When one cup of coffee, tea or cranberry juice can trigger days of pain and/or bladder discomfort, interstitial cystitis, overactive bladder and other urology patients often develop an unhealthy fear of food. A new iPhone and iPad application, (ICN Food List) seeks to change that by giving patients an easy to use food list and database that they can use while shopping and eating out at restaurants.
“It comes as no surprise to most interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) patients that some foods can exacerbate their symptoms. Several studies have revealed that 90% of patients report sensitivity to a variety of foods, particularly coffees, teas, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, hot spicy foods and alcohols” offered Jill Osborne MA, President of the Interstitial Cystitis Network. She continued “Typically, foods high in caffeine and acid, such as coffees, green teas, regular teas and soda, are the worst offenders but there are many other foods that can trigger bladder discomfort.”
The application contains an easy to use food database developed from published research studies and food lists created by support groups. The more than 250 foods in the list are divided into three general categories: bladder friendly foods, foods worth trying cautiously and foods to avoid.
Foods that patients generally find soothing during IC “flares” are highlighted. It is also the first list to cover wine, beer and spirits, listing the results of a study conducted by the IC Network in 2009. Lower acid wines and pale ale beers were more bladder friendly. Surprisingly, some patients even tolerated mixed drinks provided that they were used with IC friendly mixers.
“This app is also a powerful educational tool that can be used by clinicians, nursing staff and registered dietitians,” Ms. Osborne continued, “It’s designed to help anyone struggling with urinary tract food sensitivity including IC/BPS, overactive bladder, hypersensitive bladder syndrome, prostatitis, chemotherapy induced cystitis, radiation cystitis, ketamine cystitis, trigonitis and urethritis.”
Believe it or not, many foods, drinks and medications can be irritable to the lining of the bladder. The irritation can lead to causing urinary frequency, urgency, and even bladder spasms, which can result in uncontrollable loss of urine. Every bladder irritant doesn’t affect every person. Different people may find some products irritating while others are not.
The following lists of foods are well-known bladder irritants. By eliminating or significantly decreasing your intake of them from your diet you will most likely notice an improvement in your bladder symptoms.
Caffeine (colas, coffee, teas and diet pills)
Spicy or heavily seasoned foods
Acidic foods (oranges, lemons, peaches, pineapple, plums, apples, cantaloupe and cranberry*)
*Many people think that cranberry juice is healthy of the bladder. On the contrary, cranberry is helpful to the bladder that is infected. Most people who have irritable bladders will make the irritation worse by drinking cranberry juice.
Tomatoes, chilies, peppers, onions
Yogurt, aged cheese, sour cream
Vinegar, walnuts, peanuts
Most artificial sweeteners
The app is currently available in the App Store for iPhones and iPads at just 99 cents. Additional information can be found at: http://www.ic-network.com/apps/
Founded in 1995, the Interstitial Cystitis Network (http://www.ic-network.com) is a woman owned, “social advocacy” health education company dedicated to interstitial cystitis and other pelvic pain disorders. Using the internet, we create innovative solutions to the pressing problems facing patients diagnosed with urologic conditions, medical care providers who care for them and the research community seeking new treatments and cures. For the past 16 years, we have provided critical 24/7 support to patients in need, developed new educational materials, conducted vital research, provided webinars/lectures and created IC awareness campaigns, all at NO COST to the patients who visit our website.
Managing Fluid Intake
The natural tendency for people with overactive bladder is to reduce fluid consumption. However, this move can actually exacerbate the symptoms. Yes, reducing fluid intake will cut down on the bathroom breaks, but a higher concentration of urine is the result – which can irritate the bladder as well as contribute to constipation. Six to eight glasses of water a day is the best thing to drink, but mild juices such as cherry, apple and grape are acceptable as well.
There are plenty of food and drink products with caffeine that should be avoided if you have overactive bladder. Caffeine is not only a stimulant but it also acts as a diuretic, which increases urine production. Tea, coffee and soft drinks with caffeine can pose bladder problems. Chocolate also contains this stimulant, so you should remove all of its forms – including chocolate milk, candy, ice cream, cakes and puddings – from your diet. Diet pills, certain headache remedies and cold and allergy medications can also contain caffeine and should be avoided.
Food and Drink to Remove From Your Diet
Certain types of food and drink can worsen overactive bladder. Tomatoes and tomato-based products are acidic and can cause bladder irritation. Citrus fruits and juices as well as spicy foods cause similar reactions. Most types of liquor, including wine, beer and liqueurs, increase urinary urgency. Milk products and most types of sweeteners, from artificial to regular table sugar and honey, also contribute to symptoms of overactive bladder. While you may not be able to eradicate them from your diet, you can reduce your intake of these food and drink irritants.
Citrus Fruits and Juices
Citrus fruits and juice are acidic may exacerbate bladder symptoms. Citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, limes, clementine, mandarin, tangerine, and oranges can be irritating to the bladder and should probably be limited or eliminated, notes the Mayo Clinic.
While cranberry juice is a common home remedy for urinary tract infections, it is acidic and may irritate the bladder.
Source: Interstitial Cystitis Network