Interstitial Cystitis: Foods to Avoid

Updated February 21, 2017

Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a condition in which bladder pain and pressure and increased urinary frequency occur. The bladder walls become inflamed, leading to scarring and a lower capacity to hold urine. Interstitial cystitis affects more women than men and can have an adverse impact on your life. Removing certain beverages and foods from your diet may help relieve your discomfort and pain.


Certain drinks can irritate the bladder lining and cause pain in the already sensitive bladder lining. Beverages such as beer, chocolate milk, alcohol, coffee, wine, tea, citrus juices, cranberry juice and sodas can cause irritation and prolong inflammation.

Meat, Fish and Vegetables

Certain meats and fish, especially those that are heavily processed, can cause bladder pain. These foods include hot dogs, bologna, ham, sausage, pepperoni and smoked fish. Vegetables that may irritate the bladder include chilli peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce and juice, pickles, sauerkraut, black beans and lima beans.

Fruits and Nuts

Many types of fruits can aggravate the bladder because of the acids they contain. These foods include all citrus fruits, cantaloupe, plums, cherries, pineapple, papaya, persimmon, grapes and kiwi. Black walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts and pistachio nuts can also irritate bladder walls.


Desserts that may cause pain in the bladder include chocolate, coffee ice cream, sorbet, pastries with "problem" fruits and anything containing NutraSweet.

Food Diary

Keeping a food diary can help you ascertain which foods aggravate your interstitial cystitis. Write down every food and beverage you ingest each day and flag any food item you suspect causes pain. This procedure will help you learn which "trigger" foods to avoid.

Acidic Relief

Acids are the common thread in most forbidden foods in the interstitial diet. A dietary supplement called Prelief may help when it's hard to give up that morning cup of coffee or your chocolate fix. Prelief is taken before meals, and help reduce the acids in foods or beverages by neutralising them. Over-the-counter acid reducers may also provide some relief.

Good Foods

Although there are many foods you should avoid when suffering from interstitial cystitis, there are plenty of foods you can eat with no problems. These foods and drinks include beef, chicken, eggs, shrimp, turkey, vanilla ice cream, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, yams, corn, pumpkin, carrot cake, honey, sugar cookies, vanilla pudding, Evian water and chamomile tea.

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About the Author

Constance Barker, located in the hills of southern Ohio, is the owner and writer of several financial, credit report and travel websites. She started writing in 1999 for private clients and began creating website content in 2004. She gained expertise in home improvement after she and her husband built their home themselves.