Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a chronic painful condition, characterized by urinary pain, urgency, and frequency. There is much contradicting information about what foods to consume or avoid with the “interstitial cystitis diet”. Some individuals claim that a gluten free diet reversed their symptoms, while others state that elimination of spicy foods and soda is the cure. The truth is, there isn't a single diet that will work for every person who has interstitial cystitis. While gluten may cause symptoms in one person, dairy or spicy foods may cause the same symptoms in another.
The cause of interstitial cystitis remains unknown, however there is a consensus that an immune reaction is occurring, along with altered permeability of the bladder wall. The foods that result in an immune reaction and increased bladder permeability vary from person to person. Testing is available if you would like to know more about which foods affect you most.
However, here are the top 5 diet tips for interstitial cystitis:
- Drink lots of fluid. Yes, with IC it seems the last thing you want to do is drink lots of liquids, but in the long term, staying hydrated and continually flushing the bladder can relieve symptoms. Consume 1 cup per hour throughout the day. A recent study showed that green tea is beneficial for cystitis, along with many antioxidant effects, consider adding this to your daily routine as well.
- Avoid Irritating foods. Certain foods and beverages are known to irritate IC, including coffee, black tea, alcohol, soda and citrus juices.
- Stay away from chemical additives. This includes food colorings and preservatives.
- Go Gluten free. Not every patient feels relief with a gluten free diet, however this inflammatory protein contributes to many IC symptoms.
- Increase those Alkaline foods. Certain foods are more acidic than others, which alters your blood pH and then your urine pH. A diet rich in vegetables, beans and nuts will result in a more alkaline body-pH, thereby reducing symptoms.
May also be related to hormone imbalances, gastrointestinal dysbiosis (undesirable microbe growth), autoimmune conditions, infections, or environmental chemicals. Find out more here.