How to Control Interstitial Cystitis Flare Up

Written by valerie tandoi
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Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder condition caused by small wounds in the bladder. This condition causes pain during urination and reflective pain through out the entire pelvic area. Although interstitial cystitis has no cure, patients can manage their flare-ups by using a variety of medications and other techniques.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Start using Elmiron. Elmiron is a prescription medication usually taken once daily. Elmiron coats the bladder, which prevents irritation. Taking Elmiron regularly under your doctor's supervision will help prevent interstitial cystitis flare-ups.

  2. 2

    Stick to the IC diet. The IC diet is recommended interstitial cystitis patients. This diet is low in acid and bans many bladder-irritating foods, including liquor, coffee, chocolate and many acidic fruits. High-acid foods should be avoided by IC patients unless they are in remission. Eating the wrong food can trigger a flare-up.

  3. 3

    Take analgesic pills. Analgesic pills such as Urelle, Pyridium and Azo tabs can be taken orally during a flare-up to relieve painful urinary symptoms. Taking these will lessen pain and burning during urination.

  4. 4

    Relax with a heating pad. Heat can soothe both pelvic and stomach pains associated with an IC flare-up. If you're experiencing a flare-up, lie down and rest with a heating pad. The heat will soothe your pain. Resting can also help reduce symptoms as stress can make a flare-up worse.

  5. 5

    Avoid irritants touching the pelvic area. During a flare-up, any extra pressure on the pelvic area can make symptoms worse. Avoid wearing underwear and jeans during a flare-up. Loose pajama trousers or sweatpants will give your pelvic area the most breathing room. Also avoid chemical irritants such as scented body washes and detergents.

Tips and warnings

  • Invest in a foam cushion for driving and travel. Hitting bumps in the road can trigger a flare-up. The cushion will help reduce the odds of this happening.
  • During a flare-up, attempt to take your mind off the pain. Some ways to achieve this are by reading a good book, breathing slowly, doing yoga or meditating. This can help relax your muscles and lessen your pain.
  • If your pain becomes too much to bear, contact your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a prescription painkiller if necessary. Your doctor can also run tests to make sure the pain is not being caused by an infection such as a urinary tract infection.

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