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 

Treatment options for interstitial cystitis

interstitial cystitis (IC) that works for everyone. Doctors aim current treatments at relieving symptoms in each person on an individual basis.

A health care 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 also may need to use a combination of these treatments to relieve your symptoms.

A health care professional may ask you to fill out a form, called a symptom scale, with questions about how you feel. The symptom scale may allow a health care professional to better understand how you are responding 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

Nerve stimulation for 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:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), to 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.
  • Pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron), which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically 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 to experience a decrease in urinary frequency.

Nerve stimulation

Sacral nerve stimulation

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 placed on your lower back or just above your pubic area deliver electrical pulses — the length of time and frequency of therapy depends 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 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 to relieve some symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency.

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 prescription medication dimethyl sulfoxide (Rimso-50) into your bladder through a thin, flexible tube (catheter) inserted through the urethra.

Medicines instilled into the bladder

The solution sometimes is 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 approach to bladder instillation uses a solution containing the medications lidocaine, sodium bicarbonate, and either 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 for Interstitial cystitis

People with severe pain or those whose bladders can hold only very small volumes of urine are possible candidates for surgery, but 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 the capacity of your bladder 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 and some people need to empty their bladders with a catheter many times a day.

What is interstitial cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis (IC)/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 which have lasted for more than 6 weeks, without having an infection or other clear causes.

Mechanism of Interstitial cystitis

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 such a wide range of symptoms and severity, most experts think it might be several diseases. If you have urinary pain that lasts for more than 6 weeks and is not caused by other conditions like infection or kidney stones, you may have IC.

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. You may have to pee as many as 40-60 times a day in severe cases. It can even keep you up at night.

Who Gets Interstitial Cystitis?

As many as 90% of people with IC are women. Somewhere between 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, which 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 that damages the bladder.
  • Changes in the nerves that carry bladder sensations so pain is caused by events that are not normally painful (such as bladder filling).
  • 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. Having 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

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

acupuncture for interstitial cystitis

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

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis

Common symptoms of interstitial cystitis are:

  • Bladder pressure and pain that gets 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 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 for interstitial cystitis.

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.

interstitial-cystitis supplements

Listed below are methods of home treatment for interstitial cystitis:

Diet for interstitial cystitis is an essential part of any treatment for interstitial cystitis

Diet for panful bladder

Diet for interstitial cystitis is one of the most important parts of the interstitial cystitis treatment at home. Eliminating or reducing foods in your diet that irritate your bladder may help to relieve the discomfort of interstitial cystitis. Common interstitial cystitis diet irritants include carbonated beverages, caffeine in all forms (including chocolate), citrus products, and food 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 you think 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 exercises 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 – effective  and safe form of treatment for interstitial cystitis

Herbs for interstitial cystitis is another natural treatment for interstitial cystitis that is effective in reducing the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. Below are herbs for interstitial cystitis:

  • Varunadi Vati: This herbs for interstitial cystitis consist of various natural ingredient that helps to treat the symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis. It helps to reduce the inflammation in the pelvic area and is helpful in urine retention.
  • Chandanadhi Vati: This herb for interstitial cystitis helps to resolve the problems associated with interstitial cystitis like control the frequent urination, burning sensation in urination and also reduce 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/burning urination; pain during sexual intercourse; pain in the vulva, vagina in females; and pain in the scrotum, testicles in males.

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

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


This homeopathic remedy for interstitial cystitis is beneficial for cases where frequent urine is present especially at night time.

Mercurius Solubilis

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


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

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

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis is one of the most effective treatments for this medical condition. Thе оrigin оf асuрunсturе iѕ 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. Othеr than fоr ache rеliеf acupuncture саn bе еmрlоуеd for lоtѕ of оthеr аilmеntѕ as wеll. Thеѕе inсludе- Menopausal signs and troubles, hоt reddens, the iѕѕuеѕ оf еndоmеtriоѕiѕ, bаrrеnnеѕѕ, рrеmеnѕtruаl аnxiеtу. All thе рrоblеmѕ described above саn bе ѕоlvеd with thе uѕеѕ of асuрunсturе.

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. Although they mау ѕееm very ѕimilаr in nature, trеаting a blаddеr infection, a UTI and CI аrе very diffеrеnt. If it’ѕ a bасtеriаl infection, diаgnоѕiѕ саn be соnfirmеd with a urinе tеѕt. In thе case of infесtiоnѕ, patients will bе treated аѕ if they have a соnditiоn wе (in Chinеѕе medicine) rеfеr tо 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 thе most part, I hаvеn’t ѕееn a lоt оf раtiеntѕ whоѕе conditions аrе textbook. From mу еxреriеnсе, раtiеntѕ will have a соmbinаtiоn of a fеw of these раttеrnѕ. The раttеrnѕ that I hаvе seen thаt ѕееm tо bе most predominant аrе Liver-Spleen diѕhаrmоnу аnd Blооd/Qi ѕtаgnаtiоn with Qi dеfiсiеnсу. Treatment fоr this is to hаrmоnizе thе Spleen аnd Livеr, рrоmоtе thе mоvеmеnt оf Qi аnd Blооd in the lоwеr аbdоmеn and tоnifу thе Qi. Aсuрunсturе point’s ѕhоuld bе chosen tо treat the раrtiсulаr pattern. Additional роintѕ helpful tо thе соnditiоn would bе Ren 4, Ren 6, SP 6, ST28, K3, K11, K12, UB22, UB23, UB26, UB31, UB32 UB39 аnd Du4.

Acupuncture for Interstitial Cystitis and Chinеѕе hеrbаl mеdiсinе can рlау аn imроrtаnt раrt in thе trеаtmеnt оf this medical condition. It саn rеduсе thе severity, frеԛuеnсу оf flare-ups аnd аllоw patients tо еnjоу life muсh mоrе fully. Plеаѕе viѕit our clinic fоr mоrе information on the trеаtmеnt оf IC аnd additional thingѕ you саn dо tо hеlр prevent flаrе-uрѕ.

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 and if acupuncture is not the best choice for your specific medical case, you will receive homeopathic treatment or herbal medicines, or reiki at the same place.

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