Acupuncture and Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder symptom is a chronic condition characterized by pelvic pain, urinary frequency, urgency and sexual dysfunction.

Both men and women can get IC, although it occurs mostly in women.  People with IC can have symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection, but without an infection.  Often, there is painful, frequent, urgent, inhibited, or incomplete urination.    Sometimes there may be blood in the urine.  There may be a dull feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen and bladder.   The pain in the bladder can be intense or dull, and sometimes it is located in the pelvis, or on the pelvic floor.

No simple treatment exists to eliminate the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis, and no one treatment works for everyone. One may need to try various treatments or combinations of treatments before it can find an approach that relieves the symptoms.

One complementary and alternative therapy that has shown some promise in treating interstitial cystitis is acupuncture.

During an acupuncture session, a practitioner places numerous thin needles in the skin at specific points on the body.

Traditional Chinese medicine works by identifying specific imbalances in the body and using acupuncture to correct them. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. The traditional acupuncturist’s skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific to each patient’s needs.

Physiologically, acupuncture helps to reduce the symptoms of interstitial cystitis by decreasing inflammation, releasing pain relieving chemicals in the nervous system, and decreasing muscle spasm.  Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body and rebalancing the flow of life energy.

The results of acupuncture are cumulative over a series of treatments.  Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can work to heal itself and can result in long lasting benefit.

Western medical practitioners tend to believe that acupuncture boosts the activity of your body’s natural painkillers. From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional well being.

This treatment has not been well-studied for interstitial cystitis, so be sure to discuss the use of this therapy with your doctor.

7 Responses to “Acupuncture and Interstitial Cystitis”

  1. If we go by your date of acupuncture being introduced to the US at 1971 this was actually part of the pharmacology boom and drugs were being used more and more.

  2. Dwight Must says:

    “Acupuncture has been a all out success and continues to benefit people all over the world.”

  3. Hi! Thanks for this great share! I hope you will post more in the future… :)

  4. Djembe Drum says:

    Thanks a lot! Will be returning to your blog!

  5. Ewa Dyll says:

    I’ve read about this on other sites recently too

  6. Steve Iser says:

    Great post and great content as always, thanks for this post. I’m going to share this post.