Previously Ottawa Holistic Wellness
Cystitis, Urinary incontinence, Urgency and Allergies

Cystitis, Urinary incontinence, Urgency and Allergies

Do you suffer from bladder problems such as cystitis, incontinence or urgency, or perhaps have pain, itching or bleeding with intercourse?

You are not alone!

Did you ever consider that allergies may be triggering your cystitis?

I want to tell you about a client of mine, let’s call her Sarah.

She came to me with Interstitial Cystitis, a chronic condition which causes intense bladder pain and frequent urination. On a good day her pain level was 6 or 7 out of 10, and many days it was 9 / 10. She was getting up numerous times in the night to drink water as it helped to keep her urine dilute and therefore lessened her pain.

She was also finding that she often had abdominal pain after sexual intercourse and sometimes itching and bleeding.

She underwent extensive medical testing which showed no physical problem, everything was apparently ‘Normal”, and no infection was present. Her doctor had given her pain meds and suggested avoiding a few foods. Not wanting to take the pain meds on a regular basis she had found avoiding some foods to help a little, anti-histamines also brought some relief.

Natural Allergy Testing identified one of her main triggers as an allergy to salicylates. This is a compound naturally found in most fruits and vegetables. She considered her diet to be healthy, consuming foods such as olive oil, coconut oil, berries, herbs and spices, avocado and various other fruits, all of which are high in salicylates. A simple change in her diet to reduce the intake of salicylates brought a noticeable improvement in her symptoms.

She also had a problem with latex and spermicide. Changing her condoms to a non-latex version almost eliminated her pain after intercourse.

So how does this affect you?

Many women as they get older experience bladder urgency and incontinence. And it’s not always a case of “I am just getting older”!

One aspect that should be always considered is allergies. Allergies could be directly affecting your bladder, however, whether you have seasonal allergies or food allergies exposure to these allergens causes generalized inflammation in the body including the bladder and can increase urgency. This is why Sarah noticed an improvement with anti-histamine allergy meds.

What about foods?

One way that the body eliminates unwanted substances is through the urine. If you are allergic to a food it may cause increased thirst and / or bladder urgency as the body seeks to expel it from your system.

How do you know if food is the problem?

Research into the link between food and bladder issues such as interstitial cystitis is very limited, and at this time, there is no special diet recommended for these issues. There are, however, several ways to identify any food triggers.

Elimination diet

You avoid any suspected food allergens for a period of several weeks to a month. Once you feel better you re-introduce them, one every 2 weeks and observe any reactions.

In Sarah’s case, this would have been hard as salicylate is in so many foods.

Allergy testing

This can be done by your Family Doctor, a Naturopathic Doctor or a Natural Allergist. Once you have the results you can use these to do your own elimination diet. This will give you the opportunity to determine which foods are worst and which you can tolerate and in what quantity.

Low Histamine Diet

Certain foods will always trigger Inflammation in the body, in the form of Histamine, whether you have an allergy to them or not. By avoiding these foods you will lower your general level of inflammation and improve any symptoms. This diet can be used as a way to ‘re-set’ your body or to reduce symptoms at any time that you are experiencing an inflammatory response such as seasonal allergies or cystitis. The diet is used for a limited period of a few weeks to a couple of months.

Remember, you do not have to suffer, even if the medical profession say that everything is ‘Normal”. There is always an underlying reason for your health concerns so keep looking till you find it. There is no such thing as “I am just getting old”!


This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition. It is important that you do seek advice from a Medical Doctor to eliminate the possibility of infection or any other more serious issues.