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Foods to Avoid for Cystitis

author image J. Lucy Boyd
J. Lucy Boyd, RN, BSN has written several nonfiction books including "The Complete Guide to Healthy Cooking and Nutrition for College Students." She is frequently called upon to provide career guidance to medical professionals and advice to parents of children with challenges. She also loves teaching others to cook for their families.
Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
fruits like grapes, pineapple and strawberries can cause inflammation for some Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images


According to the Mayo Clinic, cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. It may be caused by an infection, irritants, drugs or illness. Some cases of cystitis will become chronic, a condition known as interstitial cystitis. Frequently called IC, it is characterized by a feeling of pressure and pain in the bladder. While foods are not known to cause cystitis, certain things you eat can worsen the discomfort. The foods to avoid will vary for each person, but there are some commonly known "trigger" foods.


Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
pickles should be avoided Photo Credit Jill Battaglia/iStock/Getty Images

Commonly known offending foods include peppers, sauerkraut, pickles, tomatoes and tomato sauce.


Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
cantaloupe is among the fruits that can irritate an inflamed bladder Photo Credit varin36/iStock/Getty Images

Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, tangelos, cantaloupes, plums, figs, pineapples, papayas, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, cherries and grapes can irritate an inflamed bladder.

Proteins and Dairy

Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
ham can worsen cystitis symptoms Photo Credit Wiktory/iStock/Getty Images

Pepperoni, salami, ham, bologna, tofu, hot dogs, sausage and smoked fish may cause bladder pain and irritation. Yogurt, sour cream, aged cheeses, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, Swiss cheese and sorbet may worsen cystitis symptoms.

Grains, Beans and Nuts

Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
pistachios can also be irritating Photo Credit fpwing/iStock/Getty Images

Potentially irritating foods include soy beans, soy veggie patties, black beans, lima beans, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, soy flour, and bread and cereal with preservatives.

Snacks and Processed Foods

Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
processed foods like chocolate contain preservatives that can worsen symptoms Photo Credit GoldStock/iStock/Getty Images

Processed foods generally contain preservatives and seasonings that can worsen cystitis symptoms. You may need to avoid canned soups, chocolate, fruitcake, cinnamon candy, boxed rice dishes, boxed pasta dishes, seasoned potato chips and mincemeat pie.

Herbs, Spices and Seasonings

Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
soy sauce should be avoided Photo Credit ffolas/iStock/Getty Images

Mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressings, Worcestershire sauce, hydrolyzed protein, bullion cubes and powders, aspartame, saccharine, other artificial sweeteners, ketchup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), cloves, chili powder, paprika, vinegar, meat tenderizer, soy sauce, BHA and BHT (preservatives) may irritate the inflamed bladder.


Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
both coffee and tea can prove irritating Photo Credit crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Beverages that can irritate the bladder include sodas (regular and diet), vitamin water, flavored water, coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated), tea, green tea, herbal tea, powdered drinks, tomato juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, limeade, cranberry juice, sports drinks, energy drinks, soy milk and all alcoholic beverages.

Eating to Manage Your Symptoms

Foods to Avoid for Cystitis
drink water with meals Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

You may need to avoid and reintroduce certain foods as you learn which foods trigger pain for you. Keeping a food diary may be beneficial. Avoid any foods to which you are allergic or intolerant. If you discover that a particular food worsens your symptoms, try a different brand, an organic version or a different cooking method. Do not restrict your diet to the point that you do not get all the daily nutrients you need. Drink adequate amounts of water with your meals.

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