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Urology/interstitial cystitis


QUESTION: Dear Stephen,

I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis about a year ago. Sometimes I will feel the feelings in my bladder associated with the condition and it is tolerable. So if the pain in my bladder is tolerable enough does that mean that I don't really need to worry about the foods that I am eating? I am asking this because I am wondering if eating the foods that can cause sensitivity could lead to other health problems. If it wouldn't than I won't worry about what I am eating as much.


ANSWER: Lauren:

There is no evidence one way or the other regarding other health effects from the altered diet in interstitial cystitis.  My best advice is to be aware of the risky foods (typically caffeine, hot spices, high potassium content, etc.) and see what you can tolerate without aggravating the IC.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Stephen,

I am a little confused as to what you are meaning to say in your response to my question. I wanted to know if I do drink caffeine and I feel mild discomfort but nothing horrible can it cause other problems ? I want to drink coffee.



There is no evidence one way or the other of additional harm to other organs or systems from deliberately ingesting foods that are known to be irritating to the bladder in patients with IC.  Essentially, there is no data one way or the other.  Most IC patients are not inclined to take any chances with further bladder irritation by ingestion of foods that they know are inflammatory.  Essentially, you are on your own.

My best advice is to drink decaf and not tempt fate with extra caffeine.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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