5 Interstitial Cystitis Foods To Avoid

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Were you recently diagnosed and you are looking for foods to avoid if you have interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome.

Whether you are recently diagnosed or have been coping for many years, you’re likely in a lot of pain. This chronic condition that involves your bladder leads to everything from intense bladder pressure to excruciating pain.

When your bladder fills, nerves make signals to your brain letting you know that it’s time to visit the bathroom. But with interstitial cystitis, the nerve signals cross, and a person may feel he or she needs to urinate more frequently.

Currently and unfortunately; there isn’t a cure for interstitial cystitis.

However, wherever you are on the spectrum, know there is hope for you, the diet for IC doesn’t have to be all bad but there are some foods that you really need to stay away from if you want to be healthy & happy.

Medications and therapies can help you – but watching what you eat and drink can as well.

It can be difficult to understand what not to eat when you have cystitis, but you can just read on to learn the 5 foods and drinks you should avoid when you have interstitial cystitis and begin to experience relief and comfort today.

Here’s what foods to avoid when you have interstitial cystitis in no particular order:

Interstitial Cystitis Foods To Avoid

Tip #1: Sugar Throw-Down

Sugar is one of the sneakiest culprits to inflaming your interstitial cystitis.

Not only do sugary foods and drinks have absolutely no nutritional value, which your immune system needs to stay healthy and strong; but sugary foods put pressure on your adrenal system, which can lead to inflammation.

Eating these foods and drinking sugary drinks threatens your immune system as well. So hold off on that diet soda and chocolate candy bar.

Limit your intake of naturally-sugary foods and drinks as well – fruit juices such as cranberry and citrus juices and starches like bread and potatoes.

These natural sugars are all still sugar, after all!

Tip #2: Abandon Soy

Soy milk, soy nuts, soy-based anything, is not your friend if you suffer from PBS.

The soy craze has turned health-driven people away from cow’s milk to non-dairy sources – but soy causes a set of problems of its own.

If you have IC and you have a large amount of soy part of your diet, then you are likely experiencing side effects such as flatulence, bloating, and other issues related to the gastrointestinal system.

That’s because soy contains something called phytoestrogens, which wreak havoc on your body’s current levels of estrogen.

So watch out for the soy, it really is one of the bladder cystitis foods to avoid.

Tip #3: Wine and Dine

I know, I know, this is a tough one if you enjoy the odd tipple now and then; but your symptoms can experience a killer flare-up with alcohol.

Try to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume each week and wean yourself off of it so that you’re not drinking it frequently. You’ll experience less pain and bloating as the sugars and grains used to make these drinks are out of your system.

However, the key with this one is to keep it in moderation.

We all like a drink from time to time, so why not instead reserve alcohol for special occasions?

You will actually feel much better in general, by cutting down on the juice and this is something that I would wholeheartedly recommend to most folks out there.

In fact, you may even find that you end up sleeping better.

Keep reading until the end to learn how you can take an eating/drinking challenge to try to determine which foods and drinks are the biggest culprits to making your condition flare up, (it’s worth it).

Tip #4: Gluten

If you have IC; it’s likely you also suffer from being gluten intolerant.

You may not even know you are gluten intolerant right now but only discover it after you are diagnosed with interstitial cystitis.

Never fear, though. There is life after gluten, I know this because my father has celiac disease and he still enjoys being alive!!! 

There are many gluten-free food products available today to help you make everything from breaded chicken nuggets to your favorite pasta.

It won’t taste as good as bread – but gluten-free options can be tasty additions to your diet and can help you re-invent your favorite meals so your body can actually handle them.

Or you can be super proactive and just cut out these starchy things altogether. I will come clean here and say that I personally don’t have the willpower to do so, but many people have done this by getting on board with the Paleo Diet, or even the Ketogenic Diet.

Tip #5: Avoid Coffee and Tea

It’s a brutal truth if you are a morning coffee or tea drinker, but it’s critical for people with interstitial cystitis to cut out all coffees and teas as they are moving forward with life with this chronic illness.

The caffeine in coffee and tea can actually cause your body’s most sensitive nerves in the bladder to begin to spasm and lead to discomfort and pain.

In addition, coffee and tea both are diuretics, which are known to increase the chances a person will experience dehydration and more frequent urination.

Instead of that morning cup of coffee, have a cold glass of spring water. It’s not the ideal replacement, but it is what your body needs to be free from pressure and pain.

However there is 1 ray of hope…you could begin to drink healthier teas, such as certain herbal varieties. These will actually have an added benefit of reducing inflammation and could potentially help to reduce some symptoms.

Take the Challenge

One way you can determine which of the foods and drinks on this list are causing you the most pain; is to take special eating and drinking challenges.

It will take a great deal of motivation and hard work, but with a little practice, you can form a habit.

Step 1: Test with your doctor

You should really get an allergy test and work with your doctor as the first thing you do before you embark on anything.

This is an easy way to be investigated in a broad manner and to really understand your body and the ways in which food products react to your condition.

Step 2: Cut out everything to begin with

Eliminate all of these foods and drinks from your diet for a month.

Then, slowly begin adding them back to your diet one food or drink at a time. Add one food or drink per week — but never more than one at the same time.

As you are consuming the food or drink, notice if your body is experiencing inflammation, bloating, pain, or any other side effect of interstitial cystitis.

Step 3: Keep a food diary

Keep a food diary if you are so inclined to track the very small ways your body is reacting to the foods and drinks you are taking into your body. If you don’t have a side effect one week, introduce a new food or drink.

By doing this, you are allowing your body to come face-to-face with the problem food or drink, and then you can almost know without a doubt which product is causing flare-ups in your body.


Do not continue on with this experiment if you find it is causing too much discomfort to your body – and rely on your doctor’s recommendations as you manage this chronic condition in the day-to-day.

Conclusion: Have Hope

After reading this guide, I hope you feel empowered to take control of your painful bladder by simply watching the kinds of foods and drinks you take into your body.

With a little practice, you can form habits that will help alleviate pain and prevent you from feeling the short-term effects of interstitial cystitis.

There are few things worse than indulging in a favorite food or drink, knowing that your body will pay for it later.

Form the correct, healthy habits right now to manage your IC, and your body will always be thanking you for how good it feels every day.

By keeping these 5 foods to avoid for interstitial cystitis in the back of your head, you should get on your way to experience a life with less pain and inflammation, and you’ll be able to feel good that your efforts made it possible!

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