Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a bladder pain syndrome that often requires ongoing management for those who have it. It may occur independently or present with other diagnosis such as endometriosis. Many people with IC utilize a variety of treatment methods to manage their pain and urinary symptoms.
These symptoms include urinary urgency, frequency, bladder pain, pelvic/ low back/ genital/ groin pain, burning sensation with urination, and pain with intercourse. Treatments include use of medications such as Elmiron, bladder instillation by a urologist, pelvic floor physical therapy, dietary changes, and supplements.
Supplements often have fewer side effects than medications and tend to be more cost effective. Because everyone is unique and responds differently to treatments, it can take time and trialing new things to find the right fit for you.
The 5 best supplements for IC and Bladder Pain Syndrome are:
Aloe Vera has been hypothesized to help rebuild the protective layer of the bladder (the glucosaminoglycan or GAG layer). The GAG layer has been shown to contain holes in some people with bladder pain.
Aloe vera is a supplement in capsule form that can help to rebuild this layer while also helping to soothe irritation and decrease inflammation in the bladder. Additionally, it is thought to decrease urinary urgency and frequency, and helps diminish burning sensation in the urethra.
This supplement is comprised of an amino acid that naturally created in the body and found in many foods. L-Arginine supplements are often available individually and not included in multivitamins. It has been shown to increase circulation and assist with clearing inflammation that builds up in the pelvic region in people with IC. Uniquely, it is one of the only supplements that has been evaluated in scientific study specifically for the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis.
Omega-3 has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Many people with IC have increased pain because of pelvic and bladder inflammation, therefore reduction can help diminish pain. This oil naturally occurs in fish and has been shown to be helpful in supplement form particularly in EPA: DHA blends.
Quecitin is a bioflavinoid found in food such as apples broccoli, onions, and blueberries. It is helpful in reducing inflammation because it reduces free radicals within the body. In supplement form it is commonly combined with Bromelain, which is thought to have analgesic or pain-reducing properties.
Magnesium is helpful in reducing inflammation, relieving constipation, and supports muscle health. It has also been suggested to be a helpful supplement for people who experience anxiety.