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IC Diet Helped Me!

My name is Theresa and I am 58 years old. Four months ago I woke up to what I thought was a routine UTI, so I promptly went to my primary care physician for antibiotics. When those failed to relieve my symptoms, I went to the emergency room and was prescribed a different antibiotic.That round appeared to help, but after completing the course of treatment the symptoms returned. My primary care physician recommended I try a third round as it seemed the last dose had worked. For three days I tried, and was made more miserable (this all occurred over a period of three weeks). The only other health issues I had going on at that time were extreme seasonal allergies. I had heard of IC, and during this time became absolutely certain this was my condition because all three times my urine samples had come back negative for infection. Because I was on either AZO/Pyridium or antibiotic at the time, the doctor suspected the results were skewed. However, in my search to find out what was wrong with me I realized that all my symptoms matched those of IC.

To get to the bottom of the mystery, my primary care physician referred me to a urologist. He firmly believed that I could not just wake up one morning and suddenly have IC. Nevertheless, he performed a cystoscopy with distention which, to his expectation, showed a normal bladder. To rule out other concerns, he then recommended a CT scan, and informed me that diagnosing IC is a process of elimination, meaning that if nothing else was noticeably wrong, IC was the likely culprit. That said, I have never officially been diagnosed with IC, but have proceeded with the IC diet suggestions as if that were the case.

While I had no real burning, I did have pain comparable to mild-to-major menstrual cramps with pain from the top of my bladder to the very end of my urethra. At the onset of my trials I was awakened in the early hours with very severe bladder spasms that made me want to crawl out of my skin and urinate. This feeling would usually linger 2-3 hours and lasted for a week.

Next I turned to diet modification and decided to experiment with the recommended food and elimination diet suggested by ICA and kept a food and void log including the amount of liquids and the time between bathroom breaks. In an attempt to “train” my bladder, I consciously made myself wait a little longer between visits to the bathroom to increase my bladder volume. After changing my diet and eating a fairly bland meal at dinner I saw a significant improvement in my ability to sleep and a drop in the need to urinate from four to two times a night and no flares. After initial elimination, I have added most foods back into my diet with the exception of caffeine, chocolate, tomato products, highly acidic, fast/processed, and extremely spicy food, and I attempt to stay organic when possible.

Additionally, I started going to a chiropractor and acupuncturist. Also, I have added marshmallow root tea, I drink slippery elm, which promotes healthy mucous membranes, and rooibos tea to my diet. Rooibos tea in naturally caffeine free, is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, improves circulation, relieves stomach complaints, and encourages restful sleep, plus many other benefits. I suggest researching these natural products to see if they are right for you.

Staying hydrated is important, so I drink plenty of fluids – at least 64 ounces every day. To avoid having to get up too frequently during the night, I usually stop consuming fluids about two hours before bedtime. On average, I usually go about 2.5-5 hours between bathroom visits during the day and two visits per night, whereas before treatment, I was urinating fifteen times per day and a minimum of four times per night.

My story began on April 4, 2014. Today I feel ninety percent normal and am relatively symptom free. I still feel twinges in my bladder that were not there before, but I can live normally and not worry where the next rest room is. I continue to watch what I eat and see a chiropractor, exercise and do some yoga too, but haven’t needed acupuncture recently. Considering what some people have gone through and continue to deal with, my four month experience might seem like a walk in the park, but when you are in pain, 24 hours can feel like a lifetime.

Without the encouragement of my husband, the ICA website, and ICA Online Support Community I would not have known what to do or where to turn. My healthier condition is a direct result of your stories of hope and experience. What’s more, my husband and I were able to travel to Italy in June – a trip we had planned for over a year. The IC diet helped me get my bladder under control and feel confident that I would be able to enjoy much of the food available on our vacation. Not all Italian food is made with tomatoes!