Dietary changes, PT common among IC patients

December 19, 2012

More than 84% of patients with interstitial cystitis (IC) have tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, including dietary changes and physical therapy, and 55% report that their physicians have recommended CAM, according to findings from a recently published survey.

More than 84% of patients with interstitial cystitis (IC) have tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, including dietary changes and physical therapy, and 55% report that their physicians have recommended CAM, according to findings from a recently published survey.

Eighty-eight percent of patients said it helped to eliminate foods or beverages that caused IC flares, according to the survey, which was conducted by the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) and published online in the International Urogynecology Journal (Nov. 14, 2012).

"This supports the inclusion of dietary modification in the American Urological Association treatment guidelines for IC," said Barbara Gordon of the ICA, a study co-author. "Though controlling 'trigger' foods does not work for everyone, dietary modification is now considered to be a standard first-line intervention for IC."

In what the association says is the largest survey of IC patients in a scientific study, data were collected from 2,101 individuals, including 1,982 with a confirmed IC diagnosis. Data were analyzed by the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute (PSHI), which jointly authored the journal article with the ICA under the guidance of Kristene Whitmore, MD, of PSHI and Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia.

The survey found:

  • 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. Seven were inconclusive.

  • In addition to dietary management and physical therapy, therapies patients perceived to be helpful included pain management adjuncts such as heat and cold, meditation and relaxation, acupuncture, stress reduction, exercise, and sleep hygiene.

  • Many therapies worked better for those patients diagnosed recently than for those diagnosed long before.