the month goes away, a reader reminds me that September is
"Interstitial Cystitis Awareness" Month.
the point, says said reader. Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a
condition with which "millions suffer and few
understand." And changes in the diet can sometimes
relieve symptoms of this puzzling disorder.
try to understand. According to the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, IC is "a
condition that causes discomfort or pain in the bladder and a
need to urinate frequently and urgently." And at the risk
of TTI (too much information), interstitial cystitis is also
known as bladder pain syndrome or BPS.
condition is more common in women than in men. And it can be
tricky to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to a bladder
infection Ö although IC is not an infection. And it can be
tricky to treat as well.
what does this have to do with nutrition? Experts have
observed that certain foods may trigger unfortunate symptoms
in some people with IC. And while there is no specific
"diet" to treat IC, some sufferers report certain
foods to be more "abrasive" to the bladder than
most commonly reported to be bothersome for people with IC
include alcohol, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and
saccharine, coffee (even decaf in some people), citrus and
cranberry juices, hot peppers, carbonated soda, and spicy
foods. Others add chocolate, tea and tomatoes to the list of
everyone has problems with these foods, however.
know? Itís called the "elimination diet."
Eliminate from your diet ó for at least a month ó any food
you suspect to be a potential problem, some experts suggest.
Then one by one, add these foods ó no more than one food
each week ó back into your diet. And track which, if any,
food worsens symptoms.
is not to eliminate foods willy-nilly or make yourself
miserable because you canít eat anything. Most patients with
IC have a small list of "do notís" and a bigger
list of "usually OK" foods based on their symptoms.
The best diet to relieve the painful symptoms of interstitial
cystitis is one that includes a balanced variety of foods and
essential nutrients, say nutrition experts.
do not know exactly why some foods bother most IC patients and
other foods do not," says registered dietitian Julie
Beyer, MA, RD of the Interstitial Cystitis Association.
"The diet-IC connection becomes even more mystifying when
we observe that certain foods that bother one patient do not
news, she says, is that researchers are taking a closer look
at the treatments we have for IC ó including diet. And we
will have better answers in the near future. Good to be aware.