IC Stories

How I kept Free of Chronic Cystitis for 6 Years

After recovering from chronic bladder pain and chronic UTIs around 6 years ago my bladder health has continuously improved and is now the best it has ever been.

Today I wanted to share a bit about my ongoing health journey and what I’ve been doing to keep my bladder healthy.

How it started

It basically started with recurrent UTIs that turned into chronic bladder pain (like a constant UTI) after 6 short rounds of broad-spectrum antibiotics. At the same time, I also developed pretty bad IBS symptoms.

After several fruitless visits to the doctor’s with just more rounds of antibiotics and the message that it was ‘all just in my head’, I hit rock-bottom and was completely desperate.

You can read the full story here.

How I recovered

Until then, I had never really come across chronic illness. It was not something I ever saw me having. I was not ready to accept my fate at all. So, I started searching online for a solution.

Unfortunately, my knowledge was limited and I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Some forums helped nudge me in the direction of diet.

Several juice fasts, anti-candida and raw vegan diets later I was actually worse than when I started.

Eventually I came across the GAPS diet and generally the idea that we should eat like our ancestors in order to optimize health.

I gave up vegetarianism/veganism, cut out grains and went on the GAPS diet. It was really tough!

But 6 months later, my bladder pain started easing. It became less and less severe, and I would only have flares after eating certain foods. I had recovered!

You can read all about my year on the GAPS diet here.

I should also mention here that additional hygiene measures in the form of ‘bottle washing’ have helped me stay clear of new infections.

What I’ve been doing since

I realized at some point that my bladder issues were very much connected to my gut issues. Part of the GAPS diet plan was to ‘heal the gut’. Although my bladder symptoms subsided, I still suffered a lot from bloating and other gut symptoms.

I eventually gave up the GAPS diet, as I had no energy (I was probably undereating a lot). I went on a paleo-type diet, and dabbled with a version of the low FODMAP diet (didn’t make a difference).

I even tried the elemental diet (horrible, but cleared symptoms for a while) and eventually decided to have a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT – you can read about my experience here and here).

It worked to a degree, but was not the golden bullet I had hoped for.

A while later, I found out that I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and kind of went off the rails for a bit – I was sick of focusing on my health so much and kind of questioned the point (‘why had I developed an autoimmune condition despite looking after my health so much!?’).  I started eating more carbohydrates and generally more processed foods.

Luckily, my bladder was still okay – although it would still become a bit overactive at times, especially when I had eaten more carbohydrates.

After a while of eating whatever I wanted, I noticed that my health was declining again. I went back on a paleo-ish diet with quite a bit of white rice thrown into the mix. I also reduced oxalates in my diet, after they showed up as being high in a urine test.

I ‘ve kept doing the ‘bottle washing’, though not as meticulously as I used to and I believe this has also helped.

How I’m doing now

The paleo + white rice diet worked alright for me for a while, although I struggled a bit with blood sugar swings and satiety.

After reading a lot of very positive experiences people seemed to have with the ‘carnivore diet’ and generally ketogenic diets, I decided to give this a go for a month or so.

Now I eat mainly meat, fat and some fruit and so far, I’m finding that my gut is the best it’s been in a very long time and my bladder is also really good. I’m finding that I have a lot more mental clarity. I’m struggling a bit with eating enough though, so energy and satiety can be an issue. But I will keep working on optimizing this approach for a while longer.

It does seem that my current approach may be the best yet in terms of gut and bladder health, but only time will tell!

What is your experience with how different diets affect your bladder health? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Reply


    March 19, 2021

    Hi Layla. Very interesting post, and I can really relate to your experience. I’ve also had chronic UTIs, vulvodynia, IC (interstitial cystisi, and the big Kahuna, CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia). I’ve gone all the way from a SAD (standard American diet), to a low oxalate diet, to Macrobiotic (beans, greens, brown rice, sea weed, and weekly white fish), to something more Paleo or Mediterranean. Today, I’m gluten free, mostly dairy free (have some butter, with Lactaid pills), low oxalate,mostly organic, minimal processed, and I manage right now to be overweight, probably from thyroid issues. (I’ve been both sub-clinical hypo and absolutely hyperthyroid.) I was ten pounds lighter when hyperthyroid post-Covid this winter, but it was not worth it. I’ve heard a lot about the carnivore diet. Can I ask why you don’t include vegetables, and eat just meat and fruit?

    • Reply


      March 19, 2021

      Hi Denise, thanks for sharing – it’s very interesting to hear from someone with a similar journey. It sounds like you have also recovered from your bladder woes?
      So the main proponents of carnivore are saying that most plants have toxins in them as this is how they protect themselves from being eaten. Fruits are the parts that the plants want to be eaten to spread their seeds, so they’re less heavily defended. Animals defend themselves physically, so they don’t need any toxins to do this. The other argument is that people with a messed up gut do much better without fiber. Of course, as a trained Nutritional Therapist this was initially blasphemy to me! But I have to say that I do feel much better without vegetables – my gut is waaay better, my head is clear, my teeth feel really strong and are never sensitive – just to give some examples. Fruits I think can also bother many people because of sugar and acids but some of them work okay for me (apples, berries).

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