Foods to Avoid

Foods and beverages that affect symptoms are different for each person with IC, but there are certain items that are more likely to trigger IC/BPS flares.

Diet Triggers Vary Greatly

Studies have consistently found that diet triggers vary greatly among IC/BPS patients. Some individuals with IC/BPS are very aware  that certain foods cause their bladders to flare, while other patients have not figured out what foods might bother their bladders. To make it more challenging, some fresh foods that bother your IC/BPS may not cause flares when they are canned or cooked. Also, if you have allergies or intolerances, your symptoms may worsen when you consume certain products. To learn what foods might trigger your IC/BPS and get your symptoms under control, following an elimination diet is key.

Most Bothersome Foods

There are certain items that are more likely to trigger IC/BPS flares:

  • Coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated), tea (caffeinated and decaffeinated), soda, alcohol, citrus juices, and cranberry juice
  • Foods and beverages containing artificial sweeteners
  • Hot peppers and spicy foods

Restricting intake of the foods and beverages listed above help some individuals control IC/BPS symptoms. However, others may need to limit even more foods and beverages. Learn about how to identify your trigger foods:

Since it takes more than a few days or even a few weeks for symptoms to improve after restricting a problematic food or beverage, some patients may not realize that certain foods trigger IC/BPS pain. For instance, if after stopping coffee, your symptoms do not improve immediately, do not assume that coffee is not a trigger item for you. Stay off of coffee for several weeks to see if your symptoms improve.


MYTH: Don’t eat acidic foods.

Many IC/BPS trigger foods are high in ascorbic (vitamin C) and citric acids (e.g., tomatoes and oranges). However, research has yet to prove that the acid in these foods is the substance provoking IC/BPS symptoms. In fact, many fruits and vegetables (which contain different types of natural acids) do not trigger bladder flares and they contain valuable antioxidants to keep us healthy.