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Smoking and Stress elicit IC Flares...


         IC patient frequently report that their symptoms worsen during periods of high physical or emotional stress. Emotional stress creates more bladder symptoms through no fault of the patient. Similarly, smoking causes more than half of all bladder problems due to the toxic byproducts produced by smoke that are then eliminated  through the kidneys and bladder. These same toxic byproducts appear to irritate our tender bladders and trigger some IC flares.

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   The human body has complicated neurological functions that are still under study. In the past few years, several IC researchers have focused on how nerves in the spinal cord and bladder react in highly stressful situations. They have found that intense stress causes a neuroendocrine response throughout the body pain, spinal cord and that appears to be contributing to the pain levels.

             “A smoker’s bladder is continuously exposed to carcinogenic substances which, over time, can affect the bladder lining and potentially lead to cancer,” said Tomas Griebling, MD, associate profeesor of urology, vice chair of urology and assistant scientist in the Center on Aging at the University of Kansas City.

             “If the threat of lung cancer isn’t serious enough to inspire a patient to quit smoking, perhaps the thought of losing your bladder to cancer will be”.

            It’s important for IC patients to remember that there is no shame in having an IC flare. But if it happens frequently, try to reduce your stress level and quit smoking.

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