Diet in Affects on Symptoms of Painful Bladder Syndrome

Patients with BPS/IC frequently report that specific foods, beverages, and dietary supplements increase symptoms. The role of diet in affecting symptoms of BPS/IC is based on a paucity of information, primarily anecdotal reports. Shorter and colleagues from New York surveyed 104 patients who met National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases criteria for Interstitial cystitis with a goal of determining what foods seemed to exacerbate or alleviate symptoms. Of the initial 327 questionnaires distributed, 32% were returned and the role of non-response bias was not further investigated.

90.2% of responders indicated that certain foods or beverages increased bladder symptoms. Still, 88.5% of responders indicated that they consumed substance that they knew would exacerbate their symptoms. The chief offenders were coffee, tea, soda, alcoholic beverages, certain fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes, tomato-based products, hot peppers, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. 75% reported that larger meals caused more bladder symptoms than smaller meals. 30% of subjects found foods that eased their symptoms; water, Prelief®, and alkalinizing agents were beneficial in this survey.

The authors conclude that suggesting that patients eliminate irritant foods such as coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, citrus fruit/juices, spicy foods, hot peppers, and artificial sweeteners may have a beneficial effect.

It would make sense to alert patients to try to identify whether these foods result in symptom flares, and if so, suggest they be avoided. Given the variability in food effects on patient symptoms, strict compliance with an “IC diet” would not seem to be indicated in the vast majority of patients.

Journal of Urology. 178(1):145-152, July 2007
Shorter B, Lesser M, Moldwin RM, Kushner L

Reported by Philip M. Hanno, MD, a Contributing Editor with UroToday

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