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How Do You Calm An Interstitial Cystitis Flare Up & How Long Do The Flares Last?

The sooner you treat the flare the faster you will conquer it because when you let go of the condition, it builds the intensity necessitating more interventional strategies.1

Knowing the causes of flareups and dietary changes can help manage and avoid flare-ups.2,3

Interstitial cystitis patients often experience sudden flares and are intermittent due to several factors. This may last between 3-14 days.4

Even though you diligently follow self-care techniques there are times when you experience sudden and dramatic worsening of their bladder symptoms. They are often unpreventable and can hurt badly. However, they are preventable when you know what is causing the flare.

Medical studies have also shown that dietary changes can help manage and avoid interstitial cystitis flare-ups.

How Do You Calm An Interstitial Cystitis Flare-Up?

The exact cause of the condition is not known however possible theories indicate that infection could have been caused by the damage to the bladder lining, stress in the floor of the pelvic muscles, and sensitivity to chemicals or synthesized drugs. Some common triggers that cause Interstitial cystitis flare-ups include

  • Diet- Colon irritated by spicy food can a trigger flare in IC patients
  • Vitamins and medicines that produce allergic reactions
  • Sexual activity can trigger IC flares and many patients experience pain during intercourse

But What Is An Interstitial Cystitis Flare?

Flare is defined as the severing of the disease progression. Nearly 700 people reported that interstitial cystitis may flare when the symptoms worsen. Clinical studies show that symptoms worsen during menstruation and trigger pain that can last from a few hours to a few days. On the contrary, some women may experience a flare during pregnancy. Having a flare means your bladder is injured and may contain tiny wounds on it.

However, you can calm an IC flareup by drinking an adequate amount of water with changes to your dietary habits. Certain foods and beverages can increase your flare-ups, so your primary goal is to understand what is causing the flare and how to calm and soothe the strained muscles.1

For instance, when you have the flare after a long car drive and if you have vulvar, urethral, or testicular pain pay attention to your seating structures. Use the right cushion that can provide tenderness to your stressed muscles.

Also, simple strategies that can be done at home include

  • Drink plenty of water to dilute the concentration of the urine
  • Use a cold pad or heating pad under your perineum (whichever works for you)
  • Take medicines when your symptoms start and don’t delay allowing pain to increase.2,3

How Long Does The Interstitial Cystitis Flare Last?

Flares are intermittent in most cases and pain increases over time. The flares typically last for 3-14 days however when the flares occur most frequently, clinical studies show that it may last longer. When patients diagnosed with urinary tract infection, doctors recommend antibiotics irrespective of urine culture.

Symptoms can be mild to moderate. When the flare is not persistent the patients will have less frequency of urination and resolve much faster. Whatever triggers the flare-up, it is best to treat the symptoms as soon as you notice them. At the same time, giving up things that cause interstitial cystitis flareups can reduce the risk.

However, some flareup doesn’t resolve with lifestyle modifications so it may require different types of treatments such as manipulative physical therapy, keeping stress under control, and limiting foods and drinks that irritate your pelvic lining. When the treatment doesn’t help, try for drugs prescribed by a specialist.4


  1. “Interstitial Cystitis Flares.” Interstitial Cystitis Association, 28 Apr. 2020, www.ichelp.org/about-ic/symptoms-of-ic/icflares/.
  2. “Menu.” New Jersey Urology, urologycarealliance.com/understanding-interstitial-cystitis-how-to-manage-flare-ups/.
  3. “Effect of Diet on Interstitial Cystitis.” Effect of Diet on Interstitial Cystitis – Urology Care Foundation, www.urologyhealth.org/patient-magazine/magazine-archives/2016/summer-2016/effect-of-diet-on-interstitial-cystitis.
  4. Parsons, C Lowell. “How Does Interstitial Cystitis Begin?” Translational Andrology and Urology, AME Publishing Company, Dec. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4708543/.

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 21, 2020

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