Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the urinary bladder that causes frequent, urgent, and painful urination often with pelvic discomfort. IC can often manifest with associated conditions including allergiesfibromyalgiairritable bowel syndrome, painful genitals (vulvodynia), and endometriosis. The precise cause and mechanism of IC are still unknown and conventional treatments often give little or no relief.  However, IC is treatable and many patients can find relief with individualized treatments and lifestyle changes. At Tao of Wellness we use traditional Chinese medical therapies like acupunctureherbal medicinenutritional therapy, and mind body exercise as safe and effective ways to help ease the symptoms of IC and help achieve long term relief.


How We Successfully Treat Interstitial Cystitis

According to the National Institutes of Health, IC affects about 700,000 people in the United States, 90% of whom are women. Autoimmune disorders are often associated with IC. Overactive immune cells are commonly found in these patients, which lead to increased production of inflammatory agents, causing pain.

IC is a difficult diagnosis to receive as there aren’t any good solutions in conventional medicine. We often observe that IC is often brought on by triggers such as stress, diet, medication and other unknown factors. Our practitioners will help identify your triggers and help you avoid them when possible. We will also treat you with acupuncture –helping reduce the inflammation in your bladder and urethra. Our successful treatment protocol also employs a combination of Chinese herbs and nutritional supplements to help modify your body’s reaction to its triggers and help your urinary system to function properly without causing urgency or pain.

Regardless of how long you’ve suffered or what medications and supplements you’re already taking, making an appointment at Tao of Wellness is in your best interest to find lasting relief for your IC. We’re an integrative health center that works alongside the other specialists on your medical team. You’ll start by setting up an initial consultation and one of our doctors will review your current condition in addition to your medical history. We want to know all the symptoms you’re experiencing right now as well as major health and life events of your past. Chinese medicine considers how your chief complaint is associated with the rest of your health before we assign a Chinese medical diagnosis and treatment plan. After your consultation you’ll be offered an individualized treatment plan that will include acupunctureChinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy. Your doctor will then answer any questions you have before beginning your therapy.


Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming IC

IC is a problem of tissue inflammation and hyper-stimulation of nerves. Acupuncture has been found to be effective in moderating these processes. The meticulous placement of needles on specific acupoints across the body elicits a controlled response from the immune, nervous, and hormonal systems. In turn, the hyperactivity of nerves and urinary tissues is quelled by way of endorphin release from the brain during acupuncture. Chronic urinary issues like IC can be “unlearned” by the body with regular acupuncture sessions to “retrain” the body and reach a place of balance where pain and IC symptoms can finally subside. Learn more about acupuncture.


Chinese Herbal Medicine
Every person who suffers from IC experiences it uniquely. Our expert practitioner’s Chinese herbal prescription for each case of IC is just as wide-ranging. There are herbs that help control urine release like Oriental water plantain and poria, and anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce pain and swelling in the bladder like peony, and antibacterial herbs such as philodendron to clear the bladder of any bacterial imbalance that may be compounding the problem. Our licensed practitioner will prescribe from over 400 individual herbs the precise combination for your particular IC problem. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.


Nutritional Therapy

Nutritional Consultations
Every patient receives general nutritional guidance but a Nutritional Consultation goes much further to create a custom menu of specific foods to help heal your IC problem, complete with meals and snacks that taste good and are easy to prepare. Just as important we advise avoiding inflammation-triggering, acidic, and stimulating foods like sugar, caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. Certain IC patients know they feel much better without the nightshade family of vegetables that include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and paprika. Food high in uric acid or oxalic acids like red meat, parsley, and spinach can also trigger certain IC symptoms.

Nutritional Supplements
People often turn to cranberry juice or supplements when they think about urinary disorders. Cranberry certainly has its place in treating IC in the form of the active extract, D-Mannose. However L-Carnitine is showing some beneficial properties in studies to relax the bladder in IC cases as well. Of course, anytime you want to incorporate supplements it’s always advisable to work with a professional in deciding the right supplement and appropriate dosage before simply following what’s on a label. If you require supplementation, our doctors certified in nutrition will prescribe the right combination for you. Learn more about nutritional therapy.


IC Patient Success Stories

Symptom-Free after 10 Years
Sara had been suffering from interstitial cystitis (IC) for over 10 years when she came to Tao of Wellness. She experienced recurrent episodes of pelvic discomfort, frequent and urgent urination as well as fatigue, allergies, eczema, anxiety, and pain in her neck and shoulders. She had been taking a prescribed medication for her IC symptoms but discontinued it after suffering its side effects. She began her weekly acupuncture and daily herbal therapy at Tao of Wellness and immediately began feeling better. As her stress level, sleep pattern, and diet fluctuated, her IC symptoms also fluctuated during the course of her treatments. With careful monitoring, fine adjustment of treatments, and lifestyle modification, Sara has been able to gain comfort and control. Thanks to this, Sara is now symptom-free from her IC.

A year ago my primary care physician referred me to Tao of Wellness as a last resort to deal with a ‘rare and incurable condition;’ not words one likes to hear. It had decimated my life. I couldn’t work. I suffered from chronic pain, lack of energy and sleep deprivation from frequent urination every 30 minutes. What I have is interstitial cystitis. According to Western medicine there was little I could do. The few treatments available did nothing to alleviate my suffering. I was admittedly skeptical about acupuncture when I first came to Tao of Wellness. Western medicine offered no relief, but Tao of Wellness did. It was explained what acupuncture is, how it works, and after a fairly comprehensive history of my condition, I was provided a treatment plan and a timeline as to when I could expect improvement. Six weeks later, as forecast, my symptoms began to lessen. A year removed from that first treatment, I am symptom-free for the most part. The chronic pain is gone. I run regularly and hike, and I can work again. I’m incredibly productive and optimistic, as both my head and body are in a far better place. You gave me my life back and I’m eternally grateful.
— Daniel W.


Natural Healthcare for Interstitial Cystitis

Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address interstitial cystitis. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.