Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder inflammation characterized by deterioration and tightening of the urinary bladder.  The symptoms are painful, frequent and burning urination, blood in the urine, reduced urinary capacity and generalized lower abdominal pain over the bladder area.  In gross appearance, there is hyperemia (blood congestion) in the mucosa, often with exudate.  Eventually it leads to a thickening and inelasticity of the bladder wall, and a persistent fibrosis.  Mast cells are often predominant, which means there may be an autoimmune component.

This disease is difficult to treat, due to the complex set of symptoms and underlying physical pathology.  Like many diseases there are a number of websites devoted to exploring causes and treatments. These are a double-edged sword. While they offer much very good advice and encouragement, most are funded by pharmaceutical interests with a corresponding bias for drugs and against natural methods.

The treatment strategy we use has several components:

•  To quickly reduce tension and pain in the urinary bladder, try kava
(standardized to 250 mg.  kavalactones), at a dose of one pill four times per day.

• To remove common triggers of urinary inflammation, follow the directions in the section on treating hidden food allergies

• To help reduce immune-based inflammation and heal the bladder mucosa, use moderate to large doses of flaxseed , fish oils or evening primrose oils or other EFA supplements for up to a year or more.

• To reduce congestion and restore elasticity to the bladder, use a tincture of stoneroot, gotu kola, horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), and agrimony (A.pilosa), about 45 drops three times per day.

• Construct a major formula to remove the fibrosis and blood stagnation, relax the bladder, reduce bleeding, and reduce inflammation.  Choose among madder root (rubia coddifolia or qian cao gen), leonorus (yi mu cao or L.  heterophyllus), astragalus root, pyrrosia leaf (shi wei or P.  lingua), salvia root, cinnamon twig, red peony root, long pepper, gotu kola, reishi mushroom, gardenia fruit (zhi zi or G.  jasminoides), and tien chi root.

Several studies have shown benefits from the use of the amino acid L-arginine.

Progress with this disease is often slow, and requires patience. Stress reduction and abdominal breathing exercises are essential.