I was diagnosed with IC a couple of years ago and it's extremely painful and very difficult to deal with. Here's what I'm doing. I am healing, but it is very slow. Essentially, IC (and I believe most autoimmune disorders) is caused by a toxic body. For immediate and daily pain relief I take a drug called Ultram (tramadol). It is the only thing that eliminates the constant urge to go to the bathroom. Everyone is different. My bad time is from 7:00pm until morning. When I was first diagnosed I was having to take 3 pain pills a day. I am now down to 1. On the medical side - she should refuse ALL tests that they want to do to her. Bladder washing, cystoscopies, etc. will all cause further damage to the bladder. I would highly recommend the book, To Wake In Tears. It is the only IC book I found that talks about what a gal went through both medically and naturally before she healed her bladder.
So on the medical front, I use the pain meds to treat my immediate need for pain relief.
On the natural front here's what I do:
NO, NO, NO white flour or sugar. Both aggravate the bladder. No vitamin C, no B vitamins, no cranberry. Everything that most people would say are good for a bladder, it's the total opposite with IC. I use marshmellow root tea daily, twice a day some times. Also, slippery elm bark mixed with the marshmellow tea. Taking capsules of these things won't work. The teas are soothing and healing, without doing too much at once. Cleansing SLOWLY and GENTLY is the key to healing IC. Doing otherwise will cause more damage. I have been doing liver cleanses slowly using Unda Numbers and Guna Numbers from my naturapath. I believe they can be found online. I also use a chinese herbal formula daily that covers a lot of areas. It has mucilage herbs, yeast fixing herbs, and things like that. I have found t-tapp and body brushing a very good method of lymph drainage. Usually I am in a lot of pain the first day after starting t-tapp if I've missed several days but then I get much better the days following that.
I believe my IC was brought on my massive amounts of nutrasweet. So, no artifical sweetners. None. I can use Agave Nectar with no trouble.
Losing weight has also helped. I still need/want to lose about 20 more pounds, but every little bit will help lessen the stress on the bladder.
Since I've been at this for several years I did things in this order:
diet changes first for 6 months with the marshmellow and slippery elm teas
added chinese herbs and liver cleansing homeopathics after six months.
drinking LOTS of water helps because it helps to cleanse the body.
Avoid anything that will cause fast detoxing. Slow detox is the key to not causing anymore damage.
I believe IC can be healed naturally but it does take a lot of time and pain relief during that time is a must or one would go nuts! I use Ultram because while it's a narcotic, if I go without it there is no physical addiction. I rejoice if I can skip a day because of no pain!
Oh, and just an FYI, stress and the menstrual cycle will make the pain worse during those times.
Hope this helps some. There is very little out there about healing IC naturally. She can check out http://www.algonot.com/ecom/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=32
for some herbal stuff I took for awhile. Also, the book I mentioned is a must read. She healed herself naturally and gives specifics about how. I will caution, she goes into some new agey stuff. I just took the meat and spit out the bones.
And for those who don't know what IC is - think of an egg. Just inside the shell is a thin layer of "skin/coating." The bladder is the same way. With IC that thin protective layer begins sloughing off and not replacing itself. What a person is left with is urine (which is hot and toxic) literally burning the bladder wall. So the goal is to rebuild that lining by using mucilage type herbs.