If you have interstitial cystitis (IC) and smoke, quit today!
A study done in China about the prevalence of IC in women (Neurourol Urodyn. 2008 Jul 31) found that smoking was correlated with IC symptoms.
Cigarettes irritate the bladder and may worsen IC symptoms of frequency and urgency. Constant coughing, often a result of long-term smoking, puts pressure on the abdominal area and may heighten pain associated with the pelvic floor muscles.
Smoking can worsen symptoms of chronic pain according to David O. Warner, MD and his research team from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN. In the October 2010 issue of Anesthesiology the team reported that nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarette smoke increase pain-related conditions such as back pain. Smokers were also found to be more sensitive to pain stimuli and to have higher rates of depression. Of note also is that the interaction of nicotine with receptors in the nervous system can negatively impact sleep, anxiety, and cognitive processes. The authors conclude that there is much more to learn about the association of pain and smoking. They also suggest that healthcare providers weigh the special treatment needs of pain patients who smoke. However, the researchers bring home the message to quit smoking!
Bottom line, quitting smoking may help reduce the severity of your IC symptoms. There are lots of online resources about quitting smoking. Check out the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for more information.
Revised December 11, 2010