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why does physical activity cause flare?

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  • why does physical activity cause flare?

    Hi, I've had IC for many years. Five years ago I had a hysterectomy, and it got worse afterwards. It was worse because I got vulvodynia from it, and now it seems like the VV and IC are almost one and the same thing. I took Cymbalta 20-30 mg for two years and it helped a LOT. I had to stop taking it due to daily headaches from it, however, and it also started causing too much anxiety and weirdness. I stopped three months ago, so it's out of my system now and my body has adjusted back to normal, including bladder and vulvodynia pain!

    My question is: why does physical activity now cause a flare of both IC and VV? It never used to! I noticed that when I tried going back to the gym and pool recently, my symptoms got much much worse about a half-day to a day later. I feel fine during. This never used to happen. I can't tell if it's swimming laps (ultraviolet filter, low chlorine) or the elliptical, or even going up and down the steep hill I live on for a 2.5 mile walk. Any insights are appreciated. Are nerves being compressed by muscles during activity, or ............. ???? My new gyno thinks it's due to adhesions and offers to take a look inside, but I'm leery of another invasive pelvic procedure.

  • #2
    I've often wondered about that myself. I have a feeling it's irritated or inflamed nerves somewhere, whether inside the bladder or outside going to the bladder. When I had a lot of bladder irritation jarring or vibrational movements always made it worse. When the bladder wasn't irritated the movements never bothered me. My one doctor always said she felt it was a nerve inflammation somewhere- but didn't know where.


    • #3
      If you fall and skin a knee, that knee is going to hurt if you bend it or jiggle it a lot. If you sprain a muscle, exercise is going to hurt. It's reasonable to think that since I have a bladder my doctor described as very inflamed, it's going to hurt if I exercise the muscles around it and jiggle it.

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      • #4
        True; but activity didn't used to bother my bladder

        I'm always careful not to do anything with impact like jogging because that would obviously jostle the bladder; but SWIMMING? Doing the freestyle stroke, I'm just kicking my legs. I just don't get it. Sigh. And what's the deal with doing abdominal exercise anyway? Does it pull on the bladder or something?

        Does anyone know how to stay fit with this stupid disease?


        • #5
          It's true what you say. I will try the recumbent bike, then do some upper body weight machines. Perhaps the recumbent keeps the torso and pelvis controlled enough that it doesn't bother the bladder and VV? I hope my knees can handle the bike. I remember the days when I would do an hour step class and then hit the weight room, then swim laps to cool down! Needless to say, I was in remission then!


          • #6
            Originally posted by naturegal View Post
            My question is: why does physical activity now cause a flare of both IC and VV? .
            I think it is because after exercise the urine is more concentrated and more acidic. During exercise, urine has approximately the same sodium concentration as sweat.


            • #7
              That's an interesting theory. That means drinking plenty of water would help?


              • #8
                Landish, I just googled this and you are right, it looks as if there might be a connection between exercise and increase in bladder pain. This is super helpful to know about. I will do some more research on it including experimenting with keeping urine dilute during and after exercise. For me, my symptoms are worse afterwards, like even the next day. Thank you!


                • #9
                  I think its the jogging and bouncing of the bladder is why.
                  <a href=";current=Picture005.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket" ></a>


                  • #10

                    well, i was diagnosed finally about 2 months ago. I've been going to water aerobics 2x a week. well, I had a horrible flareup last week, and i went to the doctor. she told me that the chlorine was making my bladder flare up. Has anyone had any issues with chlorine? i really love going to the pool, but i can't go back if my bladder doesn't like it.


                    • #11
                      Naturegal ---sorry I didn't see your post earlier. Drinking plenty of water during exercise help me, I have a little bit more frequency and I have to interrupt the exercise but I have no pain. It's still important to drink enough water after exercise until your urine becomes clear and diluted.
                      It is just my experience. I hope you feel better or more comfortable during and after exercise.


                      • #12
                        Pebbles1 ---I can not even get me into the pool without the burning sensation and it takes me days to recover. I agree with your doctor, chlorine is one of the worst things for IC. If you live near a lake or the ocean, take advantage of it.


                        • #13
                          Exercise with IC and PFD

                          I've had IC/PFD since December of 2000. At first I thought that babying myself and stopping the exercise that I had done up till that time would be helpful. Well I ended up with a bunch of extra weight to carry around and high blood pressure. Three years ago I came off all but a few of my medications and started exercising again. I quickly lost about 35 lbs. I have found that the exercise I do actually helps relieve my symptoms. I am able to walk at a fast pace (about 4 mph) on the treadmill and even do some jogging. I'm about to start adding cycling with my husband. We're hoping to slowly work our way up to a century ride. Wish me luck. We have found a special gel saddle which will provide some extra padding and I'm going to find some well padded cycling shorts. The fact that I'm retiring and will now be able to find the time to do some of the things that were impossible due to the demands of my job gives me hope that I will be able to get everything a bit more under control. I have actually found that sitting at work, or in the car (I had a 180 mile commute (90 miles each way) every day, aggravated my symptoms more than anything else. I'm hoping to also add some weight training again for the upper and lower body. I know that not everything works the same for everyone but wanted to share what works for me and hopefully give someone else some hope that they will be able to resume some type of normalcy to their life. I know the pain will never totally go away, but I'm trying to make it more manageable the only way I know how. Good luck to everyone. This site has always provided me with so much useful information that I always tend to come back here when I have something to share, or I need to find out if someone has tried something that works. Thanks everyone for sharing. This is such a personal problem and it's nice to know that there are people out there just like myself. People at work have no idea why I call in sick when I look so darned healthy. If only they knew that some days are just not possible. As I am not going to try and fight the system to try for disability due to the extra stress that would cause, I chose to resign and take my chances. By reducing the stress, the sitting and getting back to more relaxing activities I hope to reduce the number of flare ups. Wish me luck