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Mindfulness May Be A Powerful Adjunctive Therapy for IC/BPS

Kanter G, Komesu YM, Qaedan F, Jeppson PC, Dunivan GC, Cichowski SB, Rogers RG. Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a novel treatment for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Apr 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Stress can exacerbate interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), so there is considerable interest in studying any techniques or programs that might help patients effectively reduce their stress levels. This newly reported study provides intriguing initial evidence that a meditation technique known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could be one such technique. To test it, investigators studied 20 women with IC/BPS who were undergoing first- or second-line therapies. About half of the women (9) were randomly assigned to an 8-week MBSR class in addition to their usual care, while the remainder (11) just received usual care. They found that the symptoms of the women who went to the MBSR class were significantly improved versus women who did not go to the class. In addition, 86% of the participants said MBSR made them feel more empowered to control their symptoms, and 100% planned to continue with mindfulness techniques. While more research would help clarify the potential role of MBSR for patients with IC/BPS, this small study does provide some early results suggesting it is a promising intervention to try alongside standard therapy, especially since it appears to empower patients to better cope with their symptoms.