Finding support and managing your emotions

Many with chronic bladder infections feel it’s the isolation that is the biggest emotional drain. By being part of a support group or forum, you have an outlet where you can post or talk and generally feel you are not an isolated outpost of one in a sea of wellness. These give you an opportunity to meet, chat and share. If you are struggling to get out of the house, perhaps you could host a local meet up so you feel in control and can show off those baking skills! These meet ups have created new friendships, compassion, confidence and understanding. You will be amazed at who lives in the same village, town or city as you and has a chronic infection. It all starts with a post on a support group or forum.

Find support groups with bladder and pelvic pain

What treatments are available to help with pain, lack of sleep and discomfort?

Cetirizine and Ranitidine can be purchased over the counter. These are commonly sold as allergy/antihistamine tablets but they work on the H1 and H2 pain receptors in the bladder and can help reduce inflammation and pain. Prescription-strength anti-histamines can be prescribed – discuss with your practitioner which is appropriate to manage bladder pain.

Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline or Dosulepin are other options often prescribed to those with bladder pain. These are anti-depressants which have been found to help with nerve pain in the body including the bladder, aid sleep and can be prescribed by a consultant or your doctor. They should always be taken at night as drowsiness is a side effect. Increasing or decreasing the dosage of an antidepressant should always be discussed with your specialist or GP as side effects are common and should be managed appropriately. Your pharmacist can also provide advice around the day to day use of these medications.

Always discuss any other medication taken for other medical conditions with your GP or consultant as certain medications do have significant interactions with types of antidepressants. This particularly applies if you are already prescribed anti-depressants to manage issues such as anxiety.

Alternatively, 5 HTP is a natural product containing serotonin and will help with mood and sleep. Again check with your doctor, complementary practitioner or the manufacturer as natural medications can impact with prescribed allopathic medications with significant side effects.