Interstitial cystitis symptoms may worsen during pregnancy, but in some people, they may stay the same or improve.
During pregnancy, people with IC may experience a change in their IC symptoms, or they may remain the same.
This article looks at how IC may affect fertility and pregnancy, as well as safe treatment options for IC during pregnancy.
According to the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), many people with IC may have an improvement in their symptoms during pregnancy.
Although there is no clear reason for this, experts think it may be due to hormonal changes.
Some people may find their IC symptoms stay the same during pregnancy, but the reason for this is also unknown.
IC symptoms occurring during pregnancy may affect
- before a pregnancy
- after a first pregnancy
- during the first 6 months after childbirth
According to 2021 questionnaire results, people with IC may have a higher rate of miscarriage than those without IC.
Acute stress may worsen IC symptoms and bladder inflammation. Stress may stimulate immune cells in the bladder and uterus and may link to miscarriage.
Symptoms of IC include:
- severe pelvic pain lasting for
at least 6 weeks
- a frequent and urgent need to urinate
- painful urination
- needing to urinate frequently at night
- painful sexual intercourse
During pregnancy, IC symptoms may stay the same, worsen, or improve.
Although IC symptoms can occur during pregnancy,
People can use hyaluronic acid during pregnancy. However, there is a very low risk, at 2–4%, of congenital abnormalities in the fetus.
Treatment with hyaluronic acid may cause gradual but significant improvements in symptoms. People may receive multiple doses during and after pregnancy.
Home remedies for treating IC
- drinking plenty of fluids
- recording any foods or drinks that may trigger a flare to avoid them
- reducing stress and trying relaxation techniques, such as meditation or a massage
- wearing loose, comfortable clothing
- avoiding smoking
- doing regular, low-impact physical activity, such as swimming and walking
People should talk with a doctor before taking any medications, supplements, or home remedies for treating IC, if they are pregnant.
People may experience IC symptoms after delivery.
According to a
The study recommends continued treatment with hyaluronic acid, with doses every month for 12 months.
In some people, IC may affect a person’s ability to become pregnant if they are conceiving through sexual intercourse, and IC has a negative impact on their sex life.
If IC is having a negative effect on a person’s sex life, people may find the following tips helpful:
- Plan sexual encounters for when people feel their best, such as after treatments that help relieve their IC symptoms.
- Prepare for intimacy by using relaxation techniques or cold or heat therapy.
- If sexual activity triggers an IC flare, plan sexual activity in the 24 hours before a scheduled doctor visit for treating symptoms.
- Try out activities or products before sexual activity with a partner, such as trying a lubricant or vibrator to see if it feels comfortable.
If people do not experience any improvements, it may help to talk with a healthcare professional for advice.
There is little research on whether IC itself affects fertility. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, IC does not appear to affect fertility, nor negatively affect the health of a fetus.
However, researchers need to investigate this issue further.
People may find IC support from the following sites:
This section answers some frequently asked questions about interstitial cystitis and pregnancy.
Can pregnancy cause interstitial cystitis to flare up?
In some people, pregnancy
How can IC affect fertility?
There is little research on whether IC affects fertility, but it seems that IC has no negative impact on fertility or the health of a fetus.
However, IC can affect a person’s sex life if sexual activity triggers pain or an IC flare. This can cause a person to have difficulty conceiving through sexual intercourse.
Can interstitial cystitis cause miscarriage?
A 2021 questionnaire posted on an IC website asked if people had experienced a miscarriage.
78% of the respondents reported experiencing significant stress. Acute stress may worsen IC symptoms by stimulating immune cells in the bladder and uterus, which could link to miscarriage.
IC may lead to a higher risk of certain pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and preterm birth.
In some people, interstitial cystitis symptoms may worsen during pregnancy, but for others, the symptoms may stay the same or improve.
Most people may experience IC before or after pregnancy, rather than during. People may find medical treatments and home remedies can help relieve their symptoms.