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Possible Causes Of Interstitial Cystitis Pain

Updated on February 1, 2018


Certain foods may affect Interstitial Cystitis symptoms. These foods are usually acidic or spicy foods, such as tomatoes, oranges or hot peppers. If you make a food diary of all the foods you eat in a week, you can look back and see which days you had flare ups. Avoiding certain foods or taking over the counter supplements that reduce the acid in foods would be helpful for preventing urinary or bladder pain.

Toilet Tissue

I have Interstitial Cystitis and had never realized that the toilet paper I was using was making my symptoms worse. It wasn't until I had switched brands of toilet paper due to a coupon, that I noticed the IC pain was not as bad. Some toilet tissue have dyes or perfumes in the ingredients that may irritate the urinary tract even more. You might want to experiment with different brands and types of toilet paper to see if they may affect you. I recommend a regular white toilet tissue with no dyes or perfumes.

Laundry Detergent

Some dyes and perfumes in laundry detergent may be irritating to people with sensitive skin. These laundry detergents might also affect IC by causing irritation to the already sensitive urinary tract. You may want to try switching to a detergent that has no added perfumes or dyes and see if this helps prevent some of your IC symptoms.


Stress may affect all different parts of your body in many ways. When I am very stressed out, I notice that I will get an IC flare up during that stressful time. You could try reducing stress by meditation, soft music, massage or talking to someone about it. Anything that can lower your stress levels in a healthy and safe way, would be a good idea to help avoid a flare up.

Sexual Intercourse

The friction from sexual intercourse might be bothersome for people with Interstitial Cystitis. Sex can cause tears in the skin and a burning, stinging feeling might follow after intercourse. Try using a water based or natural lubricant to make sure that you are not too dry. Being too dry may cause even more irritation during sex. Also, if you use condoms, try switching to a natural condom brand. You can try experimenting with different brands and types of condoms and lubricants to see which works best for you.

Bubble Baths

I used to take bubble baths and after the bath, I would notice burning urinary pain. While a bubble bath can be a relaxing experience, it might also irritate the bladder and symptoms of IC. Be careful when using scented bubbles or bath gels as they may be irritating to the urinary tract.

Long Car Rides

If you like to travel, you might notice that IC symptoms starting flare up while you are on the road. Sitting for long periods of time in a car, especially on a bumpy road, might irritate your bladder. Take some breaks while in the car or make sure to stop at restrooms along the way to empty your bladder.

Holding In Urine

Do you hold your urine in for long periods of time throughout the day? Holding in the urine may cause even more pain when you try to urinate. Try emptying your bladder frequently during the day, if you can.


If you are dehydrated, you might notice that your IC seems to flare up more. Try drinking enough water or other IC friendly beverages throughout the day to flush out the painful burning urine. Drinking soda or other sugary beverages may make the pain worse.


This is not medical advice, I am not a doctor. However, I do have Interstitial Cystitis and have experienced some or all of these issues. Also, I have done extensive research on IC because I want to learn more about treating and preventing the symptoms. Hopefully I can help others who are suffering from this painful bladder condition.


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