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Elmiron: This Common Bladder Pill Is Causing Blindness

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

side effects of bladder control medications

Story at-a-glance -

  • Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder condition that may trigger scarring and stiffening of the bladder walls. After decades of use, new information demonstrates a long-term medication, Elmiron, may cause retinal damage mimicking age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy, resulting in blindness
  • Researchers are hopeful that if identified early, the damage may be mitigated; how the damage is triggered is unclear
  • IC causes a frequent urge to urinate, sometimes up to 60 times in a 24-hour period. It also causes pain and pressure in the bladder. Those with IC may also have migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and/or allergies. Those with pelvic floor dysfunction may find relief with physical therapy
  • Certain foods trigger symptoms in the bladder, as do stress and anxiety since it increases muscle tension. One study found symptom relief with melatonin and another with quercetin; consider using emotional freedom techniques to help reduce stress and muscle tension and to experience pain relief

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic bladder condition that may cause scarring and stiffening of the bladder walls. Researchers have found that only 10% of those who suffer from IC are men. In the male population, characteristic symptoms include pelvic pain, dysfunction with urination and chronic prostatitis with pain associated with sexual activity. Women who have the condition often have chronic pain in their bladder, irritable bowel syndrome and other issues.

In a population-based study, researchers found the median age of onset was 40 years and up to 50% would experience a spontaneous remission ranging from one month to 80 months. Those with IC were twice as likely to have a history of urinary tract infections.


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