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Chronic Interstitial Cystitis

Posted Oct 01 2011 12:00am 1 Comment

Chronic Interstitial Cystitis is a common condition in women, which can be very irritating. This condition presents with symptoms such as > Constant urge to urinate
> Burning on urination
> Dark, cloudy urine (possibly blood tinged)
> Pain above pubic bone

All, which can be very similar to the presentation of a urinary tract infection, caused by common bacteria such as E. coli and other bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, the frustrating part of this condition is that when the urine is cultured from someone suffering from Chronic Interstitial Cystitis is that there is no bacteria present in the urine. Therefore, interstitial cystitis is mainly a diagnosis of exclusion, when all other problems (adhesions, IBS, bladder cancer, urethral diverticulum, vaginitis, etc) have been ruled out.

Some conventional treatments for Interstitial Cystitis include > Oral medications: anti-histamines, tricyclic anti-depressants, analgesics, anti-inflammatories
> Electrical stimulation

Integrative medical treatments include > Acupuncture
> Biofeedback
> Electrical stimulation
> Hypnosis
> Bladder reeducation training
> Dietary factors and nutrition (restriction of acidic foods, garlic, cranberry juice, L-arginine, quercitin, glycosaminoglycans, Magnesium, and Vitamin E)

Just for some clarification…
L-arginine? What is that? Although conflicting studies are within the scientific literature, L-arginine is an amino acid precursor to the creation of nitric oxide, which plays a role in the relaxation of urinary tract smooth muscle, helping to void urine more easily through the urethra. Similar to the action of L-arginine, magnesium is a major component of relaxing smooth muscle cells (very useful in hypertension, as well as chronic closure of the urethra).

Quercitin is an anti-inflammatory flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, that has the effect to reduce inflammation with chronic interstitial cystitis patients. GLycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a major component of connective tissue structure, and are highly concentrated in the bladder wall. Addition of glycosaminoglycans can be helpful with healing the bladder wall tissue, particularly in combination with quercitin, the anti-inflammatory agent mentioned previously. Vitamin E is also an anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant agent, highly protective to lipid membranes by scavenging free radicals.

One of the patients that I manage at the school clinic swears by her “Cystitis Concoction“, which includes white vinegar, garlic, and ginger to clear up any problems associated with the onset of her cystitis symptoms. Have you tried anything that works for this condition? I’d love to read about it, please comment below!

This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see a licensed health care provider for more assistance.

References Gaby, Alan lan R. Nutritional Medicine. 2011.
MDConsult. Pizzorno, Joseph. “Interstitial Cystitis”

Comments (1)
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This article needs to promptly be removed.  While I do realize the publication is not medical advice nor a substitute for medical advice, much of the information provided is false or inaccurate and is extremely harmful.  Firstly, the title alone is inappropriate because it is redundant; all Interstitial Cystitis is chronic (please see  That is why Interstitial Cystitis is called, “IC,” and not, “CIC.”  “Chronic,” is already in the definition.  Secondly, this article is misleading because it implies only women can have IC, which is false.  Men, women, and children suffer from IC (please see “Epidemiology“ here:  Other false information the author provided includes the symptoms the author lists; the three main symptoms of IC are pain, frequency, and urgency and some medical professionals consider Hunner’s Ulcers and glomerulations to be symptoms as well, but certainly not, “Dark, cloudy urine (possibly blood tinged).”  Additionally, aside from the fact the author’s idea of the proper diagnostic procedure is confused, the author is incorrect because IC patients can indeed suffer from IBS (please see...well, just google it).  In fact, IC patients are 100 times more likely to suffer from IBS (please see  Furthermore, the author lacks knowledge of the use of diet as a treatment of IC.  The IC diet is the restriction of foods and beverages high in sodium, potassium, acidity, and nerve stimulants, such as caffeine (please see  However, the most harmful and threatening falsehood published in this article is the use of cranberry juice as a treatment.  Cranberry juice is very acidic, so it can be extremely dangerous for the bladder of an IC patient and can induce terrible flares of pain; thus, the author is contradicting themself when they mentioned restricting the consumption of acidic food as treatment.  Cranberry juice is used as a treatment of urinary tract infections (UTI), because it may prevent bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall.  But IC does not involve infection nor does it involve bacteria; therefore, cranberry juice has no benefit to IC patients (please see  Garlic, which is also mentioned as a treatment of IC by the author, is used as a treatment of UTI’s as well because of it’s antibiotic-like properties; it is not an IC treatment (please see and  Lastly, if I have not made it clear already, IC and cystitis (as most cystitis is caused by UTI’s) are treated separately because they are separate and completely different, so the author’s random mentions of  cystitis treatments should be excluded; they are irrelevant.  â?¨I feel bad for the this person's patients.
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