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Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Jun;24(6):977-82. doi: 10.1007/s00192-012-1966-x. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Interstitial cystitis patients' use and rating of complementary and alternative medicine therapies.

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Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine, 207 N. Broad Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19107, USA.



The purpose of this study was to describe the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies among interstitial cystitis (IC) patients, patients' perception of CAM therapies' effectiveness, and the association of time since diagnosis with perceived effectiveness of these therapies.


In April 2009, the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) initiated an Internet-based survey on CAM. Respondents indicated whether they received an IC diagnosis and how long ago, whether they tried CAM, and who recommended it. On a 5-point scale, respondents rated 49 therapies. For respondents confirming a diagnosis, we used a chi-square goodness-of-fit test to assess which therapies were rated positively or negatively by a majority of patients who tried them. Using separate one-way analyses of variance, we assessed differences in mean perceived effectiveness among groups based on time since diagnosis and conducted post hoc tests, if necessary. Using chi-square tests, we explored the association of time since diagnosis with the use of CAM and the number of therapies tried.


A total of 2,101 subjects responded to the survey; 1,982 confirmed an IC diagnosis. Most (84.2 %) had tried CAM, and 55 % said physicians had recommended CAM. Of those trying CAM, 82.8 % had tried diet or physical therapy and 69.2 % other therapies. Of the therapies, 22 were rated positively and 20 negatively; 7 were inconclusive. Therapies patients perceived to be helpful included dietary management and pain management adjuncts such as physical therapy, heat and cold, meditation and relaxation, acupuncture, stress reduction, exercise, and sleep hygiene. Many therapies worked better for those diagnosed recently than for those diagnosed long before.


Randomized, placebo-controlled studies are needed to demonstrate which therapies may indeed control IC symptoms and help send research in new and productive directions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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