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Debunking IC Myths

Debunking IC Myths

By Joana Bartlett

Holistic Nutritionist, IC Warrior

Along my own and my clients’ journeys with Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome, I’ve learned how many myths are spread around which makes having the condition feel even more daunting than it already is. As a Holistic Nutritionist and long-term sufferer of IC (although thankfully symptom-free now), I want to bring some solid facts to you.

BUSTING myths and giving you some confidence back! 

Myth #1: Always avoid acidic food

acidic foods

NO! You cannot restrict foods from your diet when you’re not aware of whether or not they cause issues. Some people are okay with some acidic food. The theory here is that acidic food will make the urine more acidic causing more pain, which is logical. HOWEVER, it is key to determine your own individual dietary triggers or you’ll live a life of severe restriction. Some will find they have pain with more acidic food, but it’s important to understand your own body. 

Myth #2: IC only affects the bladder


I will continue to scream this from the rooftops: IC affects or is affected by SO many other parts of the body including the brain, the nervous system, the urethra, the lower back, the pelvic/perineal area, the gut, the abdomen and the list goes on. At one stage, I had nerve pain travelling down to my ankle.

Myth #3: The IC diet triggers affect everyone

No, no, no, and also no. It is estimated that around 90% of people diagnosed with IC do suffer from some kind of dietary trigger, but very few will have a flare from every single item on the IC diet list. If we’re triggered by food at all, it will be different and the best thing we can do is conduct a proper elimination diet to figure out exactly what’s causing flares. It’s also crucial to remember that there are so many other things outside of food which can cause flares. 

Myth #4: Invasive procedures are the only way forward

Invasive procedures should be the final option after everything else has been exhausted. First thing’s first–it’s important to understand the cause of your symptoms, For example, is it hormones, gut, nervous system dysfunction, bladder wall damage, pelvic floor dysfunction?

Myth #5: IC only affects women

Interstitial Cystitis

IC actually affects both women AND men. It is estimated that between 1 and 4 millions men suffer from IC, but it is believed that there are many more as men may get mistakenly diagnosed with other conditions such as chronic prostatitis. 

Myth #6: Food is the main component to affect IC

There are so many other things that can affect IC symptoms. 

Do you get a flare consistently at the same time every month (on your period, during ovulation, etc)? Did your symptoms start later in life during the perimenopausal years or post menopausal years?

Do you get a flare whenever you have an irritable bowel?

Do you notice you have recurring vaginal infections (bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections) which you flare throughout?

Do you flare when you’re stressed or anxious?

Do you have constant pain which nobody really understands after some pelvic injury or recurring UTIs?

Do you also have endometriosis?  

Have you had a traumatic pelvic floor injury or childbirth?

Do your symptoms get brought on by sex? 

These are all things that can affect IC symptoms which are completely unrelated to food. This could be why you’re able to eat blueberries one week, but not the next, or you’re able to tolerate an alcoholic drink one Friday night but not two weeks later. This is why it’s so important to look at the whole body and not individual systems! 

So what can be done to get clarity? 

After I got diagnosed, I focused on getting all the relevant information and accessing countless specialists. It felt like an impossible mountain to climb, like I was trying to live with constant pain but constantly trying to get more information to get out of pain. It consumed my life, and my finances because I went to so many consultations with specialists and spent a ton on the latest supplements.

This is why I put together The IC Retreat. It’s everything I needed when I was stuck in confusion and overwhelm.

The IC Retreat is a one-of-a-kind, interactive, virtual event where you can learn live from industry specialists, ask them questions and connect with others in the IC community. AT A BARE MINIMUM, you can expect to walk away from this event with a better understanding of what could be driving your IC symptoms and pain, and the tools and information to help reduce them. 

The event spans over 3 days (Sept 16/17/18) and includes OVER 15 hours of IC-focused sessions from intimacy with pelvic pain and breath work to urogynecology and hormones.

It combines modern medicine with alternative healing modalities so that you can get a complete view of IC symptom relief in one place over just one weekend.  

Register here and enter JOANA10 upon checkout for a discount!

IC Retreat