Collective patient insights influence clinical care and research directions
MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To glean fresh insights about how complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) offers new approaches to managing chronic pain conditions like interstitial cystitis (IC), the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) conducted the largest ever survey of IC patients in a scientific study. The article that details the research findings, "Interstitial Cystitis Patients' Use and Rating of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies," was published in the November issue of the International Urogynecology Journal.
There is a lack of published findings on the use of CAM for controlling IC symptoms, including pelvic pain with associated urinary frequency and urgency. The ICA surveyed IC patients on their use of CAM therapies. Data collected from 2,101 individuals, including 1,982 with a confirmed IC diagnosis, was analyzed by the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute (PSHI). The PSHI and ICA team, under the guidance of Kristene Whitmore, M.D., jointly authored the journal article.
A great number of respondents had tried CAM—84 percent. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of patients said it helped to eliminate foods or beverages that caused episodes of intense symptoms, known as IC flares. "This supports the inclusion of dietary modification in the American Urological Association treatment guidelines for IC," noted Barbara Gordon, ICA's executive director and one of the authors of the article. "Though controlling 'trigger' foods does not work for everyone, dietary modification is now considered to be a standard first-line intervention for IC."
Other CAM therapies identified by IC patients as helpful were pain management adjuncts such as physical therapy, heat and cold, meditation and relaxation, acupuncture, stress reduction, exercise, and sleep hygiene. CAM therapies were found to be most helpful early on in the course of IC—yet many patients don't try them until they've had IC for a long time, when those therapies may be less likely to help.
"More than 50 U.S. and Canadian medical schools and teaching hospitals now include CAM in their curricula, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges," shared Gordon. "This really brings home the timely and valuable insights of the ICA CAM study. We encourage dialogue about CAM among IC patients and health care providers, and additional research on CAM therapies for IC."
About the Interstitial Cystitis Association: The Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) advocates for interstitial cystitis (IC) research dedicated to discovery of a cure and better treatments, raises awareness, and serves as a central hub for the healthcare providers, researchers and millions of patients who suffer with constant urinary urgency and frequency and extreme bladder pain called IC. The ICA was established in 1984 to put a face on all those affected by IC and remains today as the only non-profit health association solely dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare and lives of people living with IC. To fulfill its mission, the ICA pursues three core functions: advocacy, research, and education. www.ichelp.org
SOURCE Interstitial Cystitis Association