Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Worst Flaring Agents

This is a list of the worst flaring agents I have encountered so far.  This list is by no means exhaustive or in any particular order and some things are clearly individual, but it has always been helpful for me to know what flares other ICers.  Unless noted, the flaring agents are for both organic and non-organic.  I will be updating this list every so often when I encounter or think of more.  Here we go:

Food and Drinks:

  1. Lemon juice
  2. Carrots 
  3. Anything soy (Tofu, miso, soy oil, soy milk, soy flour, soy lecithin, etc.)
  4. Pepper
  5. Too much table salt (Table salt is very acidic; use sea salt instead)
  6. Mayo
  7. All dressings (Salad dressings, marinade, condiments, dips, anything)
  8. Tomatoes and all tomato products
  9. Citric acid (This is found in all citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, etc., and is found in juices, candy, fruit-flavoured gums, jams, canned foods, some teas, cereals, and is found as an additive in most foods)
  10. Coffee
  11. Yoghurt
  12. Sour cream
  13. Broccoli 
  14. Cabbage
  15. All nuts (Yes, even almonds)
  16. Grapes
  17. Apples
  18. Cantaloupe 
  19. All alcohol
  20. All berries except organic blueberries
  21. Non-organic honeydew melon
  22. Non-organic peppers 
  23. Non-organic cucumbers
  24. Non-organic blueberries
  25. Non-organic red potatoes
  26. Non-organic celery
  27. Non-organic lettuce
  28. Non-organic alfalfa sprouts
  29. Non-organic pears
  30. Non-organic peas
  31. Non-organic cereals
  32. All preservatives (Except calcium propionate --- I can tolerate a small amount of this one with Prelief, only if it is the last ingredient listed, such as in some fresh pita breads)
  33. All additives 
  34. Artificial sweeteners
  35. Artificial flavours
  36. All fruit except organic blueberries, organic honeydew melon, organic pears, and dried or frozen organic mango (All with Prelief, of course)
  37. All fish except tuna
  38. Balsamic vinegar 
  39. Any acid natural additives - citric acid, nitric acid, etc.
  40. All herbs (especially rosemary!) except fresh organic dill
  41. Unfiltered water
  42. Regular milk (Try lactose-free)
  43. Aged cheeses
  44. Cottage cheese --- Yes this is a young cheese, but don't be fooled!  It has citric acid in it!!!
  45. All teas
  46. Maple syrup
  47. Meat
  48. Garlic
  49. Onions
  50. Egg yolks --- But I can eat egg whites
  51. Chocolate (Even organic white chocolate) 
  52. Cream --- Ice cream etc., but don't despair!  I can eat vanilla frozen yoghurt if it doesn't have any troublesome ingredients or additives or preservatives 
  53. Quinoa (This one makes absolutely no sense to me but it flares me instantly)
  54. Beets
  55. Wild blueberries
  56. Anything carbonated 
  57. Pop/soda
  58. All caffeine (Even from green tea)
  59. Anything smoked (Even smoked tuna)
  60. All processed foods
  61. All pre-packaged foods
  62. Most cereals
  63. Most food colouring, especially the different variations of red
  64. All jam
  65. Regular sugar --- Try demerara sugar instead (cane sugar)
  66. All candy


  1. Cold medicine (Advil Cold & Sinus, etc.)
  2. Pantyhose --- Try thigh-high stay-ups
  3. Pants that hit you in the wrong place --- Guess jeans hit me in the right place, thank goodness
  4. Running
  5. Bending over --- Try squatting
  6. Any exercise using your abdominals/pelvic muscles
  7. Sitting in a chair without my seat cushion (Even still, most chairs are not okay with me and lead me to faint from pain)
  8. Taking the bus/train
  9. Lifting/carrying heavy objects
  10. Carrying a backpack 
  11. Pilates
  12. Most supplements, especially multivitamins and/or potassium, ouch!
  13. Tight underwear/tight pants
  14. Spandex
  15. Sleeping without a pillow between the knees
  16. Sitting on a bike (Exercise bike, motorcycle, regular bike, etc.)
  17. Sitting forward
  18. Any activity that includes moving your arms a lot, especially at your side such as tennis, badminton, etc.
  19. Ballet
  20. Pushing when you urinate --- even if you have to sit there for five minutes before you can start, DON'T PUSH!
  21. Not drinking enough water --- I drink 8-20 litres a day
  22. Holding urine --- this is one of the worst things you could do if you have IC --- even if you're in a bad situation such as on the highway, figure it out.  Either pull off and find a bathroom or buy some portable, disposable, female urinals to take with you when you know there's not going to be a bathroom closeby. 
  23. Sucking in --- You will pay for doing this with a huge swollen belly that can't be sucked in.  Wear clothes that make you feel confident enough that you don't feel the need to suck in because I'm telling you, the swelling can make you look about 8 months pregnant and sorry, you can't suck in that type of swelling.
  24. Swimming in a pool --- It is not the act itself, but rather the chlorine in the pool, even in salt water pools because they still have to use some chlorine.  If you live near a lake or the ocean, take advantage of it because swimming is one of the only forms of exercise we can tolerate.


  1. Oh my god- your list of triggers and diagnoses makes me so sad for you. Please please try the Chinese herbs I take for IC- they have helped tremendously. They are called zhu ling tang and you take 6 capsules, 3 times a day- preferably on an empty stomach. They really really help a lot. I get mine from my acupuncturist, but you can order them online. Cystoprotek also seems to be helping somewhat (maybe). I hope you are seeing a good naturopath or someone who can get to the root of your issues- they are no doubt connected to some underlying issues. Good luck.

  2. Hey there. Wow you sound like you suffer from pretty severe IC. Mine was horrible like that several years ago. I then developed other autoimmune problems and was so sick i couldn't walk for a whole year. I am now much better because I found an amazing doctor at johns Hopkins who found the root of what was causing my diseases. It happened to be yeast overgrowth in my intestines from years of taking antibiotics for acne when I was a teen. I'm now 25 and still have IC, but it is now considered mild. I completely changed my diet and learned a lot about using food as medicine. I recently had a horrible flare that nearly sent me to the ER. But I realized I was eating too much corn and gluten again (which I am sensitive too) and it flared up my GI tract, hence flaring my bladder badly. I cut out gluten and corn and now four days later feel much better still with a few residual pains. But I know in another week I'll be much better. Don't feel the need to take my advice or anything, I'll understand because you don't know me. But please read this book: The Inside Tract by Dr. Gerard Mullin MD. He is my doctor. A brilliant man indeed. I suspect you should either go on Track 2 or Track 3. Anyway, this might be the answer to you IC and making it better. I know that one day mine will go into remission, if I keep eating this way. I do fall off the wagon here and there and my health problems creep back up on me. But I stop it in its tracks when I feel I'm getting worse. Anyway I wish you well. If you'd like to contact me my email is jsenica89@gmail.com. my name is Jamie and I'm here to help and listen. Take care hun.


I promise that my comment is not prejudice, rude, or discouraging.