IC Food List

Although we know from interstitial cystitis (IC) patient reports that what people with IC eat appears to affect the severity of IC symptoms, there is limited evidence to support a formal IC diet. With the exception of a handful of common trigger foods, IC patients report that there is great variation which foods and beverages, and how much of them, might cause IC flares.

Many patients contact the Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) to ask for a list of foods that are okay to eat. With the goal of being responsive to patient needs, we participated in the development of the “IC Food List.” The list is not a dietary guideline or a meal plan. There are no scientific studies supporting this list; it was developed very informally.

Since its release in 2009, we have heard from many patients that the food list is too detailed—and that the list is not reflective of many IC patients’ experiences.

However, in the hope of meeting the requests of patients who desire a list, we’ve kept this information posted. The IC Diet Food List classifies foods into three categories:

    • IC-Friendly: Foods that IC patients report rarely bother their bladders. If you are newly diagnosed, eat only these foods until you experience some relief from your symptoms. This may take a few weeks, but do your best to stick with it!

    • Try It: Includes foods that are generally safe to eat although they might bother some sensitive bladders. If your bladder is improving, these foods can be tried. Test one food at a time, beginning with a small quantity, such as half a piece of fruit or a dash of spice, gradually increasing portion size over the course of a few days. If you do not react to the food, you can add it to your own personal “IC-Friendly” food list. If your IC symptoms flare after you have consumed the food, stop eating it—and return to the foods you know are okay for your bladder. Do this until the IC flare passes.

    • Caution: Includes foods that trigger IC bladder discomfort for most food sensitive IC patients. Try these foods only if your IC is in check and your bladder is no longer sensitive.

When you are learning about which, and how much of, specific foods bother you, you may find it helpful to follow an elimination diet. Check out the handy Eating with IC pocket guide in the ICA Store. Learn more about how to put the IC Food List into action:

Revised April 12, 2011