Here’s how you can make detecting your individual food sensitivities a little easier. The steps below outline an elimination diet, followed by a period of gradual reintroduction of potential food triggers. It may pose a short-term hassle but you’ll find it’s worth the effort. This process should help you decide what foods to avoid and what foods you can continue to enjoy.
1. Elimination phase For a period of two weeks, eat only foods identified above as Okay unless you already know that one of these foods causes you bladder or pelvic pain.
2. At the same time, keep a food and symptom diary. Record everything you eat, amounts eaten and what time you ate the food or meal. Document any symptoms, the time of day you started to feel the symptom, and the duration of time you felt the symptom. You might want to grade your symptoms: 1 = mild, 2 = moderate, 3 = severe.
3. Challenge phase After two weeks, start introducing foods from the Avoid section. Do this gradually, introducing them one at a time. I recommend the following procedure for testing foods:
Elimination/Challenge Diet Interstitial Cystitis Photo Gallery
Day 1: Introduce the food in the morning, at or after breakfast. If you do not experience symptoms, try it again in the afternoon or with dinner.
Day 2: Do not eat any of the test food. Follow your elimination diet, eating only foods considered okay. If you do not experience a reaction on this day, the food is considered safe and can be included in your diet.
Day 3: If no symptoms occurred, try the next food on your list, according to the above schedule.
You may find that you can tolerate some foods if you eat them once every few days, but not if they are consumed every day. You may also learn that some troublesome foods are better tolerated if eaten in small portions. The good news is you don’t have to completely eliminate all problematic foods from your diet, especially if you enjoy them.
Some women with IC have food allergies that contribute to their symptoms. Allergies to wheat, corn, rye, oats and barley are common. If you suspect you have a food allergy, speak to your family doctor about allergy testing. Of course, the elimination diet outlined above will also help you determine allergenic foods.
Determining what foods you need to stay away from can take time. I recommend you consult a registered dietitian in your community. Visit www.eatright.org to find a nutritionist in private practice who can work with you to plan a healthy diet for your condition.