Dairy, Cheeses, and Substitutes

Dairy foods supply a wide range of nutrients including protein, carbohydrate, B-vitamins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and more. Although some people may be allergic to the protein in dairy products or might be sensitive to the sugar lactose, most interstitial cystitis patients can and should include two or three servings of dairy daily. Good IC safe sources of dairy include milk, cheeses, and yogurt. You will notice that yogurt is in the Try It category. Yogurt comes in so many brands, varieties, and flavors that you may need to experiment to find one you can tolerate. For those who cannot tolerate dairy products, substitutes like goats’ milk, almond milk, and rice milk are great options. Soy is almost always a trigger for interstitial cystitis/painful bladder patients and should be avoided.

Good to Read:

Dairy, Cheeses, and Substitutes List

Note: Foods labeled with a plus sign (+) may be especially soothing during an IC flare according to patient reports.

Bladder Friendly

  • cheeses – American, mozzarella, cheddar cheese (mild), feta, ricotta+, string cheeses+
  • cream cheese
  • cottage cheese+
  • ice cream+ – most
  • milk+
  • milk substitutes – Lactaid
  • sherbet – no citrus or chocolate flavors
  • Rice Dream® dessert – vanilla
  • whipped cream – Cool Whip

Try It

  • cheeses – blue cheese, brie, brick parmesan, camembert, cheddar cheese (sharp), edam, emmenthaler, gruyere hard jack, Monterey Jack, parmesan (fresh & canned), Roquefort, stilton, Swiss
  • buttermilk
  • sour cream – try as an accent on a baked potato or soup
  • pizza - plain, chicken & garlic, veggie or made with white sauce - no pepperoni
  • sorbet – made with bladder safe ingredients
  • yogurt - blueberry, vanilla, plain


  • cheeses – processed cheese products with problem ingredients
  • ice cream – Caution with citrus or chocolate flavors
  • soy products – soy milk, soy cheeses, soy yogurts