Some of the top Intersitital Cystitis are answered by Julie Beyer, RD (a Health and Nutrition Educator) and author of Confident Choices: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet. For more information about diet and Interstitital Cystitis, see her book.
1) What about soy sauce? Can we have soy sauce, why or why not.
Soy products commonly trigger symptoms for IC patients. In fact, most IC patients cannot consume soy sauce, even if it is MSG free. For others, reactions to condiments like soy sauce is dose related. They can tolerate tiny amounts, but if they increase the portion size or eat it every day, they will have problems. They best way to find out your personal reaction is to “test” soy sauce when you are feeling relatively symptom-free. Then, only try a small amount. Keep track of your symptoms and voiding habits so that you can discern if the product is truly affecting you.
2) Why are some acid foods on the IC diet list? Are all alkaline foods ok?
I talked to a nurse practitioner who also has IC about the acid-alkaline phenomenon. She said that if you checked the urine of a random person, their urine pH will bounce around all day long as a mechanism to help keep the body’s pH normal. People with normal bladders don’t even notice this variation in pH. But with IC and a damaged bladder lining, any slight variation in pH up or down can cause pain.
(Think of it this way: If you pour either lemon juice (acid) or bleach (alkaline) over the back of your hand, you will not feel anything except a cool liquid. However, if you had a wound on the back of your hand, any break in the skin, pouring either liquid over the wounds would cause you pain.)
The cells that make up the bladder lining are the same as on the outside of our body. Normally these cells are very very good at protecting us. But when we have a wound on our hand, or the bladder lining is damaged in some way, things like chemicals, acids, or alkaline products can cause pain.
On a side note, if you kept exposing your hand to bleach or lemon juice (soaking in it, for example) you will definitely begin to CAUSE your skin to become inflamed and break down. With our hands, we can rinse off and stop the assault…….but we will always be producing urine……….so the wounds in the bladder are constantly exposed to variations in urine pH. For IC patients, it seems to be more important to keep the pH (acid-alkaline balance) of the urine as close to neutral as possible. Many foods that we eat would be considered acid going in, but can cause an alkaline urine (orange juice). Other foods may cause an acid urine (cranberry juice). So, from observations, it doesn’t seem to matter what the pH of the food is going “in,” or how it affects the total body pH, but the urine pH.
3) Are there foods that can help with incontinence and urgency?
It is my experience with patients that some foods can trigger non-IC related urgency and frequency in susceptible people. Many people are successful in determining their individual trigger foods by using an elimination diet technique. You can find the process in Confident Choices: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet. You will most certainly want to avoid caffeinated products. Avoiding preservatives and artificial flavors and colors may help also.
Incontinence and urgency of urination should always be discussed with your physician to rule out organic causes such as cancer.
Our Dietitian: Julie Beyer, RD
Author: Confident Choices: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet
Nutrition and Wellness Educator [email protected]
A Nutrition Education Company www.NutraConsults.com
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