly known as IC). September is National Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month.  This year’s theme -- "Millions Suffer, Few Understand" -- is designed to encourage those living with IC and healthcare professionals to talk openly about the widely misunderstood condition. 

Some refer to interstitial cystitis as Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS). Interstitial cystitis can occur in men and children, but it’s far more prevalent in women.  IC affects anywhere from 4 million to 12 million Americans, and many of those people aren’t even aware that they have it.   

It can be difficult to diagnose since people can experience an array of symptoms that can be confused with other medical problems. People with IC also tend to have other health problems like pelvic floor dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic headaches.

Interstitial cystitis may be easy for some people to manage, while for others, the pain can be severe enough to be debilitating. Simple day-to-day tasks like driving and sitting can become painful, and intimacy may feel nearly impossible.

Interstitial cystitis can be treated in a variety of ways. Your doctor may prescribe medication, bladder distention therapy, or nerve stimulation. Some people with interstitial cystitis use intermittent catheters to drain urine and avoid irritating the bladder.  

There are several things you can do during the month of September to raise awareness for IC.  You could make a Facebook status or write a tweet about IC, wear a ribbon or pin, or even contact your senator or representative to ask them to support funding for interstitial cystitis and other urological problems. Regardless of what you do, make sure that you’re doing your part to raise awareness and help others with IC.

September is Interstitial Cystitis Month

by admin September 3 2013 15:06
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition, also called Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS), which most commonly affects women. It is important to 180 Medical to provide support and education to our customers with Interstitial Cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) causes the walls of your bladder become irritated and inflamed. The symptoms include discomfort, pressure, tenderness or intense pain in the bladder and pelvis. Interstitial Cystitis can also cause urgency and frequency of urination. People with severe cases of IC/PBS can urinate up to 60 times per day. Interstitial Cystitis varies on intensity of symptoms, and can go into remission.

While they are not entirely sure what causes Interstitial Cystitis, scientists believe IC/PBS may be a more general condition that causes inflammation in various organs and parts of the body.

Treatments for Interstitial Cystitis
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, to relax your bladder and block pain 
  • Pentosan (Elmiron) –the only oral drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for interstitial cystitis. It may restore the inner surface of the bladder. 
  • Nerve Stimulation, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, TENS, uses electrical pulses to possibly reduce frequency of urination. 
  • Bladder distension, the stretching of the bladder with gas or water can sometimes reduce symptoms. 
  • Instilling medication into the bladder, such as: Dimethyl Sulfoxide. 
  • Surgery, which is rare, due to possible complications. 
  • Intermittent Catheterization

For more information, visit the Interstitial Cystitis Association.

About the Author:

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for three years as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and daughters.


Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month

by kier September 1 2011 09:00

Breaking the Silence For IC!

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful condition due to inflammation of the tissues of the bladder wall. The cause is unknown and often the condition is diagnosed as a urinary tract infection.  Three to eight million women and one to four million men in the US suffer from the effects of this chronic pelvic pain disorder. 

Symptoms include urinary frequency (up to 60 times a day in severe cases), urinary urgency, and pain. 

Some ways to help reduce bladder discomfort is to try and remove foods which are high in acid, alcohol, or salt from your diet that may trigger severe bladder irritation and discomfort. 

Support groups are located all around the country, here is a good list to find one in your area.

September 2011 has been named Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month.  For more information on interstitial cystitis please visit or

180 Medical helps people with their urologic catheters with this condition every day. If you have IC and need urologic catheters, call us today to see how we can help you.