The aim of this study was to survey interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) patients with a Web-based questionnaire to determine which consumables (foods, drinks, supplements/spices, and general food categories) truly exacerbate IC/BPS symptoms.
The Interstitial Cystitis Association posted a Web link on its Web site offering its members participation in the Web-based questionnaire from April 2009 to February 2010. Members were asked questions on the effect of 344 different foods, drinks, supplements, condiments/spices, and general food categories on urinary frequency, urgency, and/or pelvic pain symptoms. Members were asked to score symptoms related to consumables on a symptom Likert scale of 0 to 5. Questions on ethnicity, education, symptom duration, seasonal allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and specific diets were included.
There were 598 complete responses to the questionnaire, and 95.8% of the participants answered that certain foods and beverages affected their IC/BPS symptoms. Most items had no effect on symptoms. Items that made symptoms worse were citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, tea, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, and vitamin C. Only calcium glycerophosphate (Prelief; AK Pharma, Inc, Pleasantville, NJ) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) had a trend toward improvement in symptoms.
Interstitial cystitis diets do not have to be overly restrictive. It is recommended that patients with IC/BPS avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, tea, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, and vitamin C. The use of calcium glycerophosphate and/or sodium bicarbonate before consumption of these trigger consumables may also help reduce sensitivity.