Confident Choices Newsletter

Hope, Help, and Healing for Interstitial Cystitis Patients



What a beautiful day today! We have had a mild summer in Michigan. How about you? We have taken some long walks, gone kayaking at the local park, and are redoing our kitchen (unexpectedly....our washer flooded me if you really want the whole story!)

In this issue we are going to talk about managing flares and give you some resources that can help. See below for a Red, White, and Blue Spinach Salad recipe that you might want to take to a barbecue this weekend!

Finally, take a moment to appreciate your freedom this weekend and thank a soldier!!

Julie Beyer, MA, RD
Author Confident Choices books for Interstitial Cystitis

PS: If you find the information helpful in this newsletter let me know! You can email me at And don't be afraid to forward this to a friend!


FlareManagementFight Back: Food For Flares & Flare Management 


The Red Flag Symptom Caveat


Before we delve into this topic, I want to caution you about assuming every serious urinary symptom is an interstitial cystitis (IC) flare. Please seek emergency medical assistance if you experience any of the following "red-flag" symptoms:  

  • Severe pain that is not controlled by your normal medications
  • Pain that is different than your usual symptoms, fever or chills, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Pain that radiates beyond the bladder and pelvic area.  

These symptoms can indicate an infection or more critical condition than an interstitial cystitis flare.


Food for Flares


If certain foods can trigger your interstitial cystitis symptoms, it only makes sense that you should choose bladder friendly foods if you are in an IC flare. The very safest foods on an IC Diet include plain chicken, pears, green beans, carrots, rice, distilled or filtered water, milk, eggs, and white bread products. You should see positive results within three days of following this very minimal "rescue" diet.  


Please note that this diet may be nutritionally deficient, and should not be consumed for longer than a week. Therefore, I recommend that you contact your physician if you do not experience relief after a few days. If your physician says that you need to follow this minimal diet longer than a week, a registered dietitian can help you choose foods to maximize your nutritional intake.


Since interstitial cystitis flares are unpredictable and can consume a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy, it is wise to have a flare first aid plan handy. Make sure you always have a supply of bladder friendly food available.  


You can keep chicken, green beans, and white bread in the freezer to pull out at the last minute. Stock up on canned pears and carrots. Rice can be instant or long grain. (I love using a rice maker. In twenty minutes, you can have the base for almost any meal!) It is much easier if all you need to shop for is fresh milk and eggs.


Other Self-Help Strategies


In addition to following an IC Diet, there are other things you can do to minimize a painful bladder flare. If you are constipated or have diarrhea, other dietary adjustments may be more appropriate than the rescue IC Diet provided. Drinking more water and adding fiber are simple self-care ways to correct these problems. If intestinal problems persist, ask your physician for other treatment recommendations.


Other IC flare management techniques include  

  • getting plenty of rest
  • practicing stress reduction strategies
  • taking warm baths with Epsom salts or baking soda
  • wearing loose clothing like jumpers, medical scrubs, or pajamas 
  • writing in your journal, and  
  • talking to other IC patients.  

Try using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or one of those body heat pads that stick on the outside of your underwear. Heat can fool the body into thinking that you are not feeling any pelvic pain. You might also talk to your doctor about medications you can use specifically for a painful bladder flare.


To simplify the coping process, you might want to create a list of things to do when you get a flare. Include your urologist's phone number, sample menus, a list of medicines to take, and remind yourself to rest.


Finally, enlist the help of your loved ones. Even small children can understand that your "tummy" hurts, and most will be content to cuddle on the couch with you and do quiet things.  


Give Your Body a Chance to Heal 


Regardless which IC flare coping strategies you use to get your fussy bladder under control, it is important not to overdo it when you feel better. It may be tempting to work overtime to catch up on chores and work that piled up when you were not feeling well, but I can't emphasize enough that it is important to rest and eat only the most bladder friendly foods for a week or so after you recover. 


Finally, try to think about what may have caused the flare in the first place and add these thoughts to your journal. Did you wear restrictive clothing or try a new food? Were you under more stress than usual, or were you not getting enough sleep? By scrutinizing the things that may have caused your bladder to flare, you may be able to minimize your chances for another one!


ResourcesBooks and Resources for Flares

Please note that Confident Choices and its associates are not medical authorities. Please seek emergency medical assistance if you experience any symptoms that are unusual for you.  


Keeping these items on hand can help you get a head start on fighting your next IC flare. Personally, I find online shopping to be convenient and usually less expensive that running from store to store. Both and the ICN shop have a great assortment of products that many IC patients find helpful. Your purchase of the resources below helps keep the Confident Choices mission alive and this newsletter free. 

flare icn

IC Optimist: 2011 Guide to Managing Flares


child book

My Mom Has Interstitial Cystitis



ic naturally  

IC Naturally by Diana Brady



chair cushion

Pressure Relieving Chair Cushions




Bodiheat Pads



 cold pack

Instant Cold Pack




 Azo Standard Urinary Anesthetic




Urinary Test Strips



Come Join the Conversation!
Our IC Diet facebook group has OVER 1000 members! Come share your stories, connect with others, and post your recipes!

Recent topics include vitamin flavoring your food with citrus, how body pH differs from urine pH, rooibos tea, and more!

Joining only takes a few seconds. Simply sign into your facebook account, navigate to Confident Choices facebook Group and click "Like" near the top of the page!
RecipeRed, White, and Blue Spinach Salad
Enjoy this fresh and easy salad year round, but especially on our special holiday this weekend! From Confident Choices: A Cookbook for IC and OAB


  • 1 c. washed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 c. washed baby red bib lettuce, torn to bite size pieces
  • 1/2 c. fresh blueberries, washed and drained
  • 1/2 c. fresh raspberries (if tolerated) 
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese (if desired)
  • 2 T. coarsely chopped fresh basil (if desired)

Combine spinach and red lettuce in large salad bowl. Sprinkle blueberries, almonds, and cheese over lettuce. Hint: Even if you can't have tomatoes, others you are serving the salad to may want them. Add a handful of tiny grape tomatoes to the salad that will be easy for you to push aside or avoid.


Drizzle with Basil Blueberry Non-Vinaigrette Salad Dressing:


Basil Blueberry Non-Vinaigrette Salad Dressing



  • 1 c. frozen blueberries, partially thawed
  • 1/2 c. organic, pure blueberry juice
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 1/2 t. sugar or honey (more or less to taste) 
  • 2 t. finely chopped fresh basil (may substitute thyme)
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch white pepper as tolerated to taste

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend using one-second "pulses," checking consistency after every couple of pulses. May also be made without using frozen berries. Simply increase juice to 1 cup.  


Confident Choices Workbook

web small new wkbk

This easy to use workbook can help you determine your personal food triggers and get you on your way to feeling better! BONUS sections include information on nutrition supplements, food intake and voiding diaries, and planning sheets.Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet also includes information on exercise, stress management, emotional issues,while illustrating success stories with patient stories. Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet was written by a registered dietitian who knows what it is like to live with interstitial cystitis. $28.95

Continuing Education for Dietitians & Nurses
ic rd book New research estimates three to eight million women and one to four million men in the United States may have Interstitial Cystitis, a life altering, painful bladder condition. The great news is that dietary modifications can help relieve the symptoms of IC which include urgent, frequent, and painful urination. In order to spread the word, Julie Beyer, MA, RD, a dietitian and IC patient, has written Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators to help educate dietitians and nurses who provide diet counseling to bladder disease patients.

Price: $19.99

Eight Credits for Continuing Education from:

Helm Publishing

Confident Choices Cookbook

Julie Beyer, drawing from personal experience with interstitial cystitis, her professional expertise as a registered dietitian, and activism in the interstitial cystitis community has published Confident Choices: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder containing over 200 recipes, food preparation hints, and personal reflections that only a dietitian with interstitial cystitis can offer. 

Price: $28.95

Let's Connect!


Julie 2
Julie Beyer, MA, RD is a dietitian and interstitial cystitis patient who is committed to improve the lives of IC patients and promoting the value of dietary modification when used within a comprehensive treatment plan for interstitial cystitis.

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