Long Island IC Diet Study


Most Bothersome Foods
for IC Patients

  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Tomatoes
  • Foods containing hot peppers
  • Certain artificial sweeteners
  • Pineapple/pineapple juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Horseradish
  • Vinegar
  • Pickled herring
A landmark study linking interstitial cystitis (IC) and diet conducted by Robert Moldwin, MD, and Barbara Shorter, EdD, RD, CDN was published in peer-reviewed literature: “Effect of comestibles on symptoms of interstitial cystitis,” Journal of Urology. 2007 Jul;178(1):145-52.

Drs. Moldwin and Shorter developed a valid and reliable questionnaire that was administered to 104 IC patients. The survey presented general questions and a list of 175 different foods and beverages, asking whether or not or how each item affected symptoms. Patients also completed two standard IC assessment tools—the O’Leary-Sant Symptom and Problem Index and the Pelvic Pain Urgency/Frequency (PUF).


More than 90 percent of the women in this study reported that certain foods and beverages bothered them. The most problematic items were coffee, tea, soda, alcohol, citrus fruits and juices, artificial sweeteners, and hot peppers. Tomatoes weren’t far behind. The paper, published in the Journal of Urology, listed 35 items that averaged at least “slightly bothersome.” In an interview with the ICA Update, Dr. Shorter said that “We also found that women who had the worst symptoms were the ones who had the greatest food sensitivities.”

The research team did a similar study in men with chronic pelvic pain. Although a much lower proportion of men were affected, the most bothersome foods were essentially the same.

Drs. Moldwin and Shorter also found that people were affected differently by foods and a woman might react to a certain food but not react to another closely related one. Dr. Shorter, who has IC, said, for example, that “Some IC patients can’t have black beans, but I can. One patient could not eat blackberries but could eat raspberries.”


Posted April 05, 2011