Vulvodynia, Low-Oxalate Foods
and the IC Diet
Many IC patients also have vulvodynia. Why are low-oxalate foods not
included on the “Bladder-Friendly” IC diet list?
Many of the food lists shared between patients over the years included foods
which affected people with IC as well as related conditions such as vulvodynia
(or vulvadynia). However, the current ICA
list of “least to most bothersome foods” is limited to foods and beverages that
patients report worsen their IC symptoms. We narrowed the list for multiple
Though many IC patients have IC and vulvodynia,
not everyone with IC experiences vulvar pain. Of note, is the growing number of
men diagnosed with IC for whom vulvodynia is not a related condition.
The honed list allows people with IC to choose
from a wider variety of foods. This streamlined
version is also preferred by physicians, dietitians and healthcare providers.
Current research does not support a link between
oxalate-rich foods with vulvodynia symptoms. Regardless, as researchers
continue to investigate these conditions, your body is the best source of
information. For example, up until a few
years ago, research did not support the link between diet and IC. It
didn’t mean that it wasn’t true; it meant that the research had not been done yet! To help researchers learn more about these
links, please share your experience about what foods bother your IC and other
health conditions—Help give the researchers clues by posting a note on the IC
Facebook Community page.
If your IC is accompanied by other health problems, consider combining
dietary recommendations as needed. For example, try eliminating oxalates
from your diet to see if it helps to reduce your vulva pain and vulvodynia
symptoms. Next, combine those diet changes with the IC food list by crossing
out foods that are high (H and VH) and moderately high (M) in oxalates. This
gives you a starting point. After time, you can try adding in some of the M
foods to see if you react.
The goal is to develop your own, personalized trigger food list. For
help with this process, consider talking to a registered dietitian who can help
you create individualized meal plans with the healthiest foods possible. Many
dietitians, including myself, provide individual counseling over the phone. To
find a dietitian who can help you, check out the American Dietetic
Julie Beyer, MA, RD
Posted August 11, 2010