What is the role of alternative, holistic, or complementary therapies in the treatment interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)?

Updated: Dec 04, 2020
  • Author: Eric S Rovner, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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In a chronic, often poorly controlled condition such as interstitial cystitis, patients may seek alternative, holistic, or complementary therapies. These patients should be cautioned that such therapies, while potentially successful, often have not been validated scientifically. Desperate patients should be counseled to avoid potentially harmful, unproven therapies. However, one such complementary therapy, pelvic floor massage, has been shown to have some modest efficacy in a select group of patients in a well-done controlled trial. [59]

Following each intervention, the patient is reassessed for response. Unfortunately, therapies are often applied in a haphazard, "hit-or-miss" fashion, combining numerous different therapies before the patient's response to each therapy is truly assessed. This approach is sometimes partly driven by unrealistic patient demands and expectations regarding the success of various therapeutic interventions.

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