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  1. #1
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Can't have coffee - what else will wake me up?

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    Does anyone knows of a 'pick me up' alternative to coffee? Any foods / supplements / things to do that you guys find help with lethargy and being tired?

    I'm a university student in the middle of exams, and i'm going to be putting in some long hours studying in the next few months as well. Reading for hours on end without getting sleepy is tough, plus I've also noticed when I flare I just get plain exhausted.

    Sometimes I go for a short walk, but that's not always possible (it's -25 C outside) so I'm hoping for some sort of alternative. Caffeine pills? Ginseng? Some sort of veggie?

    Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Unfortunately, I think that many stimulants can be problematic for people with IC. The reason I've heard is that it's because it stimulates your nerves, including those that transmit pain. So not only caffeine, but MSG and stimulants like psuedoephedrine (Sudafed) can cause flares.

    I personally find mint to be kind of stimulating - have you tried Metromint water? It's a flavored water that I can find locally. It's literally only water and mint. Having an ice cold one of those can pep me up. For an indoor pick-me-up, have you tried doing push ups? (I'm serious!) A few of those can get your blood pumping without having to go outside.

    If you are really, really, really needing the caffeine, maybe try a small amount of Kava (low-acid instant coffee) and see if that helps you.

    Good luck on your exams!

    40 y.o. mom, wife and marketing manager

    "Il faut manger pour vivre, et non pas vivre pour manger." -- Moliere ("One should eat to live, not live to eat.")

    IC symptoms began Feb 2010; diagnosed Mar 2010


    Elmiron 3x day; Elavil 25 mg/day; Prelief (when I remember!); Benadryl and Prosed DS as needed for flares

    Acupuncture 2x/month; yoga; IC Diet; meditation and breathing exercises for stress; heating pad for flares

  3. #3
    Forum Manager ICNDonna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Sipping ice cold water wakes me up. Also just stretching or doing some simple exercises can help. I would avoid stimulants --- you don't want an IC flare.

    Have you checked the ICN Shop? for US & Canada for all others

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  4. #4
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Hot marshmallow root tea with a little honey works a little, just to stimulate blood flow. There is also substitute coffee. You just need to get over the caffeine fixes, and you'll get used to it.

    And yes, hope you had good luck on your exams. Know they can be grueling!

  5. #5
    ICN Member Turtlecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I don't know about waking you up, since this is milk, but if you're looking for something hot the IC nurse told me about Starbucks steamed flavored milks. It's just steamed milk with flavor squirted in it. She said just ask for a couple of squirts instead of the four or five they usually do. I don't know if all the flavors would be okay, but I do know they have vanilla. I plan on trying that over the weekend!

    Diagnosed with:
    IC September 2009 (symptoms are frequency all the time and some burning)
    Graves' Disease June 2006 (thyroid issue)
    Sleep Apnea February 2007
    IBS-C so long ago I can't remember
    CPAP Machine (for sleep apnea)
    Darpaz (generic Urelle)
    Enablex (started 12/10)
    Hydroxyzine (started 12/10)
    IC Diet
    Metoprolol ER
    Pelvic Floor PT
    Magnesium for IBS-C
    Vit D

    Love my furbaby, Turtle!

  6. #6
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Athens Alabama
    I know I miss my coffe too, but we have to get use to sticking with the IC diet until they find a cure.

  7. #7
    ICN Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Thanks for the info, everyone! I didn't realize it was stimulants in general that I'm not supposed to have. The other suggestions were good tho - I'll try marshmallow tea and the Metromint water.

    The Starbucks steamed milk w/ flavoring were a great idea- I tried vanilla yesterday, it was delish and didn't bother me at all! Didn't 'wake' me up per-say, but still were good.

    The exams went good thankfully!


  8. #8
    ICN Member teacher2be's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Grand Rapids, MI


    Have you ever tried Kava coffee? It's 90% acid reduced and supposed to be IC friendly. It is acid free, but not caffeine free. I used to drink it all the time when I first got IC and had bad symptoms and it didn't cause problems. It's an instant coffee and it tastes pretty good. You can order it off the internet. They used to sell it at the grocery store, but I think they might have stopped. Hope you find something to help you stay alert. :woohoo:

  9. #9
    ICN Member skybluesoul's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    I miss coffee too. I've found Teeccino to be a pretty good substitute. It helps a little as a pick-me-up since it tastes pretty similar to coffee. I get mine at the grocery store in the organic section.
    30 years old, bladder symptoms all my life
    diagnosed with PFD and VV October 2009; IC May 2010; acid reflux due to lactose intolerance May 2012
    I also have plantar fasciitis: diagnosed August 2011 (had foot surgery 6/28/12 and 11/15/12)

    Current meds:
    Cystoprotek 2 pills twice a day, Hydroxyzine 10 mg, Uribel as needed, Gabapentin 600 mg, Oral valium 2 mg twice a day, Myrbetriq 25mg, capsaicin cream (for vulva), and Prelief as needed
    Other treatments:
    IC diet, physical therapy, Traumeel injections as needed, TENS unit, heating pad, instills with sodium bicarb, lidocaine, and mucosa compositum
    Tried and didn't work:
    Pyridium, Singlair, Nortriptyline, Elmiron, lidocaine and heparin instills (worked at first, then didn't anymore), various creams, acupuncture -- not sure to what extent this did or did not help

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