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Been having chronic bladder inflammation. Severe urine frequency. Was on strict vegan diet. What can fix the problem?

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I've been having chronic bladder inflammation for almost two years now—severe frequency to urinate. After 6 months of having this problem, I went to the doctor and they told me it was NOT a cystoscopy on me, and said there was SEVERE bladder inflammation. I had been on a strict vegan diet for 6-8 months BEFORE this had happened/before I had this bladder symptom. I started eating meat and fish again (ate more of a paleo diet) and the symptoms seemed to go away. The only symptom I have been experiencing is frequency of urination—having to use the bathroom a LOT. Nothing else. I couldn't maintain the paleo diet (eating almost all meat) I was eating, but I am still eating meat and fish and I eat a VERY varied, relatively healthy diet (with lots of fruits and vegetables still). The symptom of the chronic bladder inflammation comes back every now and then—sometimes, I will have to use the bathroom a LOT and sometimes not as much. I do not know what to do to fix this problem, but I am willing to try anything. Please help! THANK YOU.
Posted Sun, 24 Jun 2012 in Men's Health
Answered by Dr. V. Sasanka 4 hours later
There is a significant possibility that you are suffering from what we call 'Interstitial cystitis' or more recently - 'Painful Bladder Syndrome'.
The disease is associated with symptoms of increased urinary frequency, often but not always associated with pain and urgency of urination. There is usually no infection, and repeated urine cultures come negative. There is no tumour or tuberculosis.
It is more common among young adult females such as yourself. Cystoscopy shows features of chronic inflammation such as seen by your urologist - we call it "Hunner's ulcer".
Treatment involves reassurance, lifestyle modifications to prevent inciting factors (e.g.tea, alcohol, spicy diet). Drugs like Potaba could help, but you will require a prescription for this. We have tried (and have found it successful) bladder over-distension under general anaesthesia, but it gives temporary relief and might need to be repeated.
I doubt if a vegan diet is a cause, but if you are not comfortable with it, you can probably discontinue.
The disease not being uncommon, there are several people who have come together online for mutual support, and I suppose you might derive benefit from interacting with them to see what makes other patients more comfortable.
Hope this has been useful.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Been having chronic bladder inflammation. Severe urine frequency. Was on strict vegan diet. What can fix the problem? 12 hours later
Thank you Dr. Sasanka. I have looked up IC before and tried many things as recommended but nothing has worked long-term.

I know there is a LOT of information/advice online, but if you could offer any advice of your own that you think might work, I would GREATLY appreciate it!

My doctor did put me on prescription drugs before, but none of those helped. I would prefer to try any alternative treatments rather than any other prescription drugs.

Would you recommend any of the following:
1. Any alternative treatment?
2. Acupuncture, acupressure, or something like that?
3. Any supplements I could take?
4. Any foods I should absolutely avoid?
5. Any food or drinks I should take that might help?

I read somewhere that these diets might help. Would you recommend either of these?
1. A "Low-Oxalate" Diet
2. An "Anti-yeast" Diet

Any other diet I should try?

I am willing to try out anything. I have tried so many things at this point though that I am not sure where to start right now, so I could really use your opinion. :)

Thank you so much Dr. Sasanka!

Answered by Dr. V. Sasanka 2 hours later
Hi again,
The good thing about your particular symptoms is that you seem to have not much pain.
I do advice patients (and in fact several other urologists also do) to see if they can train the bladder to hold urine just that bit longer. It is easy for us to suggest, I do agree, but I feel that if you can hold your urine till a count of a few minutes at least before rushing to the toilet (initially even a 2 minute gain should make us happy), you will have succeeded. You can maintain this for about one week, then be slightly more ambitious, and see if you can hold for 4 minutes, and the week after that maybe 6 minutes.
You can probably try and maintain what we call a intake-output voiding diary - a list of foods you have taken through the day, including liquids, and at what time, and in what quantity and also at what times have you had to void urine, and the approximate quantities. If say on an average before you have consulted a urologist and have started to follow their advice, you were voiding 10-12 times in a day, and about 150-175 ml per void, maintaining a diary like this will enable you to see if there has been an improvement, and if you find that you are now able to cope with a bladder capacity of over 200ml and are voiding less than 10 times /24hours, you know that you are on the road to recovery.
You asked me about alternative therapy, and surprisingly I have found fair to good results with Yoga. You might need a trained instructor but I think it will be worthwhile in the long run.
I am afraid I have no experience with an anti-yeast diet. A low oxalate diet is difficult to maintain, more advisable in patients with kidney stones, and in your case probably not very useful.
Tea and coffee and alcohol might be better avoided. A spicy diet is also a no-no.
Acupressure or Acupuncture - Well, Again not much of experience but they have worked in several other intractable cases elsewhere so i guess no harm in trying, especially considering that you seem to prefer prescription drugs as much as possible.
Let me know how you are progressing.
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