Dos & Don’ts to Relieve Pain & Discomfort Due to Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
Our next question comes from Susanna C. She says, “I have interstitial cystitis and am in a lot of pain much of the time. Do you know of anything I can eat or drink that might soothe the bladder irritation?”
Susanna, I’m so sorry that you’re suffering with IC – that’s what we call it in the medical world. Interstitial cystitis, for those of you not familiar, is a persistent inflammatory state of the bladder and the urinary tract, and we often find that it flares very similar to how folks experience autoimmune flares, like lupus flares and assorted imbalances in pain and irritation. This becomes really challenging because the lower pelvic deep, deep pelvic region, and lower abdomen can be inflamed and just feel uncomfortable, and it can affect not just the bladder, but for women, it can affect the uterus, the feeling of pain in and around the uterus and also the bowels, the large and small intestine. So it just is really, really annoying.
What Can You Drink to Soothe Symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis?
I want today to address specifically your question about what can you drink when you have interstitial cystitis that can help soothe that state of a flaring bladder or the interstitial cystitis flare.
Avoid These Things to Prevent an IC Flare-Up
So first, let’s start with what you should avoid. Avoid coffee, avoid any type of sweeteners, artificial or natural. Avoid any spices, as well as avoid any acidic beverages and also food. Those are things you just want to wipe out of your routine in terms of buying from the store. But really, the low acid approach is critical because that helps ease that inflammatory state.
Beverages to Bring Relief for IC Symptoms
I have found that my patients really experience relief when they add chamomile tea to the mix. Chamomile tea is just very soothing, it is very anti-inflammatory, and it’s just a very neutral beverage. I also find that adding a water infused with cucumber, mint, and pear also has this soothing effect. It’s this really interesting kind of combination between the three. It’s a beautiful tea, I have folks that will make that up, they’ll make a big vat and they’ll put it in the refrigerator and they will drink that throughout the day, and that just helps eliminate the irritation.
A Caution Regarding Drinking Cranberry Juice
Also, we’ve seen success with peppermint tea as well, and even some cranberry, but I have a cautionary warning with cranberry. I prefer individuals to make their own cranberry juices or to grab cranberries and maybe have the whole cranberries, mash them up a little bit, and then add them into a warm tea that you might be making.
The cranberry that we find on the shelves of the grocery stores are not always concentrated, and they’re also really, really dense in a lot of sugar and things that are going to cause irritation. So, a lot of my patients I find are reaching for cranberry because they’ve read cranberry’s great for the urinary tract, but the cranberry that we find in the grocery stores is just even more overwhelming and can accelerate the flare and extend the time of discomfort. So those are some recommendations as far as the beverage.
Foods Beneficial in Lowering the Flaring Inflammatory State
Now, I’m going to recommend a few food items that are going to be greatly beneficial, and then we recommend a supplement that’s been heavily studied in its effectiveness at lowering the flaring inflammatory state of the inner and outer mucosal lining of the bladder. And that’s really the element that has been compromised or is in that flaring state.
Fermented & Dairy-Free Foods
So, what we recommend is eating fermented foods. As many fermented foods as you can get your hands on. This could be nut yogurts. I prefer going dairy-free because dairy will enhance the mucus. If we’re dealing with any type of inflammatory mucosal lining, that tends to be a challenge.
So avoid dairy, but go with fermented foods like kimchi, fermented beets are really great. You can actually drink beet kvass – a wonderful beverage that’s fermented. Even doing your own fermentation. I have folks that will ferment cashew milk or make their own kefir at home, with an assortment of nut sources.
Supplements to Support Bacteria Balance
Then supplementing with probiotics, and I’m going to recommend Organixx, the ProBiotixx here. This is really wonderful because it has a very powerful one strain that systemically is highly beneficial, especially for women.
We find that when women have bacterial imbalances, they tend to wind up, for some reason, inside the urinary tract and in the bladder. I’ve had women of all ages have to get their bladder scoped and then we actually look at the labs, and we find that they have unhealthy bacteria that should not even exist in the bladder. And that tends to be the core reason why women have this persistent kind of inflammation. It’s this bacterium that never got eradicated in the first one- or two-course of an of antibiotics.
The lactobacillus plantarum, that is in ProBiotixx here, this is highly, highly beneficial, and we see through a lot of data that that particular strain is great for women just overall in the urinary tract, as well as the vaginal canal. So I recommend this.
Quercetin is Derived from Turmeric
The other thing that is heavily researched is quercetin, and quercetin is derived from turmeric. It is one of the most powerful ingredients in turmeric, and so I recommend using turmeric in your daily life. I love to recommend it as a spice that flavors foods. You can also add that to a tea as well, and you can supplement, but if you’re going to supplement, the best form of turmeric is to get or consume a fermented turmeric. That is the combination of the fermented foods, plus the anti-inflammatory state of quercetin.
Fermented Turmeric Can Reduce Intensity and Duration of an IC Flare
And I’m really excited to share with you that Turmeric 3D has quercetin in it. It’s the core ingredient. It is a fermented version, and the fermentation process actually has been invigorated by adaptogens, so that will help lower the stress response of your body when you’re in that flaring state, and also you’ll notice a decrease in the flare, the time of the flare, and then you can start to identify some of the triggers in your life.
There are an overwhelming amount of triggers. It could be stress, it could be bowel imbalances, it could be food-related. Allowing your body some healing time gives you better access to identify the source or trigger of a flare.
And ultimately, over time, as you add in more probiotic dense fermented foods, and then add an actual probiotic, plus quercetin in the form of raw turmeric, powdered, spice turmeric, tea turmeric, and included in it a supplementation of fermented turmeric, you’re going to notice a massive change in the IC that you’re experiencing.
So, I hope this has been helpful. I’m really excited to hear how you do, and Susanna, know you’re not alone. This affects a lot of women and we just don’t talk about it. So I’m excited to help you on your health journey, and thanks for asking this very wonderful question.