Interstitial Cystitis patients have been told for years to avoid certain foods and drinks that can cause flare-ups of the bladder disease, making us urinate more, have more pain, and more pressure. We all know that this list of foods include:
- Citrus juices/cranberry juice
- Any foods/drinks with artificial sweeteners
- Spicy foods
- Hot peppers, onions, etc.
Many patients have reported over the years through surveys that they have been able to control their IC symptoms by watching their diet and avoiding trigger foods.
In 2009, the ICA Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Survey reaffirmed these findings. Eighty percent of the 2,000 respondents said that by making changes to their food and beverage selections, people with IC—especially newly diagnosed patients—can help control their symptoms.
But like other chronic illnesses, no two patients’ symptoms alike and there are other foods that may trigger flares in some IC patients. According to the ICA:
How much, how often, and the specific combinations of foods and beverages that affect symptoms are different for each person with IC.
For some patients, fresh foods may cause flare-ups but when they cook that same food, they are able to tolerate it well. If you are an IC patient who is also lactose intolerant or has milk allergies, you may find that your IC symptoms will worsen if you eat/drink dairy products. Gluten has also been another cause for flare-ups in IC patients.
In my own situation with IC, I will find that sometimes I can tolerate a certain food or drink for long periods of time but then all of a sudden I can’t. Then I have to stop eating or drinking that item for a while. I normally can go back to eating/drinking it again once my flare-up is gone, but I just never know for sure what is going to set the IC off. It is a very complicated illness and watching our diet is very crucial.