I don't know if you all know, but for the last few years something extraordinary and historical has been happening in the interstitial cystitis world. For decades, IC patients have been telling their doctors that what they ate affected their painful bladder symptoms. Of course, in this age of "evidence based medicine" without evidence, the physicians and registered dietitian nutritionists resisted embracing the concept.
But, just because there isn't evidence, doesn't meant something isn't true! After a series of informal internet surveys showed an undeniable connection between certain foods and interstitial cystitis symptoms, Dr. Robert Moldwin and Dr. Barbara Shorter (a registered dietitian nutritionist) published a study that proved what patients had been telling us all along….that diet makes a difference for IC patients.
With that foundation, experts on IC and diet including myself, Jill Osborne founder of the Interstitial Cystitis Network, Barbara Gordon of the Interstitial Cystitis Association, Beverley Laumann (author of Taste of the Good Life), and researcher Barbara Shorter formed a task force in 2009 to create the first standardized IC dietary recommendations. IC Food List
My friends, without going into detail, trust me, this was HUGE!
One of our umbrella goals in standardizing the IC diet list was to bring together the historical and anecdotal evidence with the emerging research. We needed a "pure" IC diet protocol to gain acceptance of American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA). In order to do that, we made sure the list only reflects interstitial cystitis and not the co-morbid conditions like IBS, vulvodynia, candida, etc. Don't worry, we know that most IC patients have one or more of these conditions. Now, however, patients can safely follow the IC list and combine it with whatever their other conditions are rather than throw it all together in one pot.
The best news yet? AUA is publishing the first US treatment protocols for IC later this year and DIET is recommended among other lifestyle changes as one of the first line treatments for patients!
Where do we go from here?
Well, the Moldwin and Shorter research is sure to fuel more research. Let's pray for it anyway! And now we can EDUCATE more dietitians and other medical professionals about IC with much more confidence….
Oh, and I have to rewrite my interstitial cystitis books to reflect that new information. Stay tuned!
For more information about the history of IC, or if you are a medical professional who wants to learn more about IC and diet see Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators.
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate
For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.
For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder
For health care workers: Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators
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