urine alkalinization methods in IC
Modification of the diet, including the elimination of bladder irritants, decreasing ingestion of foods that increase the dietary acid load, and alkalinization of urine, has been practiced by most IC patients at some point in their therapy. We are going to focus on methods of alkalinizing the urine and decreasing the amount of dietary acid load in this section. If you would rather read just about diet, we have tons of IC diet information here.
One key point here is that you normally can’t change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control the pH of your body in a very narrow range. Anything that changed the body’s PH would make you very sick and could even kill you. Even if you were hospitalized, physicians who need to alter the level of acidity or alkalinity of your blood would do so only under strict protocols due to the danger that is inherent in manipulating the general PH of the body.
Another thing to remember when considering a supplement to increase the PH of your urine (make it more alkaline) is that there is much debate about whether alkaline urine is actually more of a problem than acidic urine. Normal urine is slightly acidic. Many IC’ers on the forums report that when they check their PH in the middle of a flare, it is super alkaline (greater than 8). There is a study going on right now to try to finally answer the question of the relationship between urinary PH and IC symptoms: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03024619. It will be interesting to see what they find but in the meantime, if you decide you want to see how changing the ph of your urine affects you, be sure you track it with PH paper and a symptom log.
Prelief is a calcium based supplement that you take with high-acid foods. It can help remove up to 95% of acid irritants from foods and beverages, which, for some IC sufferers, will minimize food-caused bladder discomfort. Prelief works on the food you eat, not on your body’s acid production. The usual dose, though you should always read the instructions, is 2 caplets with each meal.
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This is a fairly benign med compared to some of the other ones we have covered. Things to take note of are: This contains calcium and calcium may interfere with the availability of some antibiotics. Also, if you have been advised by your physician not to take calcium, phosphorus or glycerin/glycerol, then don’t take this. Talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure.
Further Reading on Urine alkalinization for Interstitial Cystitis:
Okay Sodium Bicarbonate is the fancy word for baking soda. You can get this in 2 forms: a box that you spoon it out of or in pill form. The baking soda raises the PH of your urine temporarily (makes it more alkaline and less acidic) which is attributed to the decrease in burning that people report.
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Sodium bicarb (baking soda) is super high in sodium. Because baking soda is so high in sodium, there are quite a few restrictions to consider. If you plan on taking it regularly, make sure your doctor is on board and keeping an eye on things. This is to make sure that you are not accidentally causing detrimental effects on your body.
Also, don’t take baking soda within 1 to 2 hours of taking other medicine by mouth since it can interact with other drugs. If your doctor has told you to follow a low-sodium diet, or you have high blood pressure or other kidney problems, you really need to check with your provider before taking sodium bicarbonate for your bladder pain. Make sure you read up on baking soda and run it by your medical team.
We certainly don’t believe in keeping secrets from our doctors around here!
You may have noticed this list is fairly short. That is because most drugs for changing the urine PH are prescription only. So if none of these sounds like something that is right for you, talk with your provider about other options.
Want to know more about this subject? Here are some research articles to back up the experiences of those with IC who have found relief via urine alkalinisation and dietary antacids (binding of dietary acids):
- Complementary therapies for bladder pain syndrome: a systematic review
- Dietary Consumption Triggers in Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Patients
- Urine alkalization improves the problems of pain and sleep in hypersensitive bladder syndrome.
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