Men struggling with prostatitis should take note of this important study, the first of its kind demonstrating that prostate and pelvic pain patients struggle with more intense symptoms after consuming certain foods and beverages, particularly spicy and carbonated foods.

A total of 95 men with prostatitis completed a survey that assessed their reaction, if any, to 176 foods and beverages. 47.4% reported that their symptoms worsened. The worst offenders were spicy foods, coffee, hot peppers, alcoholic beverages, tea and chili, the foods also found to exacerbate symptoms of interestitial cystitis/ bladder pain syndrome. Of note are the hot spices, such as chili. Caffeinated foods, such as coffees and teas, were found troublesome. Lastly, alcohol was found to be irritating, demonstrating very similar results to a study the ICN conducted several years ago.

Several foods were found to help alleviate symptoms. Docusate, psyllium and polycarbophil, which help maintain bowel function, received high scores. Water, of course, helps dilute urine thus reducing the quantity of irritants. as well as supporting bowel function. Herbal teas (chamomile, peppermint) are known to be more calming and soothing to the urinary tract.

This study comes as no surprise to the interstitial cystitis and fellow chronic pelvic pain community for whom diet modification has been a cornerstone to symptom relief. In fact, the AUA guidelines strongly urge diet modification in Step One of their treatment guidelines for IC/BPS.

We happily share our diet information with the prostatitis community with the assurance that diet modification has been very effective at reducing, if not avoiding, painful flares for many patients. In our experience, the most irritating foods are high acid, caffeinated and more spicy food typically found in junk or fast food. Simple, healthy organic foods, on the other hand, are the staple foods of our diet.

The ICN maintains an IC Food List app that can help men learning about diet. Available from iTunes, it allows patients to sort through several categories of foods to learn which are the “safe”, “try it” or cautionary foods.

Learn more about the IC diet here!

Source: Herati As, et al. Effects of Foods and Beverages on the Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Urology. 2013 Aug 23.