Contrary to popular belief, cranberry juice and cranberry products are NOT helpful for all bladder conditions. In fact, cranberry can provoke increased urinary frequency, urgency, pressure and, as thousands of interstitial cystitis patients can attest to, severe pain and discomfort. Cranberry juice is known as the “acid-bomb” in IC patient support groups and has long been considered one of the worst beverages that an IC patient can drink.
Why? Foods high in acid (i.e. citrus fruits and juices, cranberry, vinegar) create irritation in much the same way that acid poured on a wound on your hand would feel. It hurts! Cranberries, for example, contain quinic, malic and citric acid which may help us understand why cranberry juice is irritating for most of us. These acids provoke yet more inflammation in the bladder as they scour the wounds, damage new cells trying to repair the bladder wall and reduce the effectiveness of IC therapies.
Despite our best efforts to educate patients about dietary modifications, thousands still continue to consume cranberry products at the urging of family members and friends, suffering needless pain and discomfort.