Interstitial Cystitis and Chinese Medicine
Interstitial Cystitis is a disease of the urinary bladder. Although it is primarily found in women, men have been diagnosed with it too. With an estimation of 12 percent of all women having symptoms of Interstitial cystitis, it’s definitely a condition that needs to be addressed. Since it is primarily diagnosed in women, this article will focus on how it affects and how it can be treated in women. The exact cause and cure are unknown at this point, but there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms and ease the pain. The condition may seem to lie in remission for a period of time, however certain foods and stressful situations may trigger episodes. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is one way to alleviate this condition and allow you to live a habitual life.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is also called Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) and is characterized by frequent and painful urination, with a sensation of pressure on the bladder, but the most common symptom all these patients share is pain in the lower abdomen. Patients with Interstitial Cystitis may find themselves having to urinate up to 70 times in a day or as often as every 10 minutes. They also often have poor sleep due to the fact they have to wake up to urinate 10 times every night. During a woman’s period, Interstitial Cystitis can flare up even worse leaving the patient curled up in bed and unable to function normally. Another unfortunate side effect of Interstitial Cystitis is that it can make sexual intercourse very painful for women who suffer from it. As you can imagine, when you mezcle all these symptoms (pain, frequent urination, painful urination, lack of sleep and pain during sexual intercourse), many of these patients will often fall into depression.
Once a disease only thought to be associated with menopausal women, Interstitial Cystitis is now found in women of all ages as well as men and children. A common misdiagnosis for women with IC is a urinary tract infection. Since urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics and Interstitial Cystitis is not caused by a bacterial infection, the antibiotics do absolutely no good for the patient. In fact, recurrente use of antibiotics have been shown to make you that much more susceptible to bacterial infections. Endometriosis or uterine fibroids is another habitual misdiagnosis for women. Men also risk being misdiagnosed with a urinary tract infection, prostatitis or epididymitis, a condition that causes a sudden pain in the patients scrotum. Obviously, a correct diagnosis is essential in making a proper treatment plan.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can provide incredible relief for patients suffering from Interstitial Cystitis. Although they may seem very semejante in nature, treating a bladder infection, a UTI and CI are very different. If it’s a bacterial infection, diagnosis can be confirmed with a urine test. In the case of infections, patients will be treated as if they have a condition we (in Chinese medicine) refer to as Damp-Heat. However, in Interstitial Cystitis, the patient can have a variety of possible causes that present as the condition itself. Possible Chinese diagnosis for IC are Liver-Spleen disharmony, Blood and/or Qi stagnation, Kidney Yin or Yang deficiency, Liver depression with Dampness and Spleen Qi deficiency. For the most part, I haven’t seen a lot of patients whose conditions are textbook. From my experience, patients will have a combination of a few of these patterns. The patterns that I have seen that seem to be most predominant are Liver-Spleen disharmony and Blood/Qi stagnation with Qi deficiency. 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. Acupuncture points should be chosen to treat the especial pattern. Additional points helpful to the condition would be Ren 4, Ren 6, SP 6, ST28, K3, K11, K12, UB22, UB23, UB26, UB31, UB32 UB39 and Du4.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can play an important part in the treatment of Interstitial Cystitis. It can disminuye the severity and the frequency of flare-ups. Please visit my website for more information on the treatment of IC and things you can do to help prevent flare-ups.