I discovered early on in my IC journey that supplements proposing to help the condition are EVERYWHERE. It’s all a bit overwhelming. What works and what doesn’t? The intrigue of IC is that what works for one person, won’t work for another so the only way you will know if a supplement works, is to try it. This can become quite a costly experiment. I hate to think about how much money I have thrown at supplements with limited or no success. I could have a Mulberry handbag instead of a medicine cabinet under my bed.
When I first started experiencing symptoms and hoped it was an UTI, I stocked up on the natural supplement D-Mannose by a company called SweetCures. They state their D-Mannose will stop UTI and cystitis symptoms. Their website boasts several awards for being the “best alternative product”. Hundreds of reviews on the internet from happy customers agree. It comes in capsules or a powder which you add to a drink of your choice.
Some patients with IC have said they saw a reduction in their symptoms when taken long term and SweetCures recommended treatment over a three month period. At their minimum recommended dosage for IC patients, three months treatment will cost £160. At their maximum recommended dosage, it doubles to £320.
I had no success with D-Mannose but I was only taking it for a few weeks. I became disheartened that I was reaping no benefit and stopped due to the cost. I, like many patients, don’t have an endless supply of cash to throw at treatments.
Quite a few popular IC supplements are aimed at the American market so are harder to get hold of in the UK and we can pay a premium for the privilege. I have researched a few;
Desert Harvest conducted a controlled study of their aloe vera capsules in IC patients. They say the results showed 87.5% of patients who completed the study received relief from at least some of their symptoms. Sounds promising. That’s not to say I haven’t read about people who have had no reduction in symptoms or it has made their symptoms worse.
Again, it’s recommended to take these capsules for at least three months. If I follow the minimum recommended dosage, this would cost £144 for three months treatment. It could go up to £240 depending on whether my symptoms improve or not throughout the three months and I have to up the dosage (prices calculated from UK supplier tinypioneer.co.uk and excludes postage). So, this is cheaper than D-Mannose but still costs a fortune!
I have discovered that Desert Harvest will send you a FREE trial pack of 6 aloe vera capsules. This is equivalent to one day of treatment. It might be enough so you know whether or not you have any adverse side effects but in reality, you are unlikely to see any difference. Either way, I love a freebie so I have just sent off for my pack (not sure I’m allowed to say freebie judging by their website address) http://www.desertharvest.com/info-pack-notfreebies.html
CystoProtek capsules state they been clinically tested to help promote bladder health (no other information on their website about this). I have read lots of positive reviews from IC patients. A quick look on Amazon and I can get one months treatment for £58.
Cysto Renew is another popular one claiming to help calm the bladder. One months supply is currently selling on Amazon for between £48 and £83.
I know there are plenty of other supplements out there and these aren’t my only choices but I am gobsmacked at how much they cost. As much as I would love to try Desert Harvest Aloe Vera, I can’t afford it. Not when there is no guarantee of success. Does it need to be this expensive? I doubt it. I feel like they are preying on the vulnerability and desperation of many IC sufferers who will spend any amount of money in search of a “cure”. These companies are not producing treatments to help us, they are only interested in lining their own pockets.
In comparison, a prescription in the UK costs £8.40 for one item. Natural or alternative medicines are not available on prescription. My consultant couldn’t even recommend the IC diet because there was no medical backing yet all you need is a Google search to see how it has successfully helped thousands of sufferers.
I currently take the following supplements;
Prelief – 2-3 tablets before eating. I try to eat an acid free diet but take these as a precaution.
L-Arginine – 500mg three times a day. I have been taking this for two months now and have seen no difference.
Marshmallow Root Capsules & Tea – Two capsules three times a day and one cup of tea a day. I have been taking both capsule and tea for about six weeks and seen no difference. Initially, I thought the tea tasted like a rotting corpse but now I have grown to like it!
Glucosamine, Chrondroitin & MSM – One tablet, three times a day. I have only been taking this for a few days but have seen a reduction in my pain. Coincidence? Maybe.
Supplements I have stopped taking due to inefficiency, side effects or increasing my pain;
Quercetin with Bromelain
I wish every supplement was affordable for all or could be provided on prescription. At the moment, all I am offered on prescription is painkillers which are not going to help improve my IC, it will just mask the symptoms. At least supplements aim to add something to your body to improve its function. I know where I would rather spend my hard earned money.
Have you found success with any supplements? Let me know!