Ask Dr. Stoll

Information About Combining Conventional &Alternative Medicine

Interstitial Cystitis

The cure depends upon understanding the causes which include chronic pelvic muscle tension.

Interstitial Cystitis is among the most frustrating of the chronically "incurable" conditions which are rapidly increasing in frequency in our culture. This condition is characterized by frequent bouts of symptoms of urinary infection (burning, frequency and urgency of urination) without a bacterial infection actually being present. The urine specimen in the doctor's office will typically show some blood cells or nothing at all.

The treatment for this is, typically, repeated dilations of the urethra and irrigation of the bladder wall with things like solutions of silver nitrate. No practitioner of strictly Conventional Medicine suggests that we have a solution to this problem.

Holistic Medical practitioners have a pretty good idea of the causes for this condition and their results are bearing out the validity of their understanding. Following is an explanation of the mechanism, the understanding of which is essential if the individual is going to do what is necessary to cure the condition.

I hope 10 million women read this and get themselves or their friends onto the path of eliminating interstitial cystitis from their lives. You will soon see why no physician tells their patients about this. It takes time and, if the patient listens, they don't need any more irrigations and dilations. Insurance companies will not pay for education time in the doctor's office (even though the word doctor means teacher) whereas insurance companies ARE set up to pay for the dilations, etc.

First of all, there are 2 separate systems of sphincters for urine and stool. They are the involuntary (inner) sphincters of smooth muscle which are told to release WHENEVER the bladder (or rectal ampulla) is full--this is just a reflex. As a baby, you know what happens. These sphincters work perfectly and so the baby needs a diaper. However, as we get older, we learn to stop that involuntary urge to defecate or urinate (control the reflex) by clenching our external, striated (voluntary) muscles (the levator ani) in order to not embarrass ourselves in public (besides it is so messy and uncomfortable--and doesn't even smell so good).

The Levator Ani runs from the tailbone to the pubis in the front and the ischial spines (part of the pelvis) on the sides. It is the floor of the abdominal cavity. Without it, everything would fall right out on the floor. It acts like a sling to hold everything up. The VOLUNTARY sphincters of the bladder, rectum and vagina are a part of this muscle and we learn to control them individually.

These VOLUNTARY sphincters are designed to ALWAYS be relaxed UNTIL there is an urge to defecate or urinate. THEN we tighten them up until we can conveniently get to the restroom where we relax them. The INVOLUNTARY sphincters (which have been telling you that THEY are already ready) are already open so the act of defecation or urination then is controlled completely by the voluntary sphincters. The elimination process takes place, the involuntary sphincters close (until the organs are once again full) and the voluntary sphincters are supposed to STAY relaxed until they are needed again.

However, if a person is experiencing a continuous fight-or-flight stress effect in the hypothalamus (so that the body is ALWAYS "ready") ALL of the muscles in the body stay more tense than normal. People who tend to keep their perineal muscles tighter than the rest of their muscles are the ones who are more likely to get interstitial cystitis, hemorrhoids, prostatitis and "bashful bladder syndrome".

When your voluntary muscles are always tight, you NEVER totally relax your sphincters. NOW when you try to urinate, the bladder wall muscles must squeeze the urine through a narrowed urethra. The friction causes urethral irritation. However, more importantly, the increased pressure in the bladder forces urine into the bladder wall which causes "interstitial" (inside the wall) inflammation. Can you begin to see why dilation is part of the treatment and why it always has to be repeated?

For those who would want to solve this problem on their own, I would suggest contacting

Bio-Medical Instruments
2387 East 8 Mile Road
Warren, Michigan 48091-2486
(800) 521-4640

Ask them about the Physiodata U-Control Trainer and get them to send you the instructions about how to use it before you consider buying it. You cannot be harmed in any way by this technology. This is the most direct way to find out what it feels like when your levator ani is tight and when it is relaxed. One can use this same technique to learn how to do an effective total body relaxation technique.

A much simpler way would be to learn an effective skilled relaxation technique and practice it regularly for 20 minutes twice a day. Within 6 months the generalized muscle tension--of which the pelvic muscle tension is a part--will be under control. Then simply recognizing when the muscles in the pelvis are being held tight--and relaxing them--will go a long way toward getting in control of this problem.

There ARE symbolic reasons why an individual might hold these muscles selectively tight. Those reasons are best discovered by a good psychologist who is well trained in self-hypnosis techniques.

The bases for these kind of problems have ramifications that go far beyond the easily resolved condition of Interstitial Cystitis. No one with this condition has ONLY this condition. The IC is but the tip of the iceberg of what these causes are doing to the individual's health. I have connected these mechanisms in my book