The Winter/Spring 2018 IC Optimist, the magazine for our ICN members, is a special expanded issue which covers a very delicate topic: intimacy, sexuality and interstitial cystitis. Also in this issue:
(1) Editorial: Why The IC Network Left Facebook – If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’re probably aware that Facebook has come under increasing pressure for not only playing a negative role in the 2016 election but also in the misuse of over 50 million user profiles. In February 2018, I shut down the ICN Facebook page for another reason – the very harsh, cruel and divisive culture that now permeates that platform. Its future for IC support groups is limited now, particularly as we understand that Facebook isn’t bringing us closer together, but actually creating more depression, more anxiety and conflict. It’s not the right forum for health discussions especially when the platform is tracking what you might be sharing about your IC.
(2) New Advances in Bladder Replacement – Many have asked when new bladders will be available. It might shock you to know that they’ve been making bladders with a patient’s real bladder cells for about 15 years at the Wake Forest Center for Regenerative Medicine. We give you an update on the status of the research, as well as remarkable new breakthroughs in tissue engineering. Did you know that they also have successfully made and implanted both urethras and vaginas? Absolutely fascinating.
(3) Meet the Expert Series: Sexuality, Intimacy and IC/BPS with Dr. Heather Howard – In this special expanded issue, we cover a very delicate topic, how IC can affect our intimacy. It’s often the elephant in our bedrooms. Can we comfortably have sex? When is it right to say “no”? How can we make sure that our partners know that we love them when we say “no.” What can we do to stay intimate with our significant others? I was delighted to interview Sex Expert Dr. Heather Howard, who has been helping couples struggling with painful sex for years. We feature an extensive Q&A session with her that discusses how to approach intimacy, how to talk with your partners, what positions might be more comfortable and more.
(4) Jen’s Tips For Great Sex – We share a collection of tips for intimacy created by one of our members, Jen! Thousands of patients have referred to this simple list over the years and it’s worth sharing again!
(5) IC Awareness: We Must End Sexual Health Harassment – Did you know that the #metoo movement also applies to some patients in the IC/BPS community such as a patient who was asked to demonstrate how she self catheterized to a room full of male managers. We must all speak out when sexual health harassment occurs to other IC/BPS patients. It’s wrong and we must stop it!
(6) Case Study: Finding The Cause of Pelvic Pain is Challenging – I present a pelvic pain case study that was presented last year in a professional medical discussion group that shows just how diverse many clinicians approach pelvic pain. Is it muscular? Bladder driven? Nerve driven? The result of injury or illness? Their discussion might give you insight into how your doctors have considered your unique case of IC/BPS.
(7) The Latest IC Research – We share five new studies including a study which found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy was remarkably helpful for the treatment of Hunner’s lesions.
(8) Self Help Tip: Ten Tips For Talking IC With Friends & Family – Stacey Shannon shares tips on how to discuss IC with family members and friends. How much should you share? Do they need details? Are they entitled to know private information?
(9) IC Patients & Vitamin C Can Get Along – Vitamin C plays an essential role in our health but when the most common form available irritates the bladder (i.e. citrus fruits and juices), IC patients often avoid it like the plague. Stacey Shannon explains that you can and should include Vitamin C in your diet from more bladder friendly sources.
(10) The IC Diet Project: Old Fashioned Comfort Food & Bev’s Chicken Casserole – IC diet expert and cookbook author Bev Laumann shares one of her favorite, bladder friendly recipes perfect for these last cold days of Winter!
(11) Patient Story: I Was Absolutely Terrible To My Body – ICN Forum member Jenn shares her personal story, how she was able to dramatically improve her health and her IC with some very simple diet and lifestyle modifications. Absolutely worth a read by any patient struggling to get better!