Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gluten-Free Diet for Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome

In the past 14 years I have seen many different "interstitial cystitis diets" come and go. In fact, if you do a search online, you will come up with all sorts of "IC diets," most based only on someone's opinion, and not based on research at all. The most recent wave of this is the promotion of using a gluten-free diet. It is being promoted not only for IC but for weight loss and a multitude of inflammatory conditions. The thing to remember is that a gluten-free diet is very challenging to follow. Not only is it hard to find gluten-free foods, but it can be difficult to balance your diet. A gluten-free diet is often higher in fat, simple sugars, and processed carbohydrates like processed rice and potato flours, and can be missing some essential nutrients if the patient is not diligent in replacing them.

I am personally not convinced that going gluten free is necessary for all IC patients. With the thousands of IC patients I have worked with in the past 10+ years, I have not seen this to be an issue unless someone had a documented gluten sensitivity for some other reason.

That being said, if a person wants to try a gluten free diet for a week or two, I don't discourage them. I believe in the patient's intuition and wisdom of their own body. If it works, great...if it doesn't work after a week or two, it probably isn't going to work so it is better to focus on other things.

The bottom line is that going gluten free isn't going to replace getting rid of caffeine, sodas, alcohol, soy, citrus, chocolate, spicy foods, and tomatoes. Those are the documented foods that bother an IC bladder......not toast and Cream of Wheat which many IC patients actually find soothing when they cannot eat other foods.

One of the leading experts in this area is dietitian Shelley Case. Her book, Gluten-Free Diet is now in its fourth edition. If you would like to know her opinion on the matter, you can listen to a recent online interview here.

Have you tried to follow a gluten-free diet? If so what convinced you to try it? Did it help?

Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

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

 **Please SHARE using the links below!**