Review Article

The Chinese approach to complementary and alternative medicine treatment for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome

Ran Pang, Abdullah Ali


Management of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) remains a challenge due to poor understanding on its etiology. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as an optional treatment, has been widely used, because no definitive conventional therapy is available. The different domain of CAM provides miscellaneous treatments for IC/BPS, which mainly include dietary modification, nutraceuticals, bladder training, biofeedback, yoga, massage, physical therapy, Qigong, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Clinical evidence has shown that each therapy can certainly benefit a portion of IC/BPS patients. However, the target patient group of each therapy has not been well studied and randomized, controlled trials are needed to further confirm the efficacy and reliability of CAM on managing IC/BPS. Despite these limitations, CAM therapeutic characteristics including non-invasive and effectiveness for specific patients allow clinicians and patients to realize multimodal and individualized therapy for IC/BPS.

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