How to Relieve the Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis

Updated March 23, 2017

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder condition that mostly affects women. It can cause the bladder to become stiff and unable to expand as it fills with urine. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to relieve them yourself in addition to your doctor's recommend treatment.

Eliminate foods from your diet that can irritate your bladder. This would include acidic foods and artificial sweeteners. Examples include chocolate, caffeine, citrus drinks and tomatoes. If you must have any of these, limit it to only one at a time, so if a particular food does cause you problems, you will be able to identify it easily.

Do not smoke. Smoking is a leading cause of bladder cancer so people with interstitial cystitis should not smoke. In addition to causing bladder cancer, smoking is also known to aggravate symptoms.

Try physiotherapy. Many people with interstitial cystitis have spasms in the pelvic area that can cause them pain. Strengthening these muscles through physiotherapy can help relieve this particular symptom. Your nurse or doctor should be able to advise you on exercises that will be helpful.

Train your bladder so you urinate less frequently. This can be accomplished by urinating on a schedule that works for you and practicing relaxing the muscles in your pelvis. This process should be guided by your doctor, so discuss this option with her first.

Speak to your doctor about a TENS machine. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Some in the medical profession believe this increases blood flow to the bladder, thus strengthening the muscles that control it.


Interstitial cystitis is a medical condition that needs to be treated by a qualified health care professional. Any remedies you wish to try to relieve your symptoms should be approved by your doctor first.

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About the Author

Ann Smith has been writing informational articles for more than seven years. Beginning her career with bed-and-breakfast reviews, Smith now covers health and parenting issues for various online publications.