Interstitial Cystitis
Natural Remedies

Interstitial Cystitis - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Interstitial Cystitis. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Marshmallow Root

Posted by Kristine C. (North Canton) on 10/01/2021
5 out of 5 stars

After figuring out, on my own, that I had IC, I of course came to Earth Clinic to see what remedies were out there. My doctor kept telling me I had a bladder infection, only to call me the next day to tell me that I didn't have a bladder infection after the lab results came back negative. The next thing they tried to tell me I was experiencing was overactive bladder and then after that it was nocturnal dysuria. I did a food elimination diet and came up with a long list of foods that would set my bladder on fire. I list them here to help others help with their elimination diet; anything with tomatoes or tomato products, green tea, black tea, coffee, red wine, chili powder, gluten, vitamin C, and certain chocolate products (not all, thank God). After eliminating those foods I thought I would try to rebuild or repair my bladder lining, I started taking Marshmallow Root in capsule form.

After taking it for about two months, I no longer had any burning whatsoever! It was great! Life was great! I thought it was because I was being really restrictive on my diet and thought that the marshmallow root wasn't doing anything -- so I stopped taking it. About two days after my last marshmallow root capsule my bladder started burning again, even though I was still being restrictive with my diet. I eat really bland foods; rice, mashed potatoes, yams, vegies, eggs, etc. and still my bladder was burning? The marshmallow root WAS doing good for my bladder and I, like an idiot, stopped taking it. I have immediately reordered my marshmallow root. I was taking a brand that had 960mg in each capsule and I was taking two a day and my bladder felt NORMAL.

I will never again be without my marshmallow root.

Baking Soda for Bladder Pain

Posted by Mama (TN) on 03/24/2021
5 out of 5 stars

I have had trouble with bladder pain for the last year. Many things have helped, but baking soda has been the easiest, cheapest, most effective cure of all.

Red raspberry leaf tea helps if I drink at least 2 strong cups a day.

Marshmallow Root and Usa Urvi capsules help.

Quercetin and Bromelain help.

I was drinking the juice of a lemon for digestion and realized it was helping my bladder pain. I realized it was probably helping to make me more alkaline and perhaps that was what was helping.

Now I take some baking soda in water (1/4-1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 1/4-1/3 cup water) 2-3 times a day or as needed and rarely have pain.

I am thrilled to say the least. I hope others with this issue will have relief as well!

~Mama to Many~

Diatomaceous Earth

Posted by Cheryl (Missouri ) on 04/19/2019
5 out of 5 stars

After trying several remedies and acupuncture that would temporarily relieve the pain but would not prevent flare ups, I finally found one that worked. I haven't had a flare up in 5 months! First thing when I wake up in the morning, I dissolve 2 tablespoons of Diatomaceous Earth in 1/2 cup of water. I will drink coffee but won't eat breakfast until 2-3 hours later. This allows the DE to sit in my bladder and absorb any inflammation.

This was a game changer for me! When I first started taking DE, I was in the middle of a bad flare up. It took a week to fully subside the inflammation but I could tell it was working. I take DE every morning. If I start to slack off, I begin to feel tingles in my bladder.

Don't miss a dose.

Dietary Change, Probiotics

Posted by Lea (Ca) on 03/21/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Healing my painful bladder problems:

For years I suffered with over-active bladder and later Interstitial Cystitis. Major OUCH! I couldn't eat many foods, such as tomatoes or citrus, without it irritating my bladder. I would be up all night, needing to urinate every half hour. The symptoms were much like a bad UTI, of which I had many.

The doctors were of no help, often prescribing antibiotics, ever though the UTI causing bacteria was no longer found in my urine. The symptoms would come and go. Some weeks I would be fine, then the pain would mysteriously start up again. As the years went on, I soon discovered a pattern. Eating too much sugar, or taking antibiotics would bring on a serious flare. Yeah, I'm a slow learner.

After a UTI and being on antibiotics, I would be fine for about a week, and then the painful IC symptoms would return with a vengeance.

Then, while on this very site, Earth Clinic, I ran across a post describing exactly what was happening to me.

The antibiotics I had been taking had killed off the good bacteria in my bladder and had also given me a horrid sinus problem. I had read somewhere that the two issues usually go hand in hand, but I had never connected the dots.

I discovered I had Candida, an over abundance of bad yeast. The sugar I ate had been feeding the bad bacteria. So, this made sense. The yeast had created little holes in my bladder lining, causing certain foods to irritate it. This also made sense.

The cure, for me, was cutting way back on sugar, staying on a good diet, drinking lots of water and taking GOOD Probiotics. Lots of GOOD Probiotics! That was the real answer, but it wasn't cheap. I didn't care at this point and just bought them.

The good bacteria in the Probiotics soon over took the bad bacteria and healed the little holes in my bladder.

For 2 weeks, I would take one pill with every meal. Soon my sore bladder issues were gone and so far have not come back. It's been two months now. Fingers crossed.
I can now eat anything without a problem. No more getting up all night, going to the bathroom. I still have a slight sinus problem, but it's getting better. I am no longer getting UTI's, so am able to avoid antibiotics. I still take daily maintenance Probiotics and can now tolerate Cranberry pills, which keeps the UTI's away.

Why oh why could any doctor not have told me this years ago? All they would say is "Stay away from the foods that hurt your bladder." They could not direct me to the root of the problem.

I have read that there are thousands of women who have over active bladders and now believe that in many cases Candida is the problem.

I hope me taking the time to write this helps at least one sufferer.

I can now enjoy life again. Hugs to you all.

Bone Broth

Posted by Lea (Ca) on 03/20/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Years ago I started having symptoms of IC, the same symptoms as a bladder infection, without the infection. (Google it) Symptoms would come and go through out the years. The inflammation would cause me to feel weak and tired. Then I remembered that my bladder problems always seemed to act up after I took antibiotics. So, this got me to thinking...."Candida fungus was probably at the root of my bladder problem."

So, I went on a Candida diet, for 3 weeks and I not only lost weight and started feeling better, but my IC symptoms seemed to let up...but not entirely.

Then, after my latest flare, I did some research and discovered Bone Broth. I mixed a cup, half and half with vegetable broth, heated it, drank it and within 4 hours the pain had let up.

My understanding is that the Candida fungus causes little holes to form in the protective lining of the bladder, causing pain when the wrong food is consumed, and the broth helps heal that lining. Much like it is suppose to help heal leaky gut.

I thought, "It can't be this simple." So, I tested it, ate some citrus (a big no-no for IC suffers), symptoms flared, I drank the broth and the pain let up. I now drink at least one hot cup of broth a day and, knock on wood, I think it's my answer.

I believe that the Candida fungus was the root cause of the IC. Going off bad carbs was really hard at first, but now I seldom feel hungry. I eat very little but what I do eat is very nutritious. I have so much more energy and feel much younger. I told my hubby..."Unless I'm dying, DON'T let me take any more antibiotics! "

Hope my story helps at least one IC sufferer.


Posted by Amanda (Madison Heights, Mi) on 06/20/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I started taking turmeric the day I first suspected interstitial cystitis. I had been struggling with what I thought was an extremely stubborn UTI for about 2 weeks, off and on. Every night my sleep was interrupted about 7 to 8 times with the desperate urge to pee. On this particular afternoon the pain and urgency became so beyond ridiculous that I couldn't function. I was exhausted, peeing every 5 minutes, hurting every second of the day, so much that I could not focus on anything. None of the usual treatments had worked (D-Mannose, baking soda, cranberry, cherry). I had recently been to the doctor for another UTI but the bacterial culture came back negative.

Having done some reading about IC and noted that it is an inflammatory condition, I drank one glass of about 8oz water with about 1/2 tsp turmeric and a small pinch of black pepper. Then I lay down in the only position that offered a shred of relief, on my back with my knees out. I felt somewhat better within a half hour and was able to fall asleep shortly after. I woke up 2 times to pee, and did again when my alarm went off for work. Each time the burning and urgency were further lessened. The following day I felt almost normal again. I continued to take turmeric and it has not lost its effectiveness for me.

I have tried buying turmeric capsules with black pepper extract since then, and they work pretty well. I have also tried aloe, which seemed to have more effect when it was juice rather than dried in a capsule. These are all helpful, but I am still learning which foods bother me, and when I eat something that triggers an incident, the powdered turmeric spice with a little black pepper stirred into water is what helps me recover the most quickly and fully. Not sure why. I may try making my own capsules because the taste is not delicious. Totally worth it, though.


Posted by Dmsogirl (Minneapolis) on 05/06/2016
5 out of 5 stars

IC for 10 years!

To do DMSO in the doctors office with major medical only insurance would have cost me $4,500.00. I didn't have that kind of money. I tried EVERYTHING on this site and the diet, also no gluten, sugar, alcohol, baking soda, and tired many drugs. Doing the Physical Therapy, Heprin/Bicarb, Ladicane, many other drugs also for IC, but in the WORST flair for last 12 months was going to give up, and remove my bladder when I realized I have Amazon's DMSO 99.99% Pharma Grade 99.99% on my medicine shelf. I use it for bruises, back aches, etc.

So hey, I researched for 2 months, and then with my Dr's (barely) approval, I put some in my catheter w/my meds. (5 drops (diluted to 50% w/Reverse Osmosis water from Target) No pain, so I held it for 1.5 hrs. The flair stayed the same. But the next week I did it again. WOW. Instead of waking every hr to pee all night, I only got up 2x. Was more comfortable all day! I need to do 6 total. (one per wk).

You should also put 50% DMSO on belly and back (7 drops or so per day) as DMSO is also absorbed in the skin. (See Dr Jacob's site on DMSO. He says MSM is even better for this.) I will continue with the 6 weeks. God knows, this is a miracle drug! My Dr (an ANGEL) wants me to report to her my results. I will update to you all as I go.

RESEARCH THIS before doing or you can have HORRIFIC results, with permanent damage.

*** Never use it straight, nor with only a tiny amount of liquid, nor too often. ***

DMSO per 6.5 drops diluted w/6.5 drops of water would have cost me $592.00 at the pharmacy per week w/out the dr's appointment. It cost me about 4 cents. What a money grab!

God Bless. If?s, (Please respond here. )

Multiple Remedies

Posted by Pam (Redding, Ca.) on 07/24/2011

If you have IC, you do not have an active infection that causes it. I was diagnosed 23 years ago. All of the so called intrusive torture will not make it go away. An infection could occur because of the open damage in the bladder wall, but it is not an infection. I had every thing done to me, from the acid burnout, stretching, tens, lasers, & DMSO. I lived in horrible pain for three years to over come all of the damage caused by doctors. No doctor will ever touch my bladder again. The mild no acid diet, tums, baking soda all help the symptoms, but will not make it go away. Stop lower body weight work or bike riding or any movements that compromise the bladder until it can heal a bit. It is very slow to heal the wounds. Amitriptyline or elival is an older anti depressant that has a pain relief element. It is safe to take and especially at night. I have been taking it for 23 year. The best thing I found that gave me back my life is an OXYTROL patch. It is a smooth muscle relaxant and it stops the bladder from going into spasm. It is very important to learn relaxation techniques. You may need to destress your life as well.

I have had it under control for many years without any huge flareups. I just returned from a clinic that is for chronic pelvic pain. IC falls under that. I went for a problem with my pelvic floor muscles. You can find the info under The Wise-Anderson Protocal. The program came out of Stanford. The Urological Association has just come out will info on IC that suggests it is a muscle pain problem. The clinic teaches you how to do the work of healing your self. It is a long road, but pain is a great motovator. The books Dr. Wise has written are helpful, but the Trigger Point Release Therapy is amazing. Tim Sawyer is a fantastic Physical Therapist. He was taught by the original founder of Trigger Point release. Read all the info and listen to their videos. They may be very helpful. By the way there were 4 men and only two women at the clinic. I never realized that men suffered so badly from their version of IC. Good luck to all. You are not alone. There is hope.