View Full Version : potassium and muscle spasms/cramps
03-06-2004, 02:01 AM
Hi, folks! I'm hoping someone might have some helpful suggestions. I've been on the IC diet for a year and a half now, and am currently six months pregnant. In the past two weeks, Ihave twice had REALLY painful right side abdominal cramping/spasming, to the point that walking, standing, and driving have been excruciating. I've been to my doc, and they have been able to rule out the typicals--appendix, gas, constipation. It has been suggested to me by a friend who's a nurse that my electrolytes might be out of balance or I might, because of my diet, have a potassium deficiency. Just checked my prenatal vitamins which I assumed had potassium and surprise, surprise, they don't! I would love suggestions on IC-safe foods rich in potassium or supplements that people have been able to take without aggravating their bladders too much. Thank you! KTDID
Here is info from the Patient Handbook's vitamin section:
Potassium helps transmit nerve impulses, helps muscles contract, and is crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system. It plays an important role in maintaining normal blood pressure, and works in combination with sodium to control the body's water balance.
Potassium, in balance with calcium and magnesium, is essential to the maintenance of excitability of muscle tissue, especially the cardiac muscle. Adequate intake of potassium is especially important for people taking medication for high blood pressure.
A potassium deficiency can result in excess thirst, weakness of muscles, changes in the electrocardiogram, and mental confusion. The herbal product Licorice, when taken for long periods of time with certain other drugs, can cause depletion in the body's potassium supply.
Dr. Lowell Parsons, a reknown IC researcher at the University of San Diego, has noticed that several foods IC patients regularly avoid (ie., oranges and tomatoes) contain fairly large amounts of potassium. Because some patients' bladders are known to react when potassium salts are instilled in the bladder, Dr. Parsons has suggested that for those patients, high-potassium foods may be a problem. Excess potassium is washed out of the body via the urine, so Dr. Parsons believes that the potassium ions in the urine could possibly "leak" across a faulty bladder lining into the underlying bladder muscle tissue where it would trigger spasms and pain. This may be true for some patients, it may not be true for others, and it most likely isn't the whole story when it comes to our problems with food. When ingesting potassium with food, it doesn't affect our bladders in the same way as instilling it directly into the bladder. Most IC patients can comfortably eat turkey and milk and many can eat bananas without suffering a flare. Yet a serving of roasted turkey meat has more potassium than a whole orange; a banana has almost twice as much potassium as an orange; and a cup of milk has 50% more potassium than an orange.
IC friendly potassium sources: cereals, honeydew, blueberries, raisins, fish, legumes, potatoes, brown rice, cereals, nuts, chicken, fresh vegetables and most fresh foods
03-06-2004, 09:31 AM
Thanks Kim for the info on Potassium! Especially about the foods that are rich in potassium. It is nice to now that on that list there are some foods that I do eat that don't affect my bladder. I certainly don't eat banana anymore
:( They make my bladder flare like there was no tomorrow!
03-06-2004, 01:27 PM
If you suspect you have a potassium deficiency, I suggest you ask your doctor about a blood test. And if it's very low, your doctor will very likely order a supplement for you. It's far less expensive than the over the counter supplements.
Sending healing thoughts,
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