Gaye & Andrew Sandler have released their first new book in a decade for men, women & children struggling with IC and its many related conditions. What sets this husband and wife team apart from so many other authors who have written about interstitial cystitis is their focus on patient comfort. In The Proactive Patient: Managing Interstitial Cystitis/ Bladder Pain Syndrome and the Related Conditions, they’ve created a comprehensive resource guide that will help patients, young and old, as they explore treatments, learn to manage their IC symptoms, reduce pain and enjoy intimacy again.
Every chapter provides the reader (and their family members) with tips and strategies to ease discomfort, control flares and better manage their symptoms. The discussion of traditional therapies is balanced with alternative and complementary therapies for those patients who lack health insurance and/or prefer a more natural approach to treatment. If you, like many others, have faced hostile or unknowledgeable medical care providers, they provide tips on how to find and work with seasoned and compassionate pelvic pain experts.
Gaye was the first author to explore the relationship between IC and its many related conditions and expands that discussion dramatically in this new book, providing information and self-help tips for patients struggling with IBS, constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, pudendal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, TMJ, hypothyroidism and others.
I particularly appreciated the chapter “Reclaiming Comfort in Your Body,” which explores exercise ideas, stretching tips and yoga poses that can help ease discomfort, lessen muscle tension and regain strength in a pelvic floor compromised by pain, particularly for patients who continue work and/or who struggle with sitting.
In recent years, we’ve learned that chemical sensitivity and environmental illness can play a significant role in the exacerbation of bladder symptoms and general health. This book explores chemical sensitivity and provides a plethora of ideas to help patients reduce toxic exposure and build a toxic-free home, clearly wisdom gained from their own experience with multiple chemical sensitivity. If you plan on remodeling or building a home in the near future, you’ll find their suggestions extremely helpful!
Their discussion of hormones, pregnancy, midlife and sexuality is excellent. They review, in-depth, the struggles that women face as they age. If you’re not sure if hormone replacement therapy is right for you, they provide an excellent discussion of the pros and cons of various hormone treatments. They explore the challenge of intimacy with practical tips on how to reduce discomfort associated with intercourse. Patients exploring pregnancy will find the information on point, even down to the discussion of pros and cons of various delivery methods.
It is fitting that the book ends with a chapter written by Andrew, titled “Living with IC/BPS: A Partner’s Perspective,” who, with brutal honesty, shares his experience as spouse to an IC patient. He shows how a healthy relationship and family can not only survive but also thrive by creating a foundation of honesty and communication. Gaye and Andrew’s desire to help others makes them a treasure of the IC movement. Thank you for, yet again, writing a book that will help patients regain their confidence, rebuild their strength, build their knowledge and, most importantly, ease their suffering. – Jill Osborne, ICN President & Founder