Electroacupuncture is effective for interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome

Background: Patients with interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) commonly face a decline in their quality of life and social functioning upon discontinuation of conventional therapy, which is known for its limited efficacy and the risk of relapse. While the existing evidence is somewhat restricted, acupuncture is being explored as a potential and effective treatment option for interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome.

Case presentation: A 67-year-old woman, diagnosed with refractory interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome, underwent treatment at the Medical Acupuncture Department of Sanming Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital. She reported symptoms of lower urinary system dysfunction, including urgency, frequency, and nocturia, along with chronic pelvic pain, and a persistent feeling of pressure and discomfort lasting over 8 years.

The patient’s visual analog scale (VAS) score for pelvic pain was 7 points prior to receiving acupuncture treatment. Throughout the day, she had more than 10 urinations, and at night, she urinated about once per hour. The O’Leary-Sant interstitial cystitis symptom index/interstitial cystitis problem index (ICSI/ICPI) score was 34 points, and the pelvic pain and urgency frequency (PUF) score was 19 points.

Results: The patient’s complaints were significantly alleviated after 12 sessions of electroacupuncture treatment at Ciliao (UB 32), Zhongliao (UB 33), Huiyang (UB 35), and Sanyinjiao (SP 6) over 4 weeks. The patient claimed total relief from pelvic pain, with a VAS score of 0. The patient achieved a PUF score of 4 points and an ICSI/ICPI score of 7 points. In addition, there was a significant reduction in the frequency and urgency of urination. The patient experienced a frequency of 4-5 urinations during the day and 1-2 times at night. Subsequently, the patient’s mental state and sleep quality were improved. The patient’s symptoms did not change at one-year follow-up.

Conclusion: Electroacupuncture has proven to be an effective management method for interstitial cystitis and bladder pain syndrome, as evidenced by the patient’s alleviated lower urinary system symptoms and reduced pelvic pain.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38072764/

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Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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