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  • Success through diet change and stress reduction

    I've been posting on this board off and on for the past two years. I can finally say today that I know the root cause of my IC symptoms: diet (in particular gluten) and stress.

    I started having IC symptoms (pain w/urinating, painful cramping, bloating, frequency) over 5 years ago. This was roughly also around the time I had started my PhD studies. I just got sicker and sicker, had dozens of doctors appointments, and no one knew what was wrong. Finally, 2 1/2 years ago, a doctor suggested IC and I started on the IC diet.

    My symptoms started to subside a bit, but I was still eating foods that were irritating my bladder and stomach (I was also diagnosed with IBS). Well, in desperation, I removed all cow's milk 2 years ago (I'm *really* lactose intolerant) and then finally last fall, I eliminated gluten from my diet.

    Two weeks ago, I was eating a restaurant (something I haven't done much of these past two years) and forgot to check about tomato in the gluten-free dish I was having. The chicken I had was served with tomato sauce and lemon -- I decided I might as well try it since my bladder had been stable over the past while. Result: a *teeny* flare, but nothing that I had to take medication to treat.

    After accidentally eating 3 fries that were coated with wheat flour this week (the first time in over 8 months that I've had gluten), I now know with 100% certainty -- gluten has been the culprit of my bladder and stomach pain. Within 1/2 hour of eating those darn fries, I broke out in an allergic reaction (something that had never happened before): my stomach knotted up, my bladder flared, I had terrible gas, my skin started tingling, and my face felt numb.

    Like most people, I didn't want to believe that wheat was hurting me -- after all, I've been eating it all my life and gluten is everywhere in our food. Please, if you are reading this and you experience both IC symptoms (with an irritable, but otherwise healthy, bladder) and IBS symptoms, consider removing lactose and wheat from your diet. If you always feel bloated after eating, you might be wheat-sensitive. I thought that I was fine with wheat -- I really did -- until I stopped eating it. After one month, I noticed I felt better. 9 months later, I feel drastically better. I sleep through the night (not always, but most nights now!) and I am able to tolerate things like lemon (I'm easing slowly into the non-IC safe foods ... very, very slowly).

    The happier I get, the less stress I feel, the better I am. I've made some tough life decisions to reduce stress (i.e. like choosing to work at home and be poorer, rather than work in an office and have more income). I've come to terms that I can never have gluten again; it makes buying food slightly more labor intensive and expensive, but I feel like I can function again.

    Now that am done with my PhD, my stress levels are way down, so my bladder has also had time to heal from all of the sitting and anxiety involved in academic work. If I sit too long at my computer or have a lot of stress, my bladder reacts. I can track my symptoms down to exact conservations and events now. To the hour!

    Basically, I don't really have IC (with true damage to the bladder). I have an irritable bladder (which is what my urologist found from my cystoscopy with hydro) -- a bladder that reacts to heightened stress and diet (in particular gluten).

    This post has been a bit disjointed, but I hope that I communicated the changes that worked for me (stress reduction and diet change). I still have a lot of healing to do (physically and emotionally), but I finally feel like I have a future again where I get to do things like work full-time, eat out, have worry-free sex, and travel.

    Now if I could only get restaurants to stop putting wheat in everything ...
    Last edited by klite; 07-09-2011, 03:51 AM.
    Me: Canadian. 31.

    IC symptoms: Cramping, burning, frequency. Pain!

    Pain management: Ibuprofen. AZO. Marijuana. Prelief. The IC Diet.

    My IC-safe, Gluten-free, Lactose-free food blog:
    Good for Your Guts

  • #2
    Thank you so very much for this post.

    I am also lacto intolerant and I just decided to try with gluten free diet.

    Stress and anxiety are for sure always making my bladder worse so I need to find a way to deal with this.

    I am looking into body ecology diet which is gluten free and lacto free among other things.

    How long did it take for you to really notice a big change with this diet? How bad was your frequency before this diet? Frequency and urgency are my main issues (no so much pain, thank God for that). It´s hard to imagine that all these could go away with just a diet change but I am willing to give it a go. It´s frustrating cuz wheat is in so many things, things I didn´t even imagine there could be.

    Thanks for the post, it gives me hope because I am really willing to try this.
    Can you give any advice for a newbie on gluten free diet?
    What did you eat, specially when starting?

    Thanks in advance for any kind of advice.
    ***************************************
    I am not an English native.
    ***************************************
    I am starting with raw food diet, juices and green smoothies and salads. Nothing else (rx meds and holistic things like cystoprotek, IC aloe vera) helps with my frequency, urgency and burning. I was also tested and I am gluten sensitive, lactose intolerant, few other food allergies, so all in all it made perfect sense to try go "raw". Fingers crossed

    Right now I am on:
    Vesicare 5 mg
    Other stuff:
    Herbal mix for bladder and kidneys
    Herbal mix for adrenals
    Fish Oil
    Bladder Control
    Colostrum
    Probiotics

    Comment


    • #3
      One good thing is that if you wonder if gluten is a problem, you can be tested. Celiac is fairly easy to diagnose via a blood test.

      klite, I'm glad you're feeling better.

      Donna
      Stay safe


      Elmiron Eye Disease Information Center - https://www.ic-network.com/elmiron-p...mation-center/
      Elmiron Eye Disease Fact Sheet (Downloadable) - https://www.ic-network.com/wp-conten...nFactSheet.pdf

      Have you checked the ICN Shop?
      Click on ICN Shop at the top of this page. You'll find Bladder Builder and Bladder Rest, both of which we are finding have excellent results.

      Patient Help: http://www.ic-network.com/patientlinks.html

      Sub-types https://www.ic-network.com/five-pote...markably-well/

      Diet list: https://www.ic-network.com/interstitial-cystitis-diet/

      AUA Guidelines: https://www.ic-network.com/aua-guide...tial-cystitis/

      I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.
      [3MG]

      Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool

      Comment


      • #4
        I was tested, I don´t have celiac but doc said that I could still be gluten sensitive because of all the symptoms.
        So I decided to try it and give me self at least 3-4 months to see if I will improve and if gluten might be one puzzle in my IC.
        ***************************************
        I am not an English native.
        ***************************************
        I am starting with raw food diet, juices and green smoothies and salads. Nothing else (rx meds and holistic things like cystoprotek, IC aloe vera) helps with my frequency, urgency and burning. I was also tested and I am gluten sensitive, lactose intolerant, few other food allergies, so all in all it made perfect sense to try go "raw". Fingers crossed

        Right now I am on:
        Vesicare 5 mg
        Other stuff:
        Herbal mix for bladder and kidneys
        Herbal mix for adrenals
        Fish Oil
        Bladder Control
        Colostrum
        Probiotics

        Comment


        • #5
          Donna is right - they can test easily for Celiac's disease these days. I have a good friend who is a Celiac, so I had a good support and guide along the way.

          Bojana - I noticed a decrease in IBS symptoms (ie. cramping, gas, pain, chronic diarrhea) within a week when I cut out cow's milk products (I can have goat's milk). I noticed a further decrease of IBS and IC symptoms within a month of cutting out gluten, but the most noticeable changes came after 3 months or so ... and I'm still improving.

          I think it is recommended that you try a gluten-free diet for at least 6 months, if not a year, to find out whether it makes a difference. It takes a while to notice an improvement in your gut health because gluten is quite damaging to your intestines (if you are wheat-sensitive or Celiac). A good amount of time is needed for your intestinal linings to heal and for good gut bacteria to return.

          I'm *still* experiencing stomach issues from those 3 coated-fries I ate 5 days ago! It has made me really appreciate how sensitive I am to gluten -- and I was eating soooo much white bread when I first started the IC diet

          I eat a lot of white rice (the whole grain kind, not minute rice) and quinoa. For breakfast, I usually have GF corn or rice cereal. Potatoes are a prominent staple too. If you follow the link to 'Good for your Guts' in my signature line below, you will find some of the recipes that I make for myself (and for my partner, who can eat everything, but still loves what I make!).

          And make sure you read labels. Gluten hides in a lot of processed food, so you need to be vigilant. I usually buy GF certified food (there is a pretty decent variety of products these days), or make everything from scratch. If I'm unsure these days, I just don't eat it (those darn fries sneaked by me somehow!). You can find lists of ingredients that contain gluten --or are other names for it -- online.

          Good luck with figuring out if gluten is a problem for you!
          Me: Canadian. 31.

          IC symptoms: Cramping, burning, frequency. Pain!

          Pain management: Ibuprofen. AZO. Marijuana. Prelief. The IC Diet.

          My IC-safe, Gluten-free, Lactose-free food blog:
          Good for Your Guts

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for your reply.
            I guess I really need to stick with it for months to see a difference. Patience, patience, patience, after suffering for 4 years I just want to get better like NOW but if I am really sensitive it will take some time, it took years of wrong eating to come so far and so I can not expect a miracle tomorrow.

            Thanks for link, I will check your blog to see what I can make myself

            Yeah it will take some time to figuring it out what to eat and what to look for in food, but I will get there
            ***************************************
            I am not an English native.
            ***************************************
            I am starting with raw food diet, juices and green smoothies and salads. Nothing else (rx meds and holistic things like cystoprotek, IC aloe vera) helps with my frequency, urgency and burning. I was also tested and I am gluten sensitive, lactose intolerant, few other food allergies, so all in all it made perfect sense to try go "raw". Fingers crossed

            Right now I am on:
            Vesicare 5 mg
            Other stuff:
            Herbal mix for bladder and kidneys
            Herbal mix for adrenals
            Fish Oil
            Bladder Control
            Colostrum
            Probiotics

            Comment


            • #7
              klite thanx so much for posting this i am controlling my ic thru diet and stress reduction as well im going to get tested for lactose and gluten soon.
              Newly IC diagnosed as of February 2011.

              Medications I'm on that seem to work:
              Zoloft- one once a day
              Butrans pain patch 5 mcg (THANK GOD FOR WHOEVER INVENTED THIS!SO MUCH PAIN RELIEF ITS UNREAL,I AM IN NO PAIN AT ALL UNLESS I STRESS OR SCREW UP ON THE DIET)

              Failed Meds:
              Elmiron-after 4 months,digestive side effects got to be too much
              tramadol-allergic
              DMSO treatments(5-6)
              probiotics

              THERAPIES:gardening,cooking,IC Diet,Counseling,Lots of warm baths,stress reduction,heating pad or ice packs,meditation/deep breathing,listening to relaxing music,having fun on pain free days,drinking chamomile or peppermint tea,pelvic floor physical therapy
              AROMATHERAPY-candles,incense
              Village Naturals Aches and Pains Peppermint Bath Salts
              Johnson and Johnsons Lavender Melt Away Stress Body Wash/Lotion

              ACUPUNCTURE/HERBS
              Significant pain relief so far.

              MAY TRY:yoga,swimming/hydrotherapy and anti-candida diet if i can kick my sugar addiction
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              ***TO MY IC SISTERS AND BROTHERS:WE ARE OUR OWN ADVOCATES!,PLEASE DO AS MUCH RESEARCH ON YOUR OWN AS POSSIBLE AND TRY DIFFERENT TREATMENTS TO GET WELL.NOT ONE TREATMENT WORKS FOR EVERYONE.MOST IMPORTANTLY,TRY TO KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE,DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVITY/NEGATIVE PEOPLE AND NEVER,EVER GIVE UP!***

              Add me on facebook Angela Hasic

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
              where there is hatred, let me sow love;
              when there is injury, pardon;
              where there is doubt, faith;
              where there is despair, hope;
              where there is darkness, light;
              and where there is sadness, joy.
              Grant that I may not so much seek
              to be consoled as to console;
              to be understood, as to understand,
              to be loved as to love;
              for it is in giving that we receive,
              it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
              and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Stress and diet

                Great posts! I think I'm heading toward the glueten free dairy free route myself. I noticed when I first started the IC diet I relied very heavily on bread and mild products. Love a almond butter and ricotta sandwich. Soon enought I was having unfamiliar stomach and bowel problems. I'm finding that the more fruit and veggies I consume the better I have been doing. Dinner is usually a nice piece of fish, chicken or pork with two veggie sides.
                I drink Almond milk and have done away with most cheeses.

                "The better Bladder book" by Wendy Cohen has been a good source of information.

                I'm a social worker in a public hospital so I can't really hide from stressors.
                For stress, I'm meditating without fail 2x a day for 20 minutes. It makes me more calm and less concerned about IC for some reason! My husband says that I'm more relaxed and my daughter doesn't see me sobbing like I was a month ago.

                On the way to healing-
                Joslyn
                IC symptoms in May 2011
                Mild IC dx by Cysto July 2011
                Symtoms decrease 80% by September 2011!






                Tums 100mg
                fish oil 3-5 grams
                Probiotic 5 billion
                Magnesium
                Bladder Ease
                Unda Drops
                Mediclear Plus Protein Shake

                Physical Therapy Graduate!
                Meditation 2x a day
                Running
                Castor oil pack
                Teas (nettle leaf, linden flower, camomile, marshmellow root)

                Have tried
                In office instills (pridium, heprin, lidocain, elmiron)
                Cystoprotec
                Desert Harvest Aloe
                atarax 25 mg
                Vesicare
                Lexapro
                5HTP
                sanctura

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for shareing this information it was really helpfull for me. I am going to try GF diet and see what will happen . Ofcourse hoping for the best -free Ic symptoms life
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  Symptoms since 2005
                  Diagnosed with IC october 2009 via PST

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for everyone's replies!

                    I really do think that people who have been diagnosed with 'mild IC' (where the bladder is fine except for some irritation), diet and stress are the main causes of their bladder pain. I think that it is difficult for some people to accept that they just can't take a pill to make themselves better ... but that they need to really make drastic changes to their diet and lifestyle. The (North) American lifestyle of overwork and excessive consumption (of everything! Food, movies, clothes, cars, etc) combined with a lack of real exercise (because who has the time to work out when you need to work to make money) leads to unhealthy bodies.

                    It took me a lot of soul searching and reflection (and tears and anger) to get me to where I am today. I'm relatively pain-free (I know my limits), sleep through the night (this is still so awesome), and I can even eat some of the forbidden IC-foods again (sundried tomatoes, lemon, strawberries!). To get this point I made big changes to my life ... it didn't happen overnight (just like getting really sick didn't happen all at once).

                    I really hope that people (with irritable bladders/mild IC where there is no damage to the bladder) read this thread and see that there is the potential for healing and happiness that doesn't require prescribed medications.
                    Me: Canadian. 31.

                    IC symptoms: Cramping, burning, frequency. Pain!

                    Pain management: Ibuprofen. AZO. Marijuana. Prelief. The IC Diet.

                    My IC-safe, Gluten-free, Lactose-free food blog:
                    Good for Your Guts

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm hypoglycemic and I think what I have to eat is a bit different. Am trying to figure out if it actually helps bladder symptoms or not though (as well as how I'm treating my fibromyalgia). The foods list I go by is on http://fibromyalgiatreatment.com/Research_HGdiet.htm and info about it is http://fibromyalgiatreatment.com/hypoglycemia.htm.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Georgecoolname: I looked at the diet list you referenced and there are at least several items listed there that are almost always bladder irritants for an IC patient --- I suggest you print out the latest IC diet food list and compare the two.

                        I was hypoglycemic during what they called my "pre-diabetes" period --- I am now diabetic and the diet is pretty much the same for either. I went to diabetes education classes and it really helped me. I am able to follow my diabetic diet and follow the IC diet list.

                        Sending warm hugs,
                        Donna
                        Stay safe


                        Elmiron Eye Disease Information Center - https://www.ic-network.com/elmiron-p...mation-center/
                        Elmiron Eye Disease Fact Sheet (Downloadable) - https://www.ic-network.com/wp-conten...nFactSheet.pdf

                        Have you checked the ICN Shop?
                        Click on ICN Shop at the top of this page. You'll find Bladder Builder and Bladder Rest, both of which we are finding have excellent results.

                        Patient Help: http://www.ic-network.com/patientlinks.html

                        Sub-types https://www.ic-network.com/five-pote...markably-well/

                        Diet list: https://www.ic-network.com/interstitial-cystitis-diet/

                        AUA Guidelines: https://www.ic-network.com/aua-guide...tial-cystitis/

                        I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.
                        [3MG]

                        Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Diet friendly?

                          Has anyone tried Activia? Any other yogurts?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yogurts bother my bladder.

                            I too am hypoglycemic and I do not have any problem combining the IC diet with the hypoglycemic diet. On top of that I have a lot of food allergies, so foods I can eat are very limited, but the benefits of following the IC/hypo diet far out weight eating what I want to eat.

                            To me it is just not worth it to cheat.

                            I do realize that most people can not eat the same food day in and day out, but I am committed to it.

                            MG
                            My are with you all. May you all find a way to peace and joy in your lives.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Activia

                              If you read the ingredients to Activia is is basically probiotics injected into a sugar, gelatin base. It's best to try greek yougurt, all natural yogurt or keifer IF you don't have flares with it. Keifer used to make me flare along with the natural saurkaut, but now my guts are getting used to it and I eat it on a daily basis.
                              Joslyn
                              IC symptoms in May 2011
                              Mild IC dx by Cysto July 2011
                              Symtoms decrease 80% by September 2011!






                              Tums 100mg
                              fish oil 3-5 grams
                              Probiotic 5 billion
                              Magnesium
                              Bladder Ease
                              Unda Drops
                              Mediclear Plus Protein Shake

                              Physical Therapy Graduate!
                              Meditation 2x a day
                              Running
                              Castor oil pack
                              Teas (nettle leaf, linden flower, camomile, marshmellow root)

                              Have tried
                              In office instills (pridium, heprin, lidocain, elmiron)
                              Cystoprotec
                              Desert Harvest Aloe
                              atarax 25 mg
                              Vesicare
                              Lexapro
                              5HTP
                              sanctura

                              Comment

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