Dr. Fugazzoto treats IC with long-term antibiotics, after he finds out exactly which organisms are causing the problem. Ruth Kritz did a small pilot study on Dr. Fugazzoto's patients, which found that 79 percent of those studied reported improvement on long-term antibiotic treatment. Since long-term antibiotic treatment may lead to chronic yeast infections, it is important to take acidophilus and other precautions to prevent this complication.
More recently, in October 1993, Dr. Gerald Dominque, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, reported at the Interstitial Cystitis Association's seventh national meeting that his research has shown persistent bacterial DNA fragments in the bladder tissue os IC patients but not in patients without IC. Dr. Dominque believes he is months away from identifying the elusive bacteria.
Other Environmental Factors
Although as yet unproven, it appears that pesticides in ground water, proximity to toxic waste sites, household cleaners, poor quality of indoor air, and other sources of environmental pollution can precipitate attacks of IC in some women.
Once the lining of the bladder is altered, yeast can penetrate bladder cells and break down the bladder defences further. Women can also have the yeast growing throughout their whole digestive tract. Women with these chronic yeast infections have to be treated specifically for this problem as well as for the IC. Many women do not begin to get better until their yeast infection is properly treated. The chapter on yeast infections outlines the types of treatment that are required including diet, acidophilus and anti-yeast preparations.
The female hormone progesterone tends to inhibit the formation of the protective lining of the bladder while the hormone estrogen increases it. Women on progesterone-estrogen combinations for menopausal symptoms may notice worsened cystitis symptoms. The birth control pill has also been linked to an increased incidence of bacteria in the urine and an increased incidence of bladder infections.
This fancy term just means that your mind affects your body's resistance to illness. As with any chronic illness, emotional stress can bring on or worsen an episode of cystitis.
Researchers have clearly demonstrated that your thoughts and emotions can cause chemical changes in the brain which affect how your body works (the basis on which such techniques as self-hypnosis and imagery work).
Negative emotions such as anger and depression do hinder your recovery, but at the same time need to be expressed and released.
Beliefs are also important. You can't get better when you strongly believe you have an incurable condition.
Chronic Cystitis - The Infective Type
If bacteria is repeatedly found in your urine then you have the infective type of chronic cystitis. This can be caused by a structural problem, such as an inherited malformation of your urinary tract, which prevents normal bladder or kidney function. These abnormalities are usually diagnosed in childhood.
Most often, however, repeated bladder infections are not caused by structural problems but by functional problems. This means the structure of your bladder and the rest of your urinary tract is normal but for some reason, they are not functioning up to par.
Reasons for this include the following:
AN OBSTRUCTION or blockage anywhere along your urinary tract, such as that caused by a stone, can be responsible for your repeated infections. This blockage would show up on an IVP or kidney X-ray.
LOW BACK PAIN: According to Dr. Gillespie, this is a leading cause of this type of urinary tract infection in women. Injury or damage to your low back area can damage the nerves that go to your bladder.
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