Webster DC, Brennan T  Urol Nurs  1995 Sep;15(3):86-93

OBJECTIVE: To determine the kinds of self-care used by women with interstitial cystitis and to find effective ways to manage symptoms of acute attack.

STUDY DESIGN: One hundred thirty-eight women with interstitial cystitis completed a survey indicating how often they used and how effective they found strategies in four physical self-care subdomains (medication, treatment, diet, and body comfort) and three psychologic self-care subdomains (cognitive/stress reduction, distraction, and help-seeking).

RESULTS: Descriptions of symptoms during an “acute attack” are more consistent with symptoms described “at onset” than symptoms experienced “currently.” Physical strategies most used for acute attack included use of narcotics, antidepressants, and bladder analgesics, in addition to limiting the diet to bland or starchy foods, wearing loose clothing, taking hot baths, and using a heating pad over the pubis. Psychologic strategies most used included watching television, prayer, and seeking support from a significant other, family members, friends, and other patients with interstitial cystitis.

CONCLUSIONS: Some psychologic and physical strategies found to be effective for other chronic pain conditions, such as biofeedback, alternating use of heat/cold, self-hypnosis, and redefining pain sensations were seldom used. Other nonmedical interventions such as massage and imagery, when used, were found to be more moderately to highly effective. Information about self-care and access to support groups may increase exposure to multiple ways of handling acute attacks.

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