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
eliminatedthrough the kidneys and
bladder. These same toxic byproducts appear to irritate our tender bladders and
trigger some IC flares.
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.