Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Overactive Bladder or Interstitial Cystitis?

If you are like me, you cringe just remembering that "overactive bladder commercial" which showed the woman writhing in discomfort sitting in the courtroom with the jingle playing "Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go!" From the first time I saw that OAB medication commercial, I was worried about women running to their doctor to get a pill; missing or at the very least delaying the true diagnosis of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome.
Let's face it, it is much easier to prescribe (and take) a pill rather than go through the diagnosis process for IC/PBS. I even wrote a blog post about this concept back in 2010: (See "Life Interrupted: "Gotta Go" Feeling Could Be Interstitial Cystitis.) But OAB medications DO NOT traditionally work for IC, and some people take these pills for weeks or months missing out on the true cause of their frequency, urgency, and bladder pain. And until you get the correct diagnosis you are likely to miss out on some of the best treatments we have ever had for IC/PBS.

Then, I came across this incredible personal story from Health.com. In her story, My Overactive Bladder Was Due to Interstitial Cystitis, Diane Lang, whose original diagnosis was OAB, eventually discovered she had IC. Diane’s story reminds us that if you have been diagnosed with overactive bladder and the medications have not helped, you may need further evaluation to determine if you have IC.
Eventually, Diane changed her diet and incorporated other lifestyle changes like meditation, pelvic floor exercises, and simple problem solving to help control her symptoms. The best part of Diane’s story, however, is how she learned to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty of her disease. I highly encourage you to read more of Diane's story at Health.com.
Listen to your body! If you have been diagnosed with overactive bladder, but your symptoms are not under control, ask your physician if you might have interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. You can also find some information from these websites:
For more information on the IC Diet, see The IC Food List

If you are not happy with what your doctor is telling you, either persist with that doctor or move on until someone can give you answers. Copy information from Diane's article or from these websites and take it with you. It is your body. You deserve to have answers.

Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

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  1. That's exactly what happened to me! The urologist tried the OAB medicines first, mostly because it was easier to rule out. And when all zillion of those didn't work, he decided on IC or Neurogenic Bladder...he still hasn't quite decided on which one, but says the treatments for those are virtually the same.

  2. Rachel, I am sorry to hear you had the same problem. It is SO important for people to get diagnosed properly. Another thing that bothers me is that people who DO have overactive bladder are not told about the diet. They might not even need medication if they watch what they eat. Many of the same foods we watch for IC are the same to avoid for OAB. Thank you for commenting!