Interstitial Cystitis Treatment London
In our Interstitial Cystitis treatment London clinic, we use functional medicine tests and natural medicine to diagnose and address the underlying issues.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Painful Bladder Syndrome affects many hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, who are told that there is no cure and they must live with it. It affects both women and men. Patients that Guardian featured leading London Consultant in Natural Medicine Deborah Grant meets have often been on an exhausting route visiting GPs, urologists and gynaecologists with little success. They feel that the orthodox treatment for Interstitial Cystitis (IC) seems to be purely symptomatic and unable to address the underlying cause of this very debilitating, depressing and painful condition.
What is Interstitial Cystitis?
Interstitial Cystitis is a very uncomfortable and stressful disorder, which is characterised by chronic urinary urgency (feeling the need to urinate immediately) and frequency (frequent urination) with or without abdominal pain. Symptoms may vary among individuals and may even vary in the same person. Many people have to live their life around their bladder because of the unpleasant symptoms. The word “cystitis” refers to inflammation of the bladder. In contrast to bacterial cystitis, which results from a bladder infection, no infection has been identified in people with Interstitial Cystitis.
About 90 percent of patients with this condition are women and the average age of onset is 40, though people of any age can be affected. Women with this condition are more likely to have had frequent urinary tract infections and to have had previous gynaecological surgery than women without IC.
The condition has been classified into two forms, ulcerative and non-ulcerative, depending on the presence or absence of ulcerations in the bladder lining. Ulcerations in the bladder wall are known as Hunner’s ulcers. The ulcerative type of interstitial cystitis is found in less than 10% of cases. Scarring of the bladder wall may occur as a result of inflammation, leading to a decrease in bladder capacity.
What is the cause of Interstitial Cystitis or IC?
Orthodox medical science does not know exactly what causes this condition. Most researchers believe that it represents a spectrum of disorders rather than one single disease. One area of research has focused on the layer that coats the lining of the bladder – the glycocalyx. This consists mainly of the substances mucins and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). This layer normally protects the bladder wall from toxic effects of urine. Researchers have found that this protective layer of the bladder is “leaky” in about 70% of interstitial cystitis patients. There is a hypothesis that this may allow substances in urine to pass into the bladder wall where they might trigger IC.
Potassium is one substance that may be involved in damage to the bladder wall. Researchers have isolated a substance known as anti-proliferative factor (APF) that appears to block the normal growth of cells that make up the lining of the bladder. APF has been identified almost exclusively in the urine of people suffering with IC. Research is underway to clarify the potential role of APF in the development of IC.
Other theories about the cause of IC are that it is a form of autoimmune disorder or that infection with an unidentified organism may be producing the damage to the bladder and the accompanying symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis or IC?
The symptoms vary greatly from one person to another but have some similarities to those of a urinary tract infection. They include:
- Decreased bladder capacity
- An urgent need to urinate frequently both day and night
- Feelings of pressure, pain, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum (the area between the anus and vagina or anus and scrotum) which may increase as the bladder fills and decrease as it empties
- Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- In men, discomfort or pain in the penis and scrotum
- In women, symptoms usually worsen around the time of their period
- Stress may also worsen the symptoms
The symptoms usually have a slow onset, and urinary frequency is the most common early symptom. As IC progresses over a few years, cycles of painful flares and remissions occur. Pain may be mild or so severe that it is debilitating. Symptoms can also vary from day to day.
How is IC diagnosed?
Because the symptoms of IC are similar to those of other disorders of the urinary system and because there is no definitive test to identify it, doctors must exclude other conditions before making a diagnosis of IC. Among the disorders to be excluded are urinary tract or vaginal infections, bladder cancer, bladder inflammation or infection caused by radiation to the abdomen, eosinophilic and tuberculous cystitis, kidney stones, endometriosis, neurological disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infection with small numbers of bacteria, and, in men, chronic bacterial and non-bacterial prostatitis.
The Natural Treatment For Interstitial Cystitis or IC
The Interstitial Cystitis treatment London clinic is not only to alleviate the symptoms but to find any underlying issues, which may be fuelling the IC. By taking a very detailed history, there is a better understanding of the pathology of each patient’s IC. In this way the underlying issues can be diagnosed and addressed.
Every patient’s experience of IC is different and must be treated accordingly rather than with a one-size-fits-all approach. At the Harley Street IBS & Autoimmune Clinic, we treat the whole person and not just the symptoms.
IC is indeed a very complex and debilitating condition. The chronic inflammation in the bladder and its repair is the most challenging part of the body to treat as it is always in constant use. The complexity of this illness dictates that treatment is given in stages, addressing both the underlying weaknesses in the body and the symptoms. The treatment for IC takes both trust and dedication to achieving a good clinical outcome.
For patients, who live abroad or in the UK but a long distance from the clinic, we are happy to do follow up consultations by telephone or on Skype.
The stress and depression that this condition often causes is also treated, which again usually leads to less pain and better control of symptoms. Patients report that they feel calmer, with their mood better than before.
Every patient responds differently to the natural treatment for IC. Some patients may react relatively quickly to the treatment for Painful Bladder Syndrome or IC, whilst others may take longer. It is therefore impossible to estimate how long treatment will take to rebalance the body.
Patients do suffer setbacks from time to time and this may be brought on by stressful situations in their life. When this happens, the prescription can be modified to give the patient more support. Patients report that this flexibility in the treatment is extremely beneficial and they say that they feel so much better than they ever did on the orthodox treatment.
A 53 year old female presenting with Interstitial Cystitis, which had previously been diagnosed in 2010; and IBS which had been previously diagnosed in 2000:
“I highly recommend Deborah Grant to anyone who is looking to trace and treat the source of their illness rather than just their symptoms.
I live in Norway, and I am very grateful that I managed to find her two years ago. At the time I had been battling interstitial cystitis and IBS, and as most people with these illnesses know they can be very difficult to treat. Mainstream medicine was not an option for me even if my bladder had allowed it.
When I first went to see Deborah on some days I was going to the bathroom every 15 minutes. She made me realize that both illnesses boiled down to an impaired immune system and sure enough the tests she ordered for me revealed exactly that. I had never thought to link my weak immune system or bladder to my gut.
Through her natural medicine, supplements, recommended changes in diet and efforts I am a healthier person today.” Alexandra – Norway
If you would like to make an appointment for Interstitial Cystitis Treatment London ClinicContact Deborah’s Medical Secretary for an appointment