Interstitial cystitis is a bladder condition that usually consists of multiple symptoms:
- pelvic pain
- pressure or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region
- urinary frequency (needing to go often)
- urgency (feeling a strong need to go).
IC symptoms can be similar to those of a bladder infection, but the difference is that IC patients will have sterile urine.
Reports from patients and some studies suggest that certain conditions occur more commonly in people with IC than in the general population. Some of these include: allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
In 2011, the American Urological Association published guidelines that specifically recommended diet modification as one of the first-line self-care therapies for newly diagnosed IC patients. The foods most likely to produce problems for the majority of IC patients include:
- most tea
- diet fizzy drinks
- citrus fruits and juices
- cranberry juice
- tomato products
- artificial sweeteners
- spicy foods.
If you also suffer from IBS, bloating caused by excess gas produced in the bowel may be putting extra pressure on the bladder, provoking IC symptoms. The Low FODMAP Diet very effectively reduces excess gas production, which may help to relieve IC symptoms.
The low FODMAP diet is used in the short-term to identify problem foods, followed by a re-introduction phase of higher FODMAP foods in order to normalise the diet as much as possible. For this reason working with a dietitian is very important.