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The Connection between Interstitial Cystitis and Fibromyalgia

There are many medical conditions that can occur with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). One that you need to be aware of is Interstitial Cystitis (IC). It is a chronic inflammation of the bladder that can be very debilitating for some. It occurs primarily in women, although it also can occur in men. The most common presenting symptoms of this condition include severe pelvic pain and intense burning with urination. In fact, the most common description of this syndrome is that it feels like a “urinary tract infection (UTI) that never goes away.”

A person who has IC has likely been seen by more than one healthcare professional. When their urine is checked, there is no evidence of a urinary tract infection, however, the urinary symptoms persist, and there is little or no relief from prescription antibiotics. Note that while IC can occur on its own, there is a strong connection with Fibromyalgia. In some, the symptoms of IC can precede the development of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Too many women and men are not aware of this condition, and some health professionals may not be aware either. It is important that to find a healthcare professional that recognizes the symptoms and diagnosis, and is willing to work with you to alleviate the symptoms.

Here are ideas for dealing with Interstitial Cystitis naturally.

  • IC is very much associated with certain “trigger foods” or food sensitivities that can worsen urinary symptoms. In some cases, these foods can also be a stimulus for worsening fibromyalgia symptoms as well. Common trigger foods are those that are more “acidic” that can irritate the bladder lining. These include tomatoes, citrus fruits, caffeinated beverages and Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid).
  • It is important to keep well hydrated with this condition.
  • Altered bowel flora can also adversely affect the health of the bladder. Begin taking a probiotic daily.
  • Begin using herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) which not only can help with urinary symptoms, but also improve energy and mood and relieve stress from Fibromyalgia as well.
  • The antioxidant Quercetin has also been shown in a few studies to decrease bladder inflammation and pain symptoms associated with IC. Start at 400 mg a day. Quercetin can also help with Fibromyalgia symptoms as well.

Written by Rich Snyder, DO
Updated: April 2020


  • Bassaly R, Downes K et al. “Dietary consumption triggers in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome patients.” Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. 2011 Jan;17(1):36-9.
  • Clemens JQ, Elliott MN et al. “Temporal ordering of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome and non-bladder conditions.” Journal of Urology. 2012 Dec;80(6):1227-31.
  • Katske F, Shoskes DA et al. “Treatment of interstitial cystitis with a quercetin supplement.” Techniques in Urology. 2001 Mar;7(1):44-6.
  • Nickel JC, Tripp DA et al. “Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and associated medical conditions with an emphasis on irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.” Journal of Urology. 2010 Oct;184(4):1358-63.
  • Theoharides, TC, Kempurak D et al. “Treatment of refractory interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome with CystoProtek–an oral multi-agent natural supplement.” Canadian Journal of Urology. 2008 Dec;15(6):4410-4.


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