Cold & Flu Strategies For IC/BPS Patients

Flu season is in full force and particularly severe in North America leaving interstitial cystitis, bladder pain and prostatitis patients to wonder just what can they use to control and reduce their symptoms without aggravating their IC and bladder symptoms.  Remember that influenza is VIRAL, thus antibiotics will not help. An estimated 50,000,000 million antibiotic prescriptions are written each year that have no effect at treating viral infections and, in fact, are contributing to a dramatic rise in dangerous, resistant infections.

Here are some of the ideas, products and suggestions that IC patients have shared with us throughout the years in their quest to treat a very stuffy nose, sore throat or cough without irritating their bladders.

young female having a coldStruggling With A Stuffy Nose (Decongestants)

Sore Throat



  • 50% pear or apple juice, combined with 50% water. Heat and, for flavor, add a dash of cinnamon or lemon zest.
  • Hot chicken broth (organic, if possible)
  • Hot water with honey
  • Chamomile or peppermint herbal tea
  • Homemade chicken noodle soup

Call The Doctor

If your flu symptoms have become more severe (fever, chills, etc.), if your throat is very sore and you can barely swallow, you  may have developed a dangerous strep infection that should be treated immediately. Similarly, some patients may also develop painful sinus infections and/or bacterial pneumonia. When in doubt, talk with your physician!

We welcome all ideas and suggestions. Meet other patients now in the largest IC Support Group online today, the ICN Support Forum!

Created: January 2014
Updated: February 2017

About the Author:

My Google Profile+ Jill Heidi Osborne is the president and founder of the Interstitial Cystitis Network, a health education company dedicated to interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome and other pelvic pain disorders. As the editor and lead author of the ICN and the IC Optimist magazine, Jill is proud of the academic recognition that her website has achieved. The University of London rated the ICN as the top IC website for accuracy, credibility, readability and quality. (Int Urogynecol J - April 2013). Harvard Medical School rated both Medscape and the ICN as the top two websites dedicated to IC. (Urology - Sept 11). Jill currently serves on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Panel (US Army) where she collaborates with researchers to evaluate new IC research studies for possible funding. Jill has conducted and/or collaborates on a variety of IC research studies on new therapeutics, pain care, sexuality, the use of medical marijuana, menopause and the cost of treatments, shining a light on issues that influence patient quality of life. An IC support group leader and national spokesperson for the past 20 years, she has represented the IC community on radio, TV shows, at medical conferences. She has written hundreds of articles on IC and its related conditions. With a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacology and a Masters in Psychology, Jill was named Presidential Management Intern (aka Fellowship) while in graduate school. (She was unable to earn her PhD due to the onset of her IC.) She spends the majority of her time providing WELLNESS COACHING for patients in need and developing new, internet based educational and support tools for IC patients, including the “Living with IC” video series currently on YouTube and the ICN Food List smartphone app! Jill was diagnosed with IC at the age of 32 but first showed symptoms at the age of 12.


  1. Natalie Andrews January 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Doesn’t Lemon Zest hurt the IC bladder for most of us?

  2. Jill Osborne February 16, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Actually no. It’s the lemon juice that is the most irritating. Lemon zest, used in small amounts, is usually fine for most patients.

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