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Interstitial Cystitis

By Virginia Shemeliuk

I was diagnosed in the summer of 1994 with Interstitial Cystitis, a painful bladder disease characterized by FREQUENT urination (I was voiding over 70 times a day), spasming of the bladder, ulcers in the bladder among other symptoms. I was diagnosed extremely quickly, thanks to a sympathetic and "with it" doctor however the medication was doing little to relieve the symptoms. Early this spring I faced having to pay for the expensive treatments ($1000 plus) and/or surgery. My doctor happened to take a course on acupuncture and asked for "volunteers" among his patients so that he could decide how well acupuncture worked in relation to North American medicine. The symptoms of IC are such that it would be fairly easy to feel any improvement.

After three weeks of acupuncture (one half hour session each week) there was a VERY noticeable improvement in my symptoms. After approximately five months of treatment, the pain of the disease is reduced by at least 90%, the old blood in my urine (caused by the Hunner's ulcers in the bladder) is 90% gone, I only void now every two or three hours (note that before I was voiding every FIFTEEN minutes), I can frequently sleep 6 or more hours a night without needing to wake and go to the bathroom, the spasming of my bladder is almost non-existence and I feel like I have been given my life back again. Yesterday, I rototilled the garden and helped fix fences, something I would NEVER have been able to consider only a few short months ago. I am so very impressed with acupuncture in the treatment of my disease that I am actively asking around to see whether it would be possible for me to learn this one technique so that I can have more freedom in my life. I guess I'm REALLY getting picky now - I'm free of pain as long as I have my half-hour per week acupuncture treatment and now I'm feeling so VERY well that I'd like to be able to DO things and not be tied to that half-hour treatment! Quite the ingrate I would say but oh, what a testimonial to the benefits acupuncture has given me!

Virginia Shemeliuk, age 45


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