“Antiyeast” therapy with diet and drugs became popular in the 1980s after William Crook, MD’s book The Yeast Connection hit the bestseller lists. The possible connection with interstitial cystitis (IC) is intriguing enough that in the 1990s, one urologist and IC researcher did a pilot study with Dr. Crook to look into a possible IC connection. (The Fall 2010 issue of the ICA Update provides a great overview of the debate.) Since then, the “yeast connection” has been criticized, and the theory that yeast overgrowth in the body causes many conditions that have been associated with IC has fallen out of favor—and not just with mainstream medicine. Even complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) icon Andrew Weil, MD dismisses it, writing on his website that the persistence of the theory that yeast infection can wreak havoc in the body “is an example of our fears of foreign invaders; it satisfies a need to blame our maladies on an external cause.”
A lot of you don’t agree. In fact, in the ICA’s 2009 CAM survey, more than 60 percent of you who tried antiyeast therapy thought it helped at least somewhat. One respondent, “JK” in New York State, said “I was always in pain. And I am a very allergic person, so I tried an antiyeast diet.” She said that it did help to reduce her symptoms. She also took the antifungal drug nystatin. But she also used other therapies and backed off the antiyeast diet to go on an IC diet because the antiyeast diet “was very difficult to stay on. It is very restrictive.”

What does the science say? The support is sketchy. Though the science may not be there, some IC patients who tried antiyeast therapy think it helps. The fall 2010 issue of the ICA Update reviews how much we know. Order this issue and read more in “Yeast and IC: CAM or Scam?”

Revised Tuesday, May 26th, 2015