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What Foods Aggravate Interstitial Cystitis & What Foods Calm It?

There is no cure for Interstitial cystitis however you can well manage the symptoms by moderating your diet.1,2

Restricting too many foods and beverages can affect your well-being so limit the foods that can intensify your symptoms.3

Certain foods though cannot eliminate the flares yet soothe the bladder and relieve you from pain and discomfort.4

Dietary changes are the first line of defense in patients struggling with interstitial cystitis symptoms. This is a chronic bladder pain condition where your pelvic lining is inflamed and irritated. Since every individual has a varying degree of sensitivity towards foods and drinks, it is often important to determine your trigger foods.

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Study and Research, how you manage an Interstitial cystitis symptom is invariably dependent upon the factor that triggered it.

What Foods Aggravate Interstitial Cystitis?

What Foods Aggravate Interstitial Cystitis?

When patients with Interstitial cystitis learns the restrictive diet is the first line of treatment to eliminate discomfort and prevent bladder problems, not everyone is willing to accept the change. Some tend to adopt the changes and prove after subsequent urine culture tests that they have sentenced their problem to death.

On the contrary, some patients may prefer to proceed with alternate therapies. However, experts suggest that medications work well for this condition, but they are expensive and takes 3-6 months to recover from the condition. Nevertheless, there are chances of recurrent bouts when the infection is not completely cleared.

There is no cure for Interstitial cystitis however you can well manage the symptoms by moderating your diet. Certain foods are regarded as top trigger foods that are most likely to produce problems for the majority of Interstitial cystitis patients. Therefore, to avoid pain or problems avoid the following foods:


  • Hot pepper and spicy foods that includes Mexican, Thai and Indian
  • Citrus foods like oranges and lemons
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolates
  • The vast majority of artificial sweeteners are not recommended
  • frozen and processed foods.1,2


  • diet sodas (containing both aspartame and saccharin)
  • Coffee and tea (caffeinated and decaffeinated)
  • Carbonated water (sparkling water and tonic water). Carbonation is nothing but the carbonic acid forms in the water when carbon dioxide is dissolved in it. This can irritate the Interstitial cystitis bladder.
  • Fruit juices such as cranberry juice, grape, and orange

Doctors when counseling new patients with Interstitial cystitis always advises eliminating the above-mentioned top triggers as possible. But restricting too many foods and beverages can affect your well-being so limit the foods that can intensify your symptoms.

On the contrary, there are low-risk foods that you need not be afraid to eat. They replace the nutrients provided by bothersome foods and beverages and your bladder can enjoy these foods. This, in turn, enhance your energy levels as well.3

What Foods Calm Interstitial Cystitis?

The basis of a healthy lifestyle includes eating fruits as a whole instead of drinking juices. You tend to lose the fiber content when the fruits are squeezed to juices. Similarly, you may not get the entire nutrients and minerals from frozen vegetables and fruits. Diet alone won’t cure the symptoms, but this will not intensify the symptoms

  • Vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels, cabbage, carrots and cauliflower
  • Watery fruits such as honeydew, cucumber, watermelon, raisins, blueberries and pears
  • Homemade bread and cakes without artificial sweeteners
  • Herbal teas 4.

Since it takes from a few days to a few weeks to improve the symptoms, do not assume your dietary changes are not helping. Wait for weeks to witness improvement in your symptoms.


  1. “Foods to Avoid.” Interstitial Cystitis Association, 5 July 2016, www.ichelp.org/living-with-ic/interstitial-cystitis-and-diet/foods-to-avoid/.
  2. “The Urgency of Interstitial Cystitis – How Diet Can Improve a Crippling Disease.” Today’s Dietitian, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/020314p34.shtml.
  3. “Soothe Bladder Pain With These Foods.” Urology Specialists of Georgia, 23 June 2015, www.usofga.com/general/soothe-bladder-pain/.
  4. “Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Interstitial Cystitis.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 July 2017, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/interstitial-cystitis-painful-bladder-syndrome/eating-diet-nutrition.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2020

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