As I’ve said before in my reviews to educate the passive reader, Interstitial cystitis is a chronic and debilitating disease of the urinary tract and bladder that affects approximately one million people. It may not be just one singular illness but one incorporating many different illnesses. There is an inflamed and irritated bladder wall that leads to many bladder symptoms. The bladder wall of an IC patient will have stiffening and scarring of the bladder, less bladder capacity as a result of the scarring, small pinpoint bleeding on the bladder (glomerulations) and ulcers in the bladder lining (Hunner’s ulcers). 5-10% of IC sufferers will have Hunner’s ulcers, the rest have a non-Hunner’s type. So much isn’t known about the illness, even though it has been around for a while now.
Most IC patients are put on a battery of medications and self help strategies. The #1 key factor in symptom management always seems to be diet. It is the main focus of books, and gets the most page views and emails in many of the interstitial cystitis web pages. Everyone with IC seems to want to know more about how diet affects them and how they can get the diet to customize to them. One book, Confident Choices : Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet, seems to answer that call. I was impressed at the ease of the language, talking to the lay person in simple terms and attitude. The recipes recreated in the book were both simple to make and delicious upon fixing them to sample. I found that they did indeed work for me and did not cause me to “flare” (becoming symptomatic).
Julie Beyer is a registered dietitian and health educator that became diligent about the IC diet when she was diagnosed with the disease. Throughout her exchanges with other ICer’s, she became acutely aware of what is important to the average IC patient and focused on how to customize the standard elimination diet that so many of interstitial cystitis patients need. At 15 chapters, this book is filled with not only recipes and explanation of the diet, but with worksheets and questions for the patient as well. With it in a convenient spiral bound binding, you can theoretically undo the book and copy the worksheet pages over and over again to use with your doctor or specialist. It is a very helpful book that I found to be an enjoyable read while learning more about the diet than I knew prior to opening the pages.
I asked Ms. Beyer one question years ago:
Are there foods that can help with incontinence and urgency?
Beyer: It is my experience with patients that some foods can trigger non-IC related urgency and frequency in susceptible people. Many people are successful in determining their individual trigger foods by using an elimination diet technique. You can find the process in Confident Choices : Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet. You will most certainly want to avoid caffeinated products. Avoiding preservatives and artificial flavors and colors may help also. Incontinence and urgency of urination should always be discussed with your physician to rule out organic causes such as cancer.
For More Information:
Confident Choices : Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet
By Julie Beyer, RD
NutraConsults ©2005 ISBN 0-9767246-0-X