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Chinese Medicine - Opinions of Interstitial Cystitis
By: Ching-Yao Shi, Dipl. OM; Lic./Reg. Acupuncturist

IC symptoms include extreme pain in their pelvic area, frequency, low energy, and weakness in their lower back area and discomfort in the inner thigh area. This is a typical kidney deficiency.


1. IC patients are not all the same and fall into two different categories. 70 - 80% of them are cold IC patients. Their hands and feet are icy cold. They look pale. They don't want to drink a lot of water. They may feel relief after urination. Emotionally, they express more feelings of depression than anxiety. This is a group of kidney Yang energy deficient syndrome patients. The sign is their cold hands and feet.


2. About 20% of the patients are hot IC patients. Instead of icy cold hands, their hands and feet are kind of warm. They are thirsty and drink a lot of water. They may not feel empty or relief after urination. Emotionally they express more feelings of anxiety than depression. This is a group of kidney Yin energy deficient syndrome patients. The sigh is their hands are warm. This group of IC patients seems to have a more sensitive bladder. They are allergic to many things and even the basic nutrients make them flare up.


In Oriental medicine, the kidney is a place of storage of the congenital energy known as Qi. Its function is to excrete waste through the urine. The kidney is the original source of energy in the body for growth and function. It is not difficult to understand why IC patients are exhausted. The basic theory is that the kidney and bladder work as a pair in function. The kidney is the controller and the bladder is the executive organ. In Chinese medicine, chronic bladder disorders are due to kidney dysfunction.


The Chinese medicine explanation of IC symptoms is the following: Pain and burning are experienced because of the meridian blockage of both the bladder and kidney and thus the Qi can not flow through the meridian. The frequency is caused by the lack of power in the kidney which causes the bladder to be out of control. The discomfort in the inner thigh area is because this is the pass way of that meridian. The weakness in the lower back is on the location of the blocked meridian. The dizziness and ear ringing is because the ears are the opening of the kidney meridian.