Or other citrus fruits.
Or tomatoes, soy, pickles, or chocolate.
They caused me pain for over a year, and I didn’t know it. Oh, I knew I was in pain. I just didn’t know why and never imagined such delicious and nutritious things could be the culprits.
No, it’s not allergies.
I want to educate you today about a chronic condition called Interstitial Cystitis, or I.C. Don’t feel bad, I had never heard of it either. If you’ve ever suffered a urinary tract infection, you know how painful they can be. I.C. feels much the same, except no infection exists and the pain flares up and down on a daily basis without ever fully going away. I.C. is often misdiagnosed as repeated infection, yet no bacteria are present. In a nutshell, it means the lining of your bladder is damaged and when it comes into contact with acidic urine, it becomes inflamed and painful—much like pouring lemon juice onto an open cut.
It’s one of those conditions that won’t kill you but sometimes you wish it would because it’s so horrible to live with. You don’t look sick, but sometimes you wish you did just for some sympathy. And it’s a lot more common than you’d think because, let’s face it, who wants to talk about their bladder?
We greet each other with “how are you?” And the normal response is, “fine.” Occasionally, depending who’s asking or how much time we have, we might speak openly about whatever battle we’re fighting on any given day. It’s one thing to admit your arthritis is acting up or you have a headache or cold. But no one ever answers with “My pelvis hurts and I don’t know why.” At least not in my experience.
So people suffer in silence, running from one health care provider to the next, when they could be receiving a lot of support from others who are learning to manage this supposedly incurable condition. It boils down to raising the pH level of your urine by eliminating acidic foods and swallowing baking soda in water.
I don’t advocate self-diagnosis and I am definitely not playing doctor. I don’t know for certain whether I have I.C. because I have yet to be tested and grew tired of waiting. Here’s what I do know: when I began treating myself for it, my pain went away. Judge me if you want.
I merely hope to spread the word that there is help, and much of it may be in your own kitchen. If it weren’t for a Facebook friend 2000 kilometers away having the courage to mention her own battle with I.C., it would have taken me even longer to realize I could do much for myself, even without a diagnosis. Prior to my connecting with her, it all sounded too complicated and overwhelming. I desperately wanted my problem to be something else, something with a simpler, permanent fix.
Many similar issues develop in our bodies and too often people suffer alone for years. Maybe we should be less afraid to speak up. If I can help one other person by writing about Interstitial Cystitis, it will be worth the effort it took to muster the guts to hit “publish” on this post.
You can learn more about I.C. HERE.