Acupuncture can be useful in the treatment of interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is also called “painful bladder syndrome” and can cause incredibly urgent and painful urination. It is hard to diagnose, and hard to treat.
I am writing this post becauseI have seen success firsthand using acupuncture protocols in my office for this condition and my clients are ecstatic! (and no, I’m not tooting my own horn, acupuncture deserves all the accolades!)
Differentiation is important to an acupuncturist for all conditions, as not all people who develop IC get the condition from the same root causes. Sometimes, IC can be accompanied by additional symptoms including generalized pain and fatigue, digestive issues, and depression. This is why the first appointment in my office is longer–so I can get a clear idea of your symptoms and all of your symptoms in order to make the best diagnosis and choose a protocol. And here’s where the beauty of Chinese Medicine comes in! We treat holistically, so while you are being treated for IC, emotional symptoms can be addressed as well. Acupuncturists also recommend dietary changes that can decrease overall inflammation, allowing your body to move toward a more balanced state.
Typically, those with IC fall into two categories: those that have deficiency, and those that have stasis. The deficiency types typically have other digestive issues and suffer from fatigue. The stasis types may have frequent headaches and muscle aches. Different acupuncture points are chosen for each diagnosis, with some overlap.
The protocol used involves e-stim, which is a modality using a small electric pulse on needles placed on the lower leg and foot. Not to worry–it is only enough of a pulse that you will feel it slightly, and should still allow for you to relax fully during the treatment, which takes just under an hour.
My clients rave about the treatments–not only does it significantly lessen (or completely remove) their IC symptoms–but they can address their other issues as well, such as insomnia, stress, digestive issues, or even TMJ. All of this is done simultaneously in a calm, comfy, darkened room once the needles have been placed.
I generally recommend treatment once per week for 6-12 weeks or until the symptoms of the IC have disappeared, then once a month for continuing treatment. Once client now only comes to see me when she has a “flare up”.
I’ll be writing more soon about other conditions you might not know acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can treat!