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  • Potassium and Interstitial Cystitis

    From the IC Diet Blog, July 28, 2011
    http://interstitial-cystitis-diet.bl...-cystitis.html

    As a dietitian who also has IC, one question I get quite often is, "How much potassium is safe?"

    In the past, many patients and even clinicians thought that avoiding potassium was important to help IC patients control their symptoms. I am not exactly sure where this comes from, but maybe it started when doctors started instilling a potassium solution in the bladders of people suspected to have interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. If the solution causes the patient pain, the assumption is that the person has a damaged bladder lining--likely IC. We can debate the process itself another day, but suffice it to say, if a person experiences the pain of a potassium sensitivity test, I can hardly blame them when they are afraid to consume anything that has a significant amount of potassium in it.

    If a person avoids all high potassium foods, however, they can quickly put their lives and wellbeing in jeopardy. Potassium is a vital nutrient for humans, and an essential part of the "electrical" system of the body, responsible for nerve and muscle health including those that keep the heart beating properly. Some IC patients, thinking they were doing the right thing by avoiding potassium rich foods, have even ended up in the emergency room with erratic heart beats. (I actually have to take a potassium supplement at times to prevent going too low!)

    In addition to muscle and nerve function and cardiac health, potassium is a critical element in the prevention of osteoporosis, hypertention (high blood pressure), and strokes.

    Less serious, but definitely warning symptoms of low potassium include weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, and constipation.

    IC Safe High Potassium Foods

    Most interstitial cystitis patients have some food sensitivities to fruit, including bananas and oranges which are considered good sources of potassium. The good news is that other high potassium foods are generally well tolerated by those with a painful bladder:

    * Avocado
    * Nuts and seeds
    * Legumes, in particular white beans
    * Potatoes and sweet potatoes
    * Milk and other dairy products
    * Whey protein

    If you suspect that your potassium is low, or you are uncertain about how much potassium you should consume, your doctor can perform a simple blood test to find out what your current levels are.
    Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
    IC Dietitian, Patient Advocate, Speaker, & Author


    Did you know that up to 94% of interstitial cystitis patients find some symptom relief when they change their diet, and that dietary modification is recommended as a first line treatment for IC? Check out the IC Food List to get started!

    Do you need a little more help understanding the IC Diet? Schedule a phone or video coaching session through the ICN Store today.

    You can also learn more while supporting the ICN message boards by clicking on these book covers and buying the Confident Choices books from the ICN Store:

    ........ ........


    Other IC Diet Resources:

    IC Diet Webinar
    IC Diet Website
    For Health Professionals: Continuing Education About Interstitial Cystitis and Diet
    Free IC Diet Booklet: What Can I Eat?
    Confident Choices IC Diet Blog
    IC Diet Newsletter


    *Let's Connect!*


  • #2
    I lowered my potassium and ended up in the ER

    I haven't tried to post on this forum, until today. I registered, then just couldn't navigate.

    Right now, I still haven't figured out how to start a new thread! But, I'm seeing many posts that have been very helpful.

    Somehow, thankfully, I found Julie's post about potassium.

    Well, I'm one of those, who ended up in the ER with potassium levels so low that I spend the night in a "Decision Unit" of the hospital, while tests were being performed to see if my heart had been damaged.

    Apparently, I'd done such a good job of sticking to the IC diet, that I completely eliminated potassium. As a doctor in the ER told me, "you're doing a great job of managing "down there," but you can't forget about the rest of your body and what it needs."

    I had to have potassium through an IV, which worked but hurt. Thankfully, the ER staff new of my problem and had morphine on hand, just in case I had a flare. I didn't and was released after a battery of heart tests which were "normal."

    So, today, I'm eating baked potatoes and drinking Silk Soy Milk to get potassium into my system. My husband will be going to the store for avacados, whey, and nuts.

    I have to say, that I'm afraid to swallow a potassium supplement. I'm in remission and don't want to have a flare. But, I now understand how important potassium is to the functioning of the heart.

    I'm hoping that others will reply with information about how they get the potassium into their systems and how much is necessary per day.

    Thank you, Julie, for posting this important information. I wish I'd read your thread last week. But, I'm fine. Lesson learned.

    Emily

    Comment


    • #3
      Potassium/soy milk?

      Hi Emily! I am so glad you are ok! I really appreciate you sharing your personal story....I am sure it will help many people who read it.

      I AM concerned about your comment that you are drinking soy milk. Soy is generally not well tolerated by IC patients. If you are ok with it, that is great, but I wanted to mention this right away in case someone reads this and thinks soy is "bladder friendly." It definitely is not for most IC patients.

      Again, I am very glad you are doing well. I am glad the lesson learned didn't cause any damage.....

      Sending you gentle hugs.........

      Julie B
      Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
      IC Dietitian, Patient Advocate, Speaker, & Author


      Did you know that up to 94% of interstitial cystitis patients find some symptom relief when they change their diet, and that dietary modification is recommended as a first line treatment for IC? Check out the IC Food List to get started!

      Do you need a little more help understanding the IC Diet? Schedule a phone or video coaching session through the ICN Store today.

      You can also learn more while supporting the ICN message boards by clicking on these book covers and buying the Confident Choices books from the ICN Store:

      ........ ........


      Other IC Diet Resources:

      IC Diet Webinar
      IC Diet Website
      For Health Professionals: Continuing Education About Interstitial Cystitis and Diet
      Free IC Diet Booklet: What Can I Eat?
      Confident Choices IC Diet Blog
      IC Diet Newsletter


      *Let's Connect!*

      Comment


      • #4
        Lesson Learned is Right!

        Thank you, Julie, for responding to my post!

        I do hope that other IC patients read this thread. It is so important to add potassium to your diet. I had noticed that anything containing potassium was followed by a flare. So, in my effort to continue the longest remission I had had - well, the very word, "potassium," could set-off an anxiety attack!

        Last night, I ate a white potato, and a half of avacado, and soy milk, the rest of which I poured down the sink, after learning that soy might be a trigger.

        This morning, I ate another potato and 1/4 of a banana.

        I'm seeing my primary care, today, who is going to do another EKG, just to check.

        Thank you, Julie, for volunteering your services to all of us who are trying to manage IC!

        Delicate hugs accepted and right back at ya!

        Emy

        Comment


        • #5
          You are entirely welcome, Emy and Briza!
          Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
          IC Dietitian, Patient Advocate, Speaker, & Author


          Did you know that up to 94% of interstitial cystitis patients find some symptom relief when they change their diet, and that dietary modification is recommended as a first line treatment for IC? Check out the IC Food List to get started!

          Do you need a little more help understanding the IC Diet? Schedule a phone or video coaching session through the ICN Store today.

          You can also learn more while supporting the ICN message boards by clicking on these book covers and buying the Confident Choices books from the ICN Store:

          ........ ........


          Other IC Diet Resources:

          IC Diet Webinar
          IC Diet Website
          For Health Professionals: Continuing Education About Interstitial Cystitis and Diet
          Free IC Diet Booklet: What Can I Eat?
          Confident Choices IC Diet Blog
          IC Diet Newsletter


          *Let's Connect!*

          Comment


          • #6
            How long after you try foods will you notice a reaction? Can we have yams and sweet potatoes? I found white sweet potatoes are they okay?

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,
              Since my experience in the ER this past weekend, I've been reading about potassium. Where is it and how much do I need, each day. I found that bananas don't cause a flare for me. Neither do white potatoes or yams (sweet potatoes). I'm still searching for other foods that will give me more potassium, without triggering a flare.

              I don't want a repeat of my "heart" scare and will continue to search the web for answers.

              Oh, I know that you have to eat the skin of the potatoes, in order to get all of the potassium.

              I only try one new food at a time. Potatoes were working for me, but I couldn't eat enough of them. I'm so glad that bananas work for me. You might want to try them, yourself, to see if you can eat them, too. So nice to have another kind of taste!

              Hoping others will post about how they get adequate potassium in their diets, without triggering a flare.

              Best,
              Emy

              Comment


              • #8
                Time it takes to flare...

                Well, I had a health scare that meant blood tests, came back low potassium. I was not surprised, but my doc got me worried, so I started eating bananas, spinach and more broccoli, in addition to an electrolite beverage. I sometimes cheat with these things once in a while and am fine.

                Well, 3 weeks into my "ramp up the vitamins" diet my pain skyrocketed. I couldn't sleep at night. I went through all my Vicodin, which I never do. I have been having increased pain for about a month and am ready to stop eating "well".

                I suppose I will try potatoes, but I really don't like potatoes very much unless they're covered in all kinds of calories.

                Until then, I will refill my Ketamine cream.

                Comment


                • #9
                  How are you doing now, Wermfud?

                  You may have had too much potassium. I do well just taking a potassium supplement one time a day. Bananas don't bother me, so they are a staple as well. I try not to go overboard.

                  I hope you are feeling better now, a couple of weeks later!
                  Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
                  IC Dietitian, Patient Advocate, Speaker, & Author


                  Did you know that up to 94% of interstitial cystitis patients find some symptom relief when they change their diet, and that dietary modification is recommended as a first line treatment for IC? Check out the IC Food List to get started!

                  Do you need a little more help understanding the IC Diet? Schedule a phone or video coaching session through the ICN Store today.

                  You can also learn more while supporting the ICN message boards by clicking on these book covers and buying the Confident Choices books from the ICN Store:

                  ........ ........


                  Other IC Diet Resources:

                  IC Diet Webinar
                  IC Diet Website
                  For Health Professionals: Continuing Education About Interstitial Cystitis and Diet
                  Free IC Diet Booklet: What Can I Eat?
                  Confident Choices IC Diet Blog
                  IC Diet Newsletter


                  *Let's Connect!*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, this has got me thinking. But, I'm a bit confused. I ate an avocado last Saturday and had terrible frequency afterward. Then I read that an avocado has more potassium than a medium banana and thought that was why I had such a terrible reaction.

                    But, I eat potatoes all the time.

                    So, maybe the avocado wasn't the culprit? I'm afraid to experiment again. And I miss bananas like crazy! Haven't had one since I was diagnosed 4 months ago.
                    My current regimen:
                    Dancing, Laughing, Petting Emily and Louise - my shihtzus

                    Tried and gave up on:
                    Diazepam
                    PFD
                    Warm Baths
                    Millions of supplements
                    Elmiron instillations - did 5 weekly instills and did not help. Gave up.
                    Oxytrol patch - no consistent relief after 3 weeks and very expensive
                    Sanctura XR - tried for 6 weeks with no consistent relief
                    Imipramine - tried for a week, but started to have a "hesitant" void - kind of twitchy.
                    PTNS - doctor's office was disorganized, appts took hours and gave up after 4 treatments
                    Vaginal valium suppositories - not as effective as taking valium orally
                    Cystoprotek - ridiculously overpriced - taking same supplements from CVS
                    Elmiron - 100mg in the morn, 200mg in the late afternoon - no results after 1 year
                    Elavil - 25 mg at night- no consistent relief and 5 extra pounds
                    IV Vitamin C - the only person with an allergic reaction to Vitamin C drips
                    Hormones

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm glad I found this thread. I had read that potassium could cause problems, and being in pain I didn't wan't to aggravate it by consuming potassium foods.

                      However, I had an incident when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had went into pre-term labor, and one of the things they told me was that my potassium level had dropped dangerously low, and they had me drinking orange juice all night in the ER.

                      I know bananas are rich in potassium, so they've been a staple of my diet for a long time.

                      I don't know how many milligrams your supposed to have daily for an adequate potassium level, but I've been eating 1/2 to a whole banana most days.

                      I didn't know about avocados though, I like them alot and they are high in MUFA's (Monounstaurated Fatty Acids) which are good for you.

                      More expensive than bananas though.

                      Cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        so do bananas cause frequency? I eat them all the time, they were my main staple after my celiac diagnosis and they were the only thing I could eat without getting nausea.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yep, i know the body needs potassium, and I wonder what type of damage is going on in my body.

                          My IC symptoms started when I was pregnant with my daughter and I was put on potassium supplements because I was 36 years old at the time.

                          Every time i took the potassium i was sooo miserable.

                          Today about the only thing I can tolerate with some potassium are a few bites of potatoes.

                          My doctor doesnt seem to be concerned with this.

                          If I cannot tolerate potassium what do I do?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Potassium Deficiency: Effects of Low Potassium

                            Right from diarrhea to hypertension, the effects of low potassium on our body exist in plenty. In fact, potassium deficiency (or hypokalemia - that it is known as in the field of medicine) can turn out to be fatal at times, and therefore it is very important to monitor potassium levels in the body, and replenish it if found to be deficient.







                            Enlarge Image
                            Potassium is a mineral that helps us feel and be healthy every day. While most of the potassium in our body is found within the body cells, very small quantity, approximately 2-3 percent of the total potassium content in the body, of this mineral is found outside the cells. Potassium is required by our body for smooth muscular and cellular functioning, cardiovascular functioning, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, for the conversion of glucose into glycogen and muscle building, etc.

                            It is called 'natural diuretic' as it easily gets absorbed by our body and almost 85-90 percent of it is excreted from our bowels and kidneys (urine). Because of its alkaline property, it is a very important mineral which helps our body system maintain pH levels and also to maintain proper level of water inside the body. The most important functions of potassium in the human body are to keep blood pressure under control and help in intracellular nutrient transfer. It also helps in keeping acne, various allergies, fatigue, kidney stones, etc., at bay.

                            Potassium is necessary to monitor and regulate aldosterone hormone found in human body. It also plays the important role of a catalyst for many types of enzymes inside the human body, in other words; it helps in spawning many important chemical reactions inside the human body. It is also believed to help in improving ATP hydrolysis. With so many important body functions to its credit, potassium is no doubt important for our overall health, such that if it is not present in sufficient amount it can hamper these body functions and result in adverse effects on our health.

                            What is Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia)?
                            A medical condition in which our body fails to retain the amount of potassium required for its day-to-day functioning is called potassium deficiency or hypokalemia. This deficiency of potassium in body can be fatal considering it has a crucial role to play in various body functions - all of which are bound to be affected by the lack of this mineral in the body. While blood potassium level in the range of 3.6 to 5.2 mmol/L (millimoles per liter) is considered normal, potassium level below 2.5 mmol/L is considered low and requires prompt medical attention.

                            What are the Causes of Hypokalemia?
                            A person is most likely to suffer from potassium deficiency due to excessive excretion of potassium or due to low potassium intake - both of which, in turn, are attributed to various factors coming into play. Most prominent causes of potassium deficiency in people are: •Lack of potassium rich foods in the daily diet, i.e. insufficient potassium consumption.
                            •Excess potassium excretion through bowel motions or urine.
                            •Losing potassium as a result of vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating.
                            •Use of medication which can interfere and bring down the potassium levels in the body.
                            •Excessive use of diuretics and laxatives.
                            •Health problems such as diabetic ketoacidosis or chronic kidney failure.
                            •Hereditary defects of renal salt transporters, such as the Gitelman syndrome and the Bartter syndrome
                            Low Potassium Effects on the Body
                            The effects of hypokalemia on the body range from very mild to severe. While a person suffering from simple/harmless/primary-staged hypokalemia may not experiencing anything unusual with the functioning of various organs initially, its effects are bound to get obvious with the severity of the condition. You will get to see the effects of low potassium levels in the body in form of following symptoms:
                            •Myalgia (muscle pain), muscular weakness and cramps.
                            •Cardiac arrhythmia i.e. abnormal rate of muscle contractions in the heart.
                            •Unexplained fatigue and weakness
                            •Hyponatremia, which may or may not be accompanied by anxiety.
                            •Impairs nerve transmission and deteriorated nervous system, which, in turn, results in confusion and delirium.
                            •Skin related problems such as blistering, skin eruptions, dryness of skin, acne, etc.
                            •Temporary memory loss or other problems like weak memory, difficulty in concentration, etc.
                            •Sleeplessness and irritability
                            •Intestinal or lung paralysis
                            •Heart related problems, such as heart deterioration.
                            •Increase the risk of high blood pressure
                            •Ringing noise in the ear at times
                            Digestive system may also get affected due to potassium deficiency, thus leading to hypertension, chronic sleeplessness, depression, constipation, headache, etc. Critically low levels of potassium are known to result in life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia, and that makes it all the more important to keep an eye for the potassium level in the body.

                            Treatments Available for Hypokalemia
                            The treatment of Hypokalemia usually revolves around the treatment of its symptoms. If a person is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, then he/she is treated for the underlying problem so as to stop/regulate potassium loss from his/her body. At the same time, the physician may also prescribe medication to improve potassium levels in the body. The patient is generally asked to take balanced diet for days in order to restore the physical health pertaining to potassium level and its role in metabolism. Basically, the physician will spell out the treatment plan to be followed only after taking the severity of the problem into consideration.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just a thought for all of you who don't like/can't tolerate bananas (like me!). Try baby food bananas.

                              I have ongoing potassium issues (due to my diet but also from having chronic diarrhea). I've had too many IV potassium drips to mention. I've been fortunate that the IV and the pill supplement potassium does not bother my IC. However I struggle to keep it high enough, so I've added the baby food bananas to my diet and I really like them! I also started using a special salt that is half salt, half potassium.
                              Conditions:
                              IBS 4/04; IC 8/05; Vitamin B-12 Deficiency 7/06; Asthma 9/06; Citrus, MSG, Sulfate/Sulfite, Nitrate/Nitrite, Sodium Benzoate Allergy diagnosed 9/06; Fibromyalgia 6/07; Pelvic Floor disfunction 2007; Hysterectomy 10/08; Fallopian Tube Cyst removed 5/10; Chronic Diarrhea since 12/10 ; Ulcerative Colitis 4/12

                              Medications
                              Elmiron 3x day
                              Trazadone at bedtime
                              Tramadol as needed for pain
                              Monthly B-12 injections
                              Continuous Birth Control (even though I had a hyst, to control cysts)
                              heating pad, hot epsom salt baths, strict IC diet
                              Interstim implant 9/11
                              Ulcerative Colitis Meds - Remicade, Azathioprine, Lialda, prednisone several times a year

                              Failed Bladder Treatments
                              Lyrica, Elavil, Detrol, Detrol LA, Ditropan, Sanctura, Flomax, Prelief, Pyridium & Urelle (allergic!), Lidoderm patches, long term antibiotics - Macrobid and others, instillations (ouch!), CystaQ, pelvic floor therapy, fulguration, bladder injections, bladder stretching

                              Comment

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