How Physical Therapy Has Helped My Interstitial Cystitis


Physical therapy helps me more than I realized. I started pelvic floor therapy a little less than a year ago and found it helpful. I was also in a very stressful job situation, so the twice a week treatments were sometimes defeated by the overwhelming daily stress and anxiety.

Fast forward to March of this year. I lost my job, which meant no medical benefits, and of course, no physical therapy. For months.

I am very fortunate to have good medical benefits again, and last week I was able to return to physical therapy two times a week. This time without the piercing and gut wrenching stress and anxiety of my former work situation. I completed session number four yesterday and can really tell a difference in my bladder symptoms. I’ve not woken up like clockwork around 5 a.m. every morning, feeling like a hot fireplace poker is stabbing me in my bladder. My daily painful spasms, urgency and frequent symptoms have reduced. I’ve even had several front porch sitting sessions, which have lasted for hours, without having to get up and use the restroom. Before, this was unheard of – but it’s happening.

Physical therapy helps me with my interstitial cystitis (IC). Whether it’s on a physical pain level, mental level, emotional level or all of the above. I’ve learned what the three most important pieces of the puzzle are:

1. A very good therapist who is specifically trained in pelvic floor and uses a diverse variety of techniques.
3. Doing your best not to let stress and anxiety ruin your progress from pelvic floor therapy. (Easier said than done, I know.)
3. Consistency. Not only with keeping your scheduled therapy appointment but practicing the exercises daily at home, at work, in the car… wherever!

One of the exercises assigned to me at the beginning was to just breathe and relax my core muscles several times a day for several minutes. My therapist noticed that my core and pelvic muscles were so tight and I basically was in a constant kegel. Once I was consciously aware of this phenomenon occurring in my body, I was able to come up with little rituals throughout the day to breath and let my muscles relax.

It was hilarious when I first started trying to make this a habit. I was driving to work from therapy thinking about what I just learned. I started to relax my muscles and it was like an eureka moment!

“Relax your butt hole!”

While driving down the road I realized I was clenching my butt hole so tight. All. The. Time… which also included all of my pelvic muscles. Very long story short… it made a huge difference in my symptoms just learning to relax my butt hole. My boyfriend even started texting me periodically, just simply stating, “Honey, relax your butt hole.”

Well that concludes my sermon on IC and physical therapy for the day. I hope that you get something from my ramblings. Also, I know that physical therapy may not help everyone the same. If you tried before and didn’t see results, try again.

Just the emotional release I get during my sessions does me a world of good.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: monkeybusinessimages


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Interstitial Cystitis

sunrise over the ocean on Pawleys Island in South Carolina

Forgiving Myself When I Eat Food That Isn't Good for Me

I know all too well, what it means to struggle daily (every single day) with health issues. My bladder hurts. All I want is for the hurt to lessen, if only a bit. The struggle is real. It’s worrisome. It robs my joy (if I let it). I am an avid reader, I have read the books [...]
woman driving a car and stopping at a stop sign

When Life Comes to a Halt During an Interstitial Cystitis Flare-Up

I live my life going from bathroom to bathroom – “bathroom hopping” all day long, sometimes over 20 times a day just to pee a tiny, burning drip. The slightest bit of urine in my bladder is uncomfortable and painful and the urgency is so overwhelming that it takes over my entire life until I [...]
Comic panel showing a woman walking into the waiting room of a urologist.

Ashley Guillory Creates Comic About Living With Interstitial Cystitis

For Ashley Guillory, the best way to express how being diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC), an inflammatory bladder condition, made her feel was to turn her experience into a cartoon. “I’d been looking for a way to express what I’d been through my IC diagnosis in a way that didn’t ask for any pity,” Guillory told [...]
Close-up of female hands holding teacup in front of opened book

Finding Comfort in an Uncomfortable World With Chronic Illness

I am a creature of comfort. It is a part of who I am and who I have been since childhood. As a child I loved to play, but also loved to sleep. I enjoyed quiet time quite a bit and still do. Hand me an adult coloring book, some gel pens, a good magazine, [...]