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What causes interstitial cystitis flare-ups?

I just began learning about interstitial cystitis when I was diagnosed at age 36. I'm being treated for it now, but I still don't really understand how to avoid interstitial cystitis flare-ups. What causes them? How can I avoid them?
Bladder pain can have many different causes, and the specialists involved in diagnosis and treatment include internists, urologists, gynecologists, and others. Painful bladder syndrome / interstitial cystitis is a disorder characterized by bladder pain of variable severity, lasting over an extended period of time. Not much is known about the cause and development of interstitial cystitis and there is ongoing research in this feel. Various mechanisms have been proposed which may each individually lead to this disease. Abnormalities of the bladder wall lining, expression of inflammatory signalling molecules, permeability factors, alteration of neural pathways appear to contribute. Many people with interstitial cystitis have periods when symptoms are not bothersome alternating with flares. Unfortunately, it is not always clear why flares develop but some triggers may worsen symptoms in some people. Such common triggers include certain conditions such as bladder infections or gastroinestinal problems, certain activities such as sexual intercourse and prolonged sitting, and certain foods and beverages such as alcohol and coffee. Avoiding these common triggers may help avoid flares. Pain in the pelvic region that is not related to interstitial cystitis may also contribute to flares so management of these conditions will help reduce flares (such as bladder infections, yeast infections, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or painful periods). Certain activities, such as yoga, Pilates, walking, or working at a standing desk may be less irritation. Behavioral therapies and relaxation techniques may help mitigate the severity and frequency of flares. It is not possible to come to a diagnosis or firm treatment plan without examining the patient. The strong recommendation is therefore to get a referral to a urologist and get evaluated in person.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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