Bladder Distension/Bladder Stretch
As well as a diagnostic procedure of IC/BPS, a bladder distention can also help to improve symptoms in some. A ‘Bladder Distention’ can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. The bladder is filled with sterile fluid and kept distended for 5-10 minutes.
Directly after the procedure there may be some temporary bleeding or burning during urination. Some may experience a decrease in frequency and urgency soon after this, whilst others may have to wait a couple of weeks or longer until the irritation subsides. If relief is obtained this may last for up to several months. The procedure can be repeated and may help to control symptoms successfully in some patients.
During a bladder distension/stretch, a cystoscope is introduced to the bladder to allow the specialist to view the bladder wall. It is only by looking at the bladder by this method that pinpoint haemorrhages or glomerulations become visible and bleed. These haemorrhages are the classic hallmark of IC/BPS.
Not only does a cystoscopy help to diagnose IC/BPS, but it may break up the scar tissue within the bladder wall and bring a short term improvement in the IC/BPS symptoms.
Neuromodulation - Urgent® PC
Electrical stimulation of the nerves that control the bladder can improve symptoms of urgency, frequency and urge incontinence, as well as bladder emptying problems. This treatment is usually offered to patients who cannot tolerate or do not benefit from medications.
Neuromodulation can be delivered non-surgically through a series of low-risk outpatient treatments (PTNS, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation) or using a device surgically implanted in your buttocks (SNS, sacral nerve stimulation).
Sacral Nerve Stimulation - Interstim®
A medical device implanted under the skin, uses mild electrical stimulation of the sacral nerve to influence the behaviour of the bladder, sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. This treatment can be used to treat severe symptoms of urgency, frequency and urinary retention.
Tens – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Tens is popularly used in child birth, a tens unit has been shown to help with pain.
Bladder training can enable you to reduce the frequency and urgency to pass urine. A continence advisor or physiotherapist can help you to achieve this by slowly teaching you how to hold urine for progressively longer intervals. Your GP can refer you or you can self-refer to a see a continence advisor, your nearest one can be located via yellow pages or online.
For the IC/BPS patient, bladder removal is only considered when all other treatments have been ineffective. For those who have taken this decision, BHUK has a ‘friends’ group. It is run by members who have had surgery and are willing to share their experiences with others.
Complementary Therapies/Alternative Treatments
Some patients have found that alternative therapies have been of benefit. The NHS pain clinics may offer one or more of the following complimentary therapies:
Acupuncture, Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Homeopathy, Herbal Remedies and Reflexology.
Bladder Health UK recommends you consult your GP or Urologist before any alternative therapy or treatment is introduced.
To join the discussion on which treatments have helped others, visit the BHUK Forums or join our closed IC/BPS Facebook page.