Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Interstitial Cystitis

Can what I eat or drink relieve or prevent IC?

No research consistently links certain foods or drinks to IC. However, some research strongly suggests a relationship between diet and symptoms. Healthy eating and staying hydrated are important for your overall health, including bladder health.

A man putting apples into a bag at the grocery store
No research links certain foods or drinks to interstitial cystitis, although healthy eating is important for your overall health, including bladder health.

However, some people with IC find that certain foods or drinks trigger or worsen their symptoms. Coffee, soda, alcohol, tomatoes, hot and spicy foods, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, citrus juices and drinks, MSG, and high-acid foods can trigger IC symptoms or make them worse. Some people also note that their symptoms get worse after eating or drinking products with artificial sweeteners, or sweeteners that are not found naturally in foods and beverages.

Learning which foods trigger your symptoms or make them worse may take some effort. Keep a food diary and note the times you have bladder pain. For example, the diary might show that your symptom flares always happen after you eat tomatoes or oranges. If you find that certain foods make your symptoms worse, your health care professional and dietitian can help you avoid them with an eating plan. Find an expert to advise you on how to use nutrition and ingredient information on a food label. You can use this information to help you avoid eating or drinking things that trigger pain in your bladder.

Stopping certain foods and drinks—and then adding them back to what you normally eat and drink one at a time—may help you figure out which foods or drinks, if any, affect your symptoms. Talk with your health care professional about how much liquid you should drink to prevent dehydration based on your health, how active you are, and where you live. Water is the best liquid for bladder health.

Some doctors recommend taking an antacid with meals. This medicine reduces the amount of acid that gets into the urine.

Last Reviewed July 2017
Share this page
Facebook X Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Reddit Pinterest

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.