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Bladder Pain & Diet

Posted Oct 09 2008 12:00am
I recently came across a press release from Northwestern University -- via this really cool automated science search engine, e! Science News -- about research that suggests that the pain of interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) could be due to an irritated colon.

The way the press release is phrased, it sounds like the researchers concluded that ALL pain associated with interstitial cystitis comes from the colon. I don't know how that can be true if, under close examination, the IC bladder often reveals that it has open wounds in its wall. It seems like in many cases for at least part of the pain, the bladder itself must be involved.

Anyway, I've been wondering for a while if some of my pain couldn't be directly related to how happy my gut is --not only how gluten-free I'm eating, but how at ease things are down there. It's one of those things I wouldn't consider if I didn't live inside my body doing that unwritten chart we all do over time of our lives versus our pain.

The times when I've felt best down netherly -- my two biggies being very low moment-to-moment pain and easy peeing with pain only at the beginning -- are the times when I've stuck to a diet that averaged out to the following: eggs and red-potato hash browns, fish and steamed zucchini, an extra fruit or veggie or two, peanut butter (perhaps melted with some pure maple syrup), orange juice. Maybe it changed around a little bit, but that was the core "idea" of the diet (though "idea" makes it sound intentional when really it was the result of elimination and not wanting to cook much).

So now that I've read about NU's study, I really have to wonder if that diet didn't make me feel so much better because it was easy on my gut. It doesn't include a lot of fiber (I'd need some rice or beans), but it looks pretty gut-soothing overall. I used salt and black pepper but no other spices. Lemon on the fish.

I also have to wonder if the IC diet doesn't help people not because it doesn't harm their bladders, but because it soothes their colons. I mean, no coffee, soda, spices -- wouldn't we all feel better? So I'm thinking maybe I should follow the IC diet for a while -- or at least a little of it -- to see if I notice a change. As I said before, I'm still not sure where the IC/vulvodynia line falls, at least in my body, and maybe my bladder needs some help.

The IC diet includes a list of forbidden foods on which is my favorite food in the whole world: orange juice. I'm doubtful that giving up my OJ will make my pain improve, but I guess I'll try. After this jug is through, I'll switch to juicing pears for a while (not a bad alternative).

The next hardest thing for me to eliminate will be spices. Oh man, I love spicy things. Is black pepper a spicy thing? Because it's my second favorite food, and without it I resort to peanut butter for love. Which, though I don't see it, is probably another IC no-no.

So, yeah, on to the land of simplicity. I'll call it that instead of denial. My parents are out of town; when they get back, I'm going to ask my dad to help me find OTHER THINGS to eat so I don't fall asleep at my plate. (Though confession: I could eat eggs & potatoes every, every, every day and not care.)
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