How can we make bladders happy again?

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching an intensive on Bladder Pain Syndrome/ Interstitial Cystitis to a group of women’s health physios at my local hospital (bonus points for no planes involved AND I got to sleep in my own bed!)

Remember: there’s a WHOLE PERSON attached to that bladder!

So, we started by discussing what Bladder Pain Syndrome (formerly known as Interstitial Cystitis) is and isn’t…firstly, it’s not interstitial and it’s not cystitis…hence the name change. But in some parts of the literature/ world, you’ll still hear it referred to as Interstitial Cystitis…or Painful Bladder Syndrome…or increasngly (and this is the preferred term) Bladder Pain Syndrome. An easy way to remember which name to use, is that BPS also stands for BioPsychoSocial approach to treatment, which coincidentally (or not…) is emerging to be the best way to treat Bladder Pain Syndrome.

Characteristics of BPS:

Pain in the bladder/ pelvis for 6 months

Pain increases with bladder filling, and decreases with bladder emptying

Increased frequency and urgency (to avoid pain, not because of fear of leakage)

There may or may not be an infection, current or past…

You can watch the video below for an interview with Dr Nicole Cozean, author of The Interstitial Solution for more background and information

  1. Improve bladder health and function – find out what YOUR bladder likes to eat/avoid…there isn’t a specific IC/BPS diet, so an elimination strategy to see what your body prefers is the best way to go
  2. Optimise pelvic floor muscle function – your brain and pelvic floor muscles will often go into over-protective mode, and this can be one of the biggest drivers of ongoing bladder/pelvic pain and dysfunction.
  3. You know I have to talk about bowel health ALL THE TIME!!!! But if your bowel isn’t happy (constipation and IBS, I’m talking to you!) then there can be cross talk between the different systems in your pelvis (nothing happens in isolation in your body!!) On that note, how does your bladder/pelvic pain change during your cycle? Remember, IC/BPS and Endometriosis and Pudendal Neuralgia LOVE to hang out together
  4. Make your brain happy. Understanding how your brain responds to threat can be a huge first step in calmng down an overactive pain response from your nervous system. How are you sleeping? What do you do for fun? Is there joy in your movement practices? There’s a good body of evidence to support both yoga and mindfulness for pelvic pain

Without further ado…enjoy the video!

And if you’d like me to put my Bladder Course online (anatomy and assessment, Bladder Pain Syndrome, Bladder Continence, Overactive Bladder,Bladder Cancer – comprehensive rehab strategies…) let me know on facebook or instagram 😉

Michelle Lyons chats with Nicole Cozean about Bladder Pain Syndrome/ Interstitial Cystitis

Until next time

Onwards and Upwards