A common question asked by my interstitial cystitis patients is, “How long from mouth to bladder?” The answer is unfortunately vague. It depends on the person and the food. Some foods, like cranberry juice, will likely cause an IC flare within an hour. Other foods might not cause a reaction in small doses, but you could experience bladder pain or other symptoms when you increase the portion size. Some IC patients will experience an increase in bladder symptoms right before bedtime and others report a day or two lag between eating a food and the development of bladder pain. In most cases, however, if you are going to experience symptoms with a particular food, it will most likely happen within hours.
Keeping an interstitial cystitis food and symptom diary can help you figure out how certain foods affect your IC symptoms. You can download sample diaries at Recipes and Resources.
Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
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 BladderFor health care workers: Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators