Confused about what foods cause flares?

Posted , 3 users are following.

So I haven't clinically been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, however my GP is confident I have it. I am seeing a urogynecologist this Thursday for further analysis but in the mean time I thought it would be wise to explore diet options.

I just have a question for those of you that are experienced with this.

First of all, I'm a big fan of mcDonald's coke (don't ask why, also this is just an example of a food that does the following...) and in the past, even with uti's it has never caused me any issues at all. Ever. But suddenly 2 hours after drinking it yesterday I had a massive flare up that was very painful. As I said, I've had it in the past and its never caused issues like this.

is it possible that some foods may cause flare ups sometimes but not all the time? is it possible that some flare ups happen for a reason other than food and stress?  

Don't get me wrong, I'll give foods like that up if I have too. I am just curious as to how it can sometimes work.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Danielle, in my own experience, yes, sometimes i can get away with eaten certain things if I’m having a good painfree time. The problem is knowing when it’s safe and when it isn’t! For example I can get away with decaf coffee sometimes but not at others, whereas orange juice is always a no-no! I don’t have a problem with tomatoes but I know a lot do.  Any carbonated drinks whether they contain caffeine or not, will give me problems. It’s a big learning curve I’m afraid but definitely worth persevering as changing my diet has had the biggest effect on my symptoms - better than any drugs I’ve tried.  If it were me I wouldn’t touch the coke - I’d probably have a milkshake instead... milk is calming to the bladder but I’m not sure what other ingredients are in the Mac ones.  There is an app you can download giving a handy list of foods that are known to be bladder friendly and those that are not but we are all different - a case of trial and hopefully, not too many errors! I Wish you well!
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    • Posted

      Hi Shrley thank you very much for your input. I'm glad to know that there can be days where you're symptom free enough to feel like you can live a normal life.

      I have a question for you about sex if you don't feel comfortable answering it I totally understand.

      Sex doesn't hurt for me, in fact it is quite enjoyable.

      However, A bad flare occurred 24 hours after sex on Tuesday, and another one 48 hours after sex on Friday. I'm wondering if this means sex is a trigger or if its possible something else is causing them. Keeping in mind the flare I had 48 hours after sex I had consumed a significant amount of ...not so healthy food.

      What is your opinion on this?

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    • Posted

      I would guess it’s what you ate not what you did lol! Sex can be painful for a lot of IC sufferers but if you’re normally ok then you’re probably one of the lucky ones! Also if it didn’t come on until 48 hrs later, in my opinion (and we’re all different) this would indicate that the food was the problem :-)
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    • Posted

      Hi Shirley, 

      Yeah I think it definitely was the food as I had Nandos chicken and the base had spicy ingredients so I'm honestly not shocked. I had mcdonalds yesterday and still no flare and no issues. I'm going to the bathroom normally, well actually every 1.5-2 hours because I'm drinking nearly 4L a day (I've been told its normal with the amount im drinking). Its been three days and still no flare. I'm also still taking ural smile 

      Hopefully I'll get good news tomorrow at my specialist appointment. I doubt its anything other than interstitial cystitis but still hoping! thank you!

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  • Posted

    Hi Danielle, 

    I'm in the same boat as you in that I have not had a definitive IC diagnosis. That is because docs normally do a process of elimination and then tell you it’s probably IC. Before I left my gyn’s office she gave me a list of foods and bevs to avoid. Attached is a listing for you to look at. Once you get the do’s and don’ts of eating down you will hopefully feel better. Anything acidic is bad as are anything processed or white. Ditto for sugars and junk foods. A whole foods plant based diet is best. The idea is to keep to an alkeline diet as best you can. You’re also supposed to avoid wine and chocolate...not fun but I’ve been known to flare so badly after a glass or two of vino. I only have it on special occasions now. No tomatoes and  green tea is out as are cranberries and coffee (which I cannot seem to give up). Also, drink lots of fresh, filtered water, every hour if you can. And if you aren’t in the throes of a flare consider exercise. Pilates works well for me as do aerobics (if I’m not in terrible pain). Some women even find that pelvic floor therapy helps.  I certainly wish you all the best. Please go to This is the IC foundation site and is a wealth of good info. 


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    • Posted

      Hi Marylh, 

      Yeah my doctor has done a process of elimination, blood tests and ultrasound came up absolutely normal. 

      I've found that cranberry supplements (tablets) haven't triggered anything. 

      I've had coffee in the past couple of weeks and theres been no flare triggered within 24 hours of consumption. 

      I've avoided alcohol. When I had the flare at 3pm Sunday I had had a beer the night before so I'm wondering if that caused it but I don't feel it did because it happened 12 hours later. The beer would have been processed long before that. 

      I drink about 4L a day now since things started getting uncomfortable and taking at least 1 ural a day especially before I eat junk food. 

      I had mcdonalds yesterday and still no flare I've been relatively normal. It makes me wonder if maybe something else is wrong other than interstitial cystitis but theres only one way to find out. I've also been told flares can be absolutely random which kind of sucks 

      Thank you for your input!

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