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Interstitial Cystitis Diet Treatment

author image Leigh A. Zaykoski
Leigh Zaykoski has been a writer and editor for six years. Her medical writing has appeared on dozens of websites. Zaykoski attended the University of Pittsburgh and Keystone College, studying microbiology and business administration. She is currently pursuing a medical writing certification.
Interstitial Cystitis Diet Treatment
Close-up of man with stomach cramps. Photo Credit: alblec/iStock/Getty Images

Interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome, is a painful chronic condition that involves inflammation of the bladder. While no research has specifically linked diet to interstitial cystitis, many physicians recommend limiting foods that are known to cause symptoms. This can reduce the number of flareups and the severity of symptoms associated with the condition.

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Alcohol can contribute to inflammation of the bladder. Avoid alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and liquor. Carbonated soft drinks, caffeinated beverages and acidic juices may contribute to the inflammation of interstitial cystitis. The International Cystitis Association recommends avoiding soda, cranberry juice, citrus juices, coffee and tea. Drink plenty of water to encourage good urinary tract health and to avoid inflammation of the bladder.


According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, most carbohydrates are tolerated well by interstitial cystitis sufferers. Most breads, pasta and potatoes can be eaten as desired. Avoid sourdough and rye breads, as they can contribute to bladder inflammation. Dieters who are trying to avoid sugar should also avoid artificial sweeteners. Physicians from New York University believe that artificial sweeteners trigger flareups of interstitial cystitis.

Meat & Nuts

The University of Miami Medical School advises patients with interstitial cystitis to avoid eating aged and processed meats such as smoked ham and corned beef. People with this condition should avoid meats containing nitrates or nitrites. Interstitial cystitis sufferers should also avoid most nuts. The exceptions are pine nuts, almonds and cashews.

Dairy Products

The International Cystitis Association lists several dairy products that should be avoided by people who have interstitial cystitis. These products contain active cultures and can cause inflammation of the bladder. Avoid sour cream, aged cheeses and yogurt. Chocolate should also be avoided, since it contains caffeine. Many dairy foods can be tolerated by people with interstitial cystitis. They include milk, frozen yogurt, white chocolate and non-aged cheeses.

Fruits & Vegetables

Some fruits and vegetables are considered acidic and can contribute to the development of bladder inflammation. According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, vegetables to be avoided include lima beans, tomatoes, fava beans and soy-based products. A number of fruits must be avoided to prevent interstitial cystitis flareups. They include apples, pomegranates, rhubarb, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, cranberries and citrus fruits. To get the proper amount of fruits and vegetables in their diets, people with interstitial cystitis may eat green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, blueberries, pears, watermelon and honeydew melon.

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