Although it may be tempting to restrict your fluids when you have a bladder disorder, listen to your body. If you are thirsty, drink something. Your body needs fluids to function properly, including the dilution of urine. Many people with bladder problems find they do better if they sip on water all day long rather than drink large glasses at a time. You may have to experiment with water and other liquids. In general, tap water is fine. You might also try filtered, distilled, or other types of bottled water.

Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder patients should all avoid anything with caffeine. Trust me, it makes a difference. If you are having trouble getting off of your daily caffeine, start slowly by alternating your caffeinated beverage with a glass of water. After a few days, have two glasses of water between each caffeinated beverage. Eventually, you will be able to avoid caffeine entirely. Another method is to add more and more milk (and less coffee or tea) to each cup you drink.

Many companies make coffee and tea substitutes. Try chamomile, peppermint, and blueberry tea, but read the labels. Some herbal teas, even if they are labeled caffeine-free, may also contain black or green teas. Naturally, you want to avoid those. Some patients are able to drink low-acid, caffeine-free coffees, and many successfully switch to hot beverages made from grains.

Other options for drinks include dairy products, almond milk, pear juice, blueberry juice, and even low-acid orange juice. Again, listen to your body. If you seem to have an increase in symptoms, put the offending beverage on your list to try again at a later date. Over time, many bladder patients find they can add more variety to their limited selection of beverages.

Good to Read:

Beverages List

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

Bladder Friendly

  • water – test to find one that works for you
  • juice – blueberry, pear
  • milk+
  • milk substitutes – almond+, rice, Lactaid+
  • milkshake – vanilla+
  • tea – chamomile+, peppermint+
  • non-dairy creamers – check label
  • eggnog – non alcoholic+, without problem ingredients

Try It

  • juice – low-acid orange, grape, some apple, baby
  • coffee & coffee substitutes – herbal, low-acid decaf, roasted carob
  • tea – alfalfa, roasted carob
  • soda – root beer with ice (decaffeinated, not diet)
  • sports drinks – test to find one that works for you (e.g., blue Gatorade)


  • alcohol – not only irritating to the bladder but also contraindicated with many IC medications
  • water –carbonated, vitamin, flavored
  • juice – cranberry, orange, acai
  • milk – chocolate, soy
  • coffee – regular & decaf
  • teas – regular, green, herbal, iced
  • sodas – colas, citrus, orange, diet
  • drink powders – such as Kool-aid®, lemonade, orange, or powdered ice tea drinks
  • sports drinks – most
  • energy drinks – guarana, mate