Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis

Treatment for interstitial cystitis

Treatment for interstitial cystitis is always a challenge. Unfortunately, the success rate in Western medicine is low. Researchers have not found one treatment for interstitial cystitis (IC) that works for everyone. Doctors aim current treatments at relieving symptoms in each person individually.

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis


A healthcare professional will work with you to find an interstitial cystitis treatment plan that meets your needs. Your plan may include

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Bladder training
  • Physical therapy
  • Medicines
  • Bladder procedures

Some treatments for interstitial cystitis may work better for you than others. You may also need to combine these treatments to relieve your symptoms.

A healthcare professional may ask you to fill out a symptom scale form with questions about your feelings. The symptom scale may allow a healthcare professional to better understand how you respond to treatment.

You may have to try several different interstitial cystitis treatments before you find one that works for you. Your symptoms may disappear with treatment, a change in what you eat, or without a clear reason. Even when your symptoms go away, they may return after days, weeks, months, or even years. Researchers do not know why. With time, you and your doctor should be able to find a treatment that gives you some relief and helps you cope with IC.

Below are the common treatments for interstitial cystitis

Physical therapy


interstitial cystitis

Physical therapy is one of the treatments for interstitial cystitis. Working with a physical therapist may relieve pelvic pain associated with muscle tenderness, restrictive connective tissue, or muscle abnormalities in your pelvic floor.

Oral medications

Oral medicines for Interstitial cystitis

Oral medications that may improve the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis include the following:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) relieve pain.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline or imipramine (Tofranil), help relax your bladder and block pain.
  • Antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin, others), may reduce urinary urgency and frequency and relieve other symptoms.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approves pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron) for treating interstitial cystitis. How it works is unknown, but it may restore the inner surface of the bladder, which protects the bladder wall from substances in urine that could irritate it. It may take two to four months before you begin to feel pain relief and up to six months before you experience a decrease in urinary frequency.

Nerve stimulation


Bladder instillation

Nerve stimulation techniques include:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). With TENS, mild electrical pulses relieve pelvic pain and, in some cases, reduce urinary frequency. TENS may increase blood flow to the bladder. This may strengthen the muscles that help control the bladder or trigger the release of substances that block pain.
  • Electrical wires on your lower back or just above your pubic area deliver electrical pulses. The length and frequency of therapy depend on what works best for you.
  • Sacral nerve stimulation. Your sacral nerves are a primary link between the spinal cord and nerves in your bladder. Stimulating these nerves may reduce the urinary urgency associated with interstitial cystitis.

With sacral nerve stimulation, a thin wire placed near the sacral nerves sends electrical impulses to your bladder, similar to what a pacemaker does for your heart. If the procedure decreases your symptoms, you may have a permanent device surgically implanted. This procedure doesn’t manage pain from interstitial cystitis but may help relieve some urinary frequency and urgency symptoms.

Bladder distention

Some people notice a temporary improvement in symptoms after cystoscopy with bladder distention. Bladder distention is the stretching of the bladder with water. If you have long-term improvement, the procedure may be repeated.

Medications instilled into the bladder

In bladder instillation, your doctor places the dimethyl sulfoxide (Rimso-50) into your bladder through a thin, flexible tube (catheter) inserted through the urethra.

Treatment options for interstitial cystitis

The solution is sometimes mixed with other medications, such as a local anesthetic, and remains in your bladder for about 15 minutes. You urinate to expel the solution.

You might receive dimethyl sulfoxide, also called DMSO, treatment weekly for six to eight weeks and then have maintenance treatments as needed, such as every couple of weeks, for up to one year.

A newer bladder installation approach uses a solution containing lidocaine, sodium bicarbonate, and pentosan or heparin.


Doctors rarely use surgery to treat interstitial cystitis because removing the bladder doesn’t relieve pain and can lead to other complications.


Surgical treatment

People with severe pain or those whose bladders can hold only very small volumes of urine are possible candidates for surgery. Still, usually only after other treatments fail and symptoms affect the quality of life. Surgical options include:

  • This minimally invasive method involves the insertion of instruments through the urethra to burn off ulcers that may be present with interstitial cystitis.
  • This is another minimally invasive method that involves the insertion of instruments through the urethra to cut around any ulcers.
  • Bladder augmentation. In this procedure, a surgeon increases your bladder’s capacity by putting a patch of intestine on the bladder. However, this is performed only in very specific and rare instances. The procedure doesn’t eliminate pain; some people must empty their bladders with a catheter many times daily.

What is interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis (IC), or bladder pain syndrome (BPS), is a chronic bladder health issue. It is a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder area. Along with this pain are lower urinary tract symptoms lasting more than six weeks without an infection or other clear causes.


Mechanism of IC

Interstitial cystitis (IC), often called painful bladder syndrome, is a tricky condition. It’s tough to diagnose, and though treatments can make life with it better, there’s no cure.

Because IC has a wide range of symptoms and severity, most experts think it might be one of several diseases. You might have IC if your urinary pain lasts longer than six weeks and is not the result of another condition like an infection or kidney stones.

No matter what it’s called, interstitial cystitis symptoms bring a lot of challenges. The disease can affect your social life, exercise, sleep, and even your ability to work.

Interstitial cystitis causes urgent, often painful bathroom trips. In severe cases, you may have to pee as many as 40–60 times daily. It can even keep you up at night.

Who Gets Interstitial Cystitis?

As many as 90% of people with IC are women. About 3% to 6% of adult women have some form of IC. That’s about 3 million to 8 million American women. About 1.3% of American men also have it.

On average, people first start having problems in their 40s. The risk of getting it goes up as you get older.

Causes of interstitial cystitis


Causes of interstitial cystitis

Experts do not know the exact causes of interstitial cystitis, but there are many theories, such as:

  • A defect in the bladder tissue may allow irritating substances in the urine to penetrate the bladder.
  • A specific type of inflammatory cell is called a mast cell. This cell releases histamine and other chemicals that lead to IC/BPS symptoms.
  • Something in the urine damages the bladder.
  • Events that are typically not painful (like bladder filling) cause pain because nerve changes carry bladder sensations.
  • The body’s immune system attacks the bladder. This is similar to other autoimmune conditions.

No specific behaviors (such as smoking) are known to increase your risk of IC. A family member with IC/BPS may increase your risk of getting IC/BPS. Patients with IC/BPS may have a substance in the urine that inhibits the growth of cells in the bladder tissue. So, some people may be more likely to get IC/BPS after an injury to the bladder, such as an infection.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

The symptoms of interstitial cystitis range from mild to severe. For some patients, the symptoms of interstitial cystitis may come and go; for others, they don’t go away.

acupuncture for interstitial cystitis

IC/BPS is not an infection but may feel like a bladder infection. Women with IC or BPS may feel pain when having sex. The more severe cases of IC/BPS can affect your life and the lives of your loved ones. Some people with IC/BPS have other health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other pain syndromes.

Common symptoms of interstitial cystitis are:

  • Bladder pressure and pain get worse as your bladder fills up.
  • Pain in your lower tummy, lower back, pelvis, or urethra (the tube that carries pee from your bladder out of your body)
  • For women, pain in the vulva, vagina, or the area behind the vagina
  • For men, pain in the scrotum, testicles, penis, or the area behind the scrotum
  • The need to pee often (more than the normal 7-8 times daily)
  • The feeling that you need to pee right now, even right after you go
  • For women, pain during sex
  • For men, pain during orgasm or after sex

The bladder pain people feel with IC can range from a dull ache to piercing pain. Peeing may feel like just a little sting, or it can feel like serious burning. About 5% to 10% of people with the condition get ulcers in their bladder.

Things that might make symptoms of interstitial cystitis worse:

  • Some foods or drinks
  • Mental or physical stress
  • Menstrual bleeding

Natural Treatment for interstitial cystitis

Natural treatment for interstitial cystitis is an effective treatment that causes no side effects compared to medication.

Below are the most common approaches to natural treatment for interstitial cystitis:

Home treatment for interstitial cystitis is the simplest form of treatment.

Home treatment for interstitial cystitis is one of the natural treatments for interstitial cystitis that can be achieved at home. It is very effective and can help reduce the symptoms of interstitial cystitis.



Listed below are methods of home treatment for interstitial cystitis:

A diet for interstitial cystitis is an essential part of any treatment for interstitial cystitis


Diet for interstitial cystitis

Diet for interstitial cystitis is one of the most important parts of the cystitis treatment at home. Eliminating or reducing foods in your diet that irritate your bladder may help relieve the discomfort of interstitial cystitis. Common interstitial cystitis diet irritants include carbonated beverages, caffeine in all forms (including chocolate), citrus products, and foods containing high concentrations of vitamin C. Consider avoiding similar foods, such as tomatoes, pickled foods, alcohol, and spices. Artificial sweeteners may aggravate symptoms in some people. If certain foods may irritate your bladder, try eliminating them from your diet. Reintroduce them one at a time and pay attention to which, if any, worsen symptoms.

Bladder training: an exercise-based treatment for interstitial cystitis


Stretching excercises for interstitial cystitis

Bladder training is a type of interstitial cystitis treatment at home that involves timed urination—going to the toilet according to the clock rather than waiting for the need to go. You start by urinating at set intervals, such as every half-hour, whether you have to go or not. Then, you gradually wait longer between bathroom visits. During bladder training, you may learn to control urinary urges by using relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly and deeply or distracting yourself with another activity.

Other home treatments for interstitial cystitis are:

  • Wear loose clothing. Avoid belts or clothes that put pressure on your abdomen.
  • Reduce stress. Try methods such as visualization and biofeedback.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking may worsen any painful condition, and smoking contributes to bladder cancer.
  • Easy stretching exercises may help reduce interstitial cystitis symptoms

Herbs for interstitial cystitis: an effective  and safe form of treatment for interstitial cystitis

Herbs for interstitial cystitis are another form of natural treatment for interstitial cystitis that effectively reduces the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Below are herbs for interstitial cystitis:

  • Varunadi Vati: This herb for interstitial cystitis consists of various natural ingredients that help to treat the symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis. It helps reduce the inflammation in the pelvic area and helps with urine retention.
  • Chandanadhi Vati: This herb for interstitial cystitis helps resolve the problems associated with interstitial cystitis, like controlling the frequent urination burning sensation and also reducing inflammation in pelvic areas.

Homeopathy for interstitial cystitis: #1 natural treatment for interstitial cystitis

Homeopathy for interstitial cystitis is another natural treatment for interstitial cystitis that effectively manages symptoms like bladder pain, pelvic pain, pain in the lower abdomen, urgency to urinate, frequent urination, painful or burning urination, pain during sexual intercourse, pain in the vulva and vagina in females, and pain in the scrotum and testicles in males.

With these medicines, the symptoms gradually reduce in intensity and frequency.

Listed below are the most commonly used homeopathic remedies for interstitial cystitis


This homeopathic remedy for interstitial cystitis is beneficial for cases with frequent urine, especially at night.

Mercurius Solubilis

This homeopathic remedy for interstitial cystitis is very effective when there is frequent urination and a marked urgency to urinate. Persons needing it have frequent urination both during the day and at night. They are urged to pass urine every hour and a little urine every time.


It is a very valuable medicine for females to manage complaints of painful intercourse and pain in the pelvis and vagina.

Aсuрunсturе as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – an ancient approach to the treatment of interstitial cystitis

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis is one of the most effective treatments. The origin of agriculture is China. Frоm thаt country, асuрunсturе hаѕ ѕрrеаd its рорulаritу аll оvеr thе wоrld. Thе uѕеѕ оf асuрunсturе for interstitial cystitis аrе quite fаmоuѕ now. Today реорlе аrе mоving further аwау frоm wеѕtеrn mеdiсаtiоn аnd ѕtirring mоrе towards natural treatments, mоѕtlу whеn wеѕtеrn tаblеtѕ hаѕ nо answer tо their mеdiсinаl ѕiсknеѕѕ оr they dоn’t rеѕеmbling thе оthеr аltеrnаtivеѕ given tо thеm, bе it surgical procedure оr drugs or еvеn whеn thеу hаvе bееn infоrmеd thаt nоthing in аdditiоn can bе dоnе. Thеу gо round to acupuncture fоr ache rеliеf, fоr сhrоniс infirmitу, fоr sensitive grievance, fоr diffеrеnt ѕidе еffесtѕ brоught on bу ѕuррlеmеntаrу mеdiсаtiоnѕ, fоr not curable conditions, during tumоr trеаtmеntѕ аnd many mоrе likе, thаt. Other than for pain relief, acupuncture can also be used for many other ailments. Thеѕе inсludе- Menopausal signs and troubles, hоt reddens, the iѕѕuеѕ оf еndоmеtriоѕiѕ, bаrrеnnеѕѕ, рrеmеnѕtruаl аnxiеtу. All the problems described above can be solved with the use of architecture.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for interstitial cystitis pain control.

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis and Chinеѕе hеrbѕ саn рrоvidе inсrеdiblе relief fоr раtiеntѕ ѕuffеring frоm Interstitial Cystitis. However, they may seem very similar in nature; treating a blood infection, a UTI, and a CI are very different. If it is a bacterial infection, diarrhea can be confirmed with a urine test. In the case of infection, patients will be treated if they have a condition known (in Chinese medicine) as Dаmр-Hеаt. However, in Interstitial Cystitis, thе раtiеnt саn have a variety оf роѕѕiblе саuѕеѕ thаt present аѕ the соnditiоn itѕеlf. Possible Chinеѕе diagnoses for IC аrе Livеr-Sрlееn diѕhаrmоnу, Blооd and/or Qi ѕtаgnаtiоn, Kidnеу Yin оr Yаng dеfiсiеnсу, Livеr dерrеѕѕiоn with Dampness аnd Spleen Qi dеfiсiеnсу. For the most part, I haven’t ѕееn a lоt оf раtiеntѕ whоѕе conditions аrе textbook. From my experience, patients will have a combination of a few of these symptoms. The раttеrnѕ that I hаvе seen thаt ѕееm tо bе most predominant аrе Liver-Spleen diѕhаrmоnу аnd Blооd/Qi ѕtаgnаtiоn with Qi dеfiсiеnсу. Treatment for this is to harmonize the spleen and liver, promote the movement of Qi and blood in the lower abdomen, and tonify the Qi. Aсuрunсturе point’s ѕhоuld bе chosen tо treat the раrtiсulаr pattern. Additional people helpful to the community would be Ren 4, Ren 6, SP 6, ST28, K3, K11, K12, UB22, UB23, UB26, UB31, UB32, UB39, and Du4.

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis and Chinеѕе hеrbаl mеdiсinе can рlау аn imроrtаnt раrt in thе trеаtmеnt оf this medical condition. It can decrease flare-up severity and frequency, allowing patients to enjoy life more fully. Please visit our clinic for more information on the treatment of IC and additional things you can do to prevent flare-ups.

Treatment for interstitial cystitis in Philadelphia.

Schedule an appointment for a consultation and ask Victor Tsan, MD, if acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis is the right treatment choice for you.

Dr Tsan Medical Director of Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic

Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic is a subdivision of the internationally recognized Philadelphia Holistic Clinic, where all holistic treatments reside under one roof. Our professionals will always recommend the optimal treatment plan. If acupuncture is not the best choice for your specific medical case, you will receive homeopathic treatment, herbal medicines, or reiki at the same place.

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