Interstitial Cystitis - Golden State Urology

Interstitial cystitis (also known as painful bladder, leaky bladder, or irritated bladder syndrome) is a chronic syndrome with a number of symptoms including pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, often associated with urinary frequency and urgency.

Interstitial cystitis is more prevalent in women with new research suggesting that 3 to 8 million women in the US may have it. Furthermore, IC can occur at any age but most frequently affects women in their 30s or 40s. IC symptoms wax and wane, but flare-ups often result in patients having to take time off from work or miss other important engagements. Interestingly, IC flare-ups can be prevented by avoiding certain foods and beverages.

The Interstitial Cystitis Association suggests that the following foods should be avoided:

• Aged cheese
• Alcohol
• Artificial sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose
• Carbonated drinks
• Spicy foods
• Chocolate
• Citrus
• Coffee
• Cranberry juice
• Processed, smoked or cured meats (deli meats)
• Some fruits – banana, strawberry, pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, plums
• Onions
• Soy
• Tea
• Tomatoes
• Yogurt

Every individual is different so it is best to first try an elimination diet and then slowly ‘test’ foods by adding them back to the diet one by one to see what is a trigger for each individual.

The IC diet is not only about food elimination, but also introduction of certain foods. Adding the following natural remedies has proven to be an effective way of preventing IC flare ups:

Corn Silk
A common bladder and kidney herb that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. I often recommend corn silk tea to my IC patients and they do very well with it.

A bioflavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm the bladder wall during a flare up.

Aloe Vera
A very soothing herb that can also help with the healing and inflammation in the bladder.

Recognized for anti-inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis but also very helpful for those with IC.

Fish Oil
Omega 3s help to support anti-inflammatory pathways in the body and thus reduce inflammation in the bladder.