We were so happy to see The Doctors TV show cover IC earlier this week. IC patient Elizabeth Bingheimer was fearless in sharing her life with interstitial cystitis on live TV. Like many patients, Elizabeth shared that at one point she thought that she had cancer. She said “this pain is so severe, it has to be cancer.” Yet, when given a diagnosis of IC, she said that she almost felt worse. Why? As featured expert Dr. Berman explained, “With cancer, you can get treated…. IC can affect her for the rest of her life.”
Dr. Berman explained that IC is an inflammatory condition of the bladder. She did a nice visual demonstration about a cracked bladder wall and how urine can leak deeper into the bladder where it can cause irritation, inflammation and severe pain. Dr. Berman discussed how food can make symptoms worse. She very briefly mentioned using some oral medications and supplements.
In an odd twist for a TV show, Dr. Berman also emphasized the use of hydrodistention as an “interim solution for pain.” If you look at the AUA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of IC, hydrodistention is in Step 3 because of its more invasive nature. The AUA strongly suggests that patients try oral medications and bladder instillations before resorting to this more aggressive therapy.
Dr. Berman also suggested that “hydrodistention redistributes the nerve fibers in the bladder” which doesn’t really make sense. What hydrodistention does do is temporarily break the nerve fibers in the bladder wall which, for the next several weeks or months give a sense of relief. However, the nerves do indeed grow back again. It’s also important to note that the AUA strongly suggests that hydrodistention be “low pressure, short duration” rather than the old school “high pressure, long duration” treatments to minimize trauma and the potential of rupture of the bladder wall.
Elizabeth represented the IC community beautifully!
Watch the episode here – http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videolib/init/9903