Allergies, Sensitivities and Interstitial Cystitis
Patients with seasonal allergies have long reported that their symptoms worsen when grasses, flowers and various trees begin to bloom. If your nose is running, there’s a chance that your bladder will be more sensitive too. Dr. Lowell Parsons, one of the oldest and most accomplished IC clinicians, also reported that when the winds changed in Southern California, patients more frequently reported IC flares. Similarly, exposure to food allergens can also trigger more intense IC symptoms.
Tips & Suggestions For Allergy Sufferers
- If you struggle with allergies, prepare well ahead of time when allergy season is approaching. Use medication as prescribed by your physician to control your allergies.
- Follow the IC diet to avoid irritating your bladder unnecessarily.
- Keep your home as clean as possible to avoid the build up of dusts and danders.
- Use a portable air filtration unit in your home.
- Use allergy reducing filter in your furnacee.
- Keep your windows closed during season allergy season.
- Avoid foods high in histamines, such as chocolate & red wine!
Food intolerance, also known as a food sensitivity, are also quite common IC patients. In 2015, Dr. Christopher Payne proposed five distinct subtypes for IC, one of which is functional somatic syndrome (FSS). These patients often struggle with the many related conditions to IC, such as IBS, vulvodynia and prostatodynia. Their sensitivities are often systemic, with skin sensitivity, food sensitivity, drug sensitivity and even smell or visual sensitivity. These patients may also notice more sensitivity to chemicals in the home, such as paints, wood solvents and bathroom odors. We believe that sensitivities can be inherited but they can also occur as the result of traumatic injury.
Sensitivities generally mean that the human body cannot process and/or are reactive to substances in food, air, on our skin, etc. It does NOT cause an allergic reaction, rather the patient becomes very uncomfortable and develops a variety of symptoms. Often the nerves in the skin and tissues are unusually easy to turn on, thus explaining why even mild exposures can cause problems.
Tips & Suggestions For Sensitivity Sufferers
- If you are struggling with unpredictable food sensitivities, you could ask for food sensitivity testing to help identify foods that you might be reacting too. The ALCAT test is one option though it can be expensive if you ask for a lot of testing.
- Keep a diary of foods and other substances that cause reactions so that you can track them. If necessary, do an elimination diet to help you figure out the more subtle foods that could be irritating you.
- Don’t fight the sensitivity. Rather focus on avoiding substances which provoke reactions.
- Eliminate scented products from your home, like candles, room fresheners, spray on sprays (Fabreeze, etc.)
- When considering new medication, explain to your physician that you struggle with drug sensitivity. Ask if you can first try the lowest possible dose first.
- When selecting soaps and lotions, use fragrance free products for sensitive skin.
- For your laundry, use fragrance free detergents and always rinse twice to remove any soap residue. Do NOT use fabric softeners or dryer sheets that leave a scent in the clothing or sheets.
- If buying new furniture, make sure that it does NOT contain fire retardants that have now been proven to be toxic and cause cancer, especially in children and pets.
- Cigarettes should be smoked OUTSIDE the home.
- Use natural, vegetable derived products rather than chemically infused products, such as: corn based cat litter, vegetable based cleansers, etc. etc.
- The Proactive Patient: Managing IC and Related Conditions by Gaye and Andrew Sandler
- Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America
- Food Allergy Research & Education