Irritable Bladder Syndrome or Allergic Bladder
Irritable Bladder Syndrome or Allergic Bladder may progress to Interstitial Cystitis
Any part of the body can react allergically. Irritable bladder syndrome can be caused by allergies to foods, micro-organisms, or chemicals and in these cases I refer to it as allergic bladder. The commonest problem is with yeast or bacteria that live in the gut. Interstitial cystitis is a nasty painful chronic bladder inflammation which starts with allergic bladder.
The symptoms of the allergic bladder are exactly the same as those of a bladder infection ie constant desire to pee (strangury), frequency of peeing, pain on peeing (cystitis) and possibly passing blood.
The only difference between allergy and infection is the number of organisms present. The definition of an infected bladder is when there are more than 10,000 bacteria per ml present in the urine and this can be measured as part of microscopy and culture on an MSU sample. Please see here for the Patient.co.uk page on Midstream Specimen of Urine, MSU It can also be diagnosed using Multistix for a Urine analysis. Multistix are available at my online shop here - these Multistix come together with an interpretation sheet to explain the colour changes which may be observed, and any action which should be taken. This is an extremely useful DIY test because one can very quickly tell from the simple dip test if the urine contains abnormal amounts of white cells, nitrites, red blood cells, protein, sugar, ketones and so on. It is a very sensitive test and often sufferers are told that they do have an infection on dipstick, but microscopy and culture is normal and therefore no infection! Antibiotics relieve symptoms because they reduce the numbers of bacteria. So if the symptoms get better with antibiotics but there are negative cultures, then this suggests bacterial allergy. If antibiotics make the symptoms worse, then this could point to a yeast sensitivity. And so in that case if antifungals improve the symptoms, then this could point to yeast allergy. Clinically the commonest problem is allergy to yeast or to bacteria. The problem with yeast and bacteria is that they are normally present in the gut and they are normally present in our food.
However, I have also seen cases of severe interstitial cystitis triggered by chemical exposures, typically to solvents from the carpet and printing industry.
Prevent bacteria or yeast sticking to the lining of the urinary tract.
- D-mannose is specific for E. Coli, the commonest cause of urinary tract infection and allergic bladder. E. Coli sticks to the lining by a sugar receptor -saturate this receptor with D-mannose and E Coli passes through causing no problems at all!
- Bicarbonate is a traditional remedy for cystitis and my guess is that it works by again interfering with adherence. See Acid-Alkali balance
- The bacteria and/or yeast causing irritation nearly always come from the gut - either because of the wrong bugs in the gut or because of overgrowth of bugs in the upper gut. So a major part of treatment is likely to be the fermenting gut See Fermentation in the gut and CFS. This involves diet, improved digestion of foods, probiotics and possibly specific antibacterials or antifungals. See Yeast problems and candida.
- Maintaining a high fluid intake is useful because this simply dilutes the amount of bacteria or yeast present in the bladder. However, be mindful that if you drink too much water you will wash out beneficial minerals and so you may need to adjust the dose of the Mineral Mix in order to maintain electrolyte balance.
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