Interstitial cystitis is also known as IC, and is usually seen in women. This condition involves recurrent discomfort or pain in the urinary bladder and surrounding pelvic region. Affected individuals exhibit symptoms like frequent urination or an urgent desire to pass urine, and these symptoms are aggravated by menstruation and vaginal intercourse. The diagnosis of this disease is made when all the known causes for the symptoms have been ruled out, such as infection and urinary stones. Some individuals affected with interstitial cystitis also have associated symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Individuals affected with IC have an irritable urinary bladder, the walls of which exhibit scarring, ulcers or minute bleeding patches. Though different treatment modalities exist in the modern system of medicines, none has been known to definitely cure all the symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis. Treatment includes bladder distension, instillation of drugs in the bladder, oral medications, electrical nerve stimulation, physical bladder training, and lastly, surgery.
Ayurvedic herbal treatment can be judiciously used to successfully treat interstitial cystitis. Medicines which have a specific affinity for the urinary tract are used in high doses in the management of this condition. The mainstay of treatment is with herbal medicines which have a strengthening and soothing effect on the urinary bladder and which are useful in healing ulceration and bleeding in the bladder wall as well as reversing or preventing scarring. Associated symptoms – if present – of irritable bowel syndrome, need to be treated with medicines which have a specific action on the bowels, and which also help to reduce anxiety and stress in affected individuals.
Herbal medicines which are useful in this condition also help the affected individual to pass urine at normal and regular frequencies, without any need for urgency or without a feeling of incomplete voiding. Herbal medicines are also effective in reducing irritability as well as increased sensitivity both in the affected individual as well as in the affected urinary bladder.
Herbal medicines which can be effectively utilised in interstitial cystitis include Gokshuradi Guggulu, Chandraprabha Vati, Manjishthadi Qadha, Saarivasav, Chandanadi Vati, and individual herbs like Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Usheer (Vetiveria zizanoidis), and Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi).
Medicines which act on the muscular wall of the urinary bladder, and medicines which act on damaged blood vessels and capillaries, as well as those known to reverse or reduce scarring are also effective in the treatment of interstitial cystitis. These include medicines like Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Triphala (Three fruits), Kutaj (Holharrhina antidysentrica), Patha (Cissampelos pariera), Haridra (Curcuma longa) and Daruharidra (Berberis aristata). Medicines which reduce irritability and stress may also be useful in some individuals affected with this condition. These include medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) and Ajwayan (Hyoscyamus niger).
Ayurvedic treatment is usually required for periods ranging from two to six months, depending upon the severity of the disease in affected individuals. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can thus treat all the symptoms affected with interstitial cystitis, and bring about a complete remission in most affected individuals.