If you are like me, you suffer from a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). When I was dealing with IC during my college years, I would either drink alcohol and suffer the consequences, or not drink and feel like I was missing out. And don't even get me started with bar/party snacks - buffalo chicken dip, beer cheese pretzels, you name it, I want it.
Can you relate?
Well, over the years I have learned how to go out with friends and minimize the FOMO. As countries around the world are beginning to open up and relax restrictions, I wanted to create a list of 5 tips to keep you feeling involved when out at a restaurant, bar, event, or even just a night in with friends.
1. HYDRATE - Probably the most common thing I tell people with IC. If you have damage to your bladder lining and your urine is too concentrated, you can end up with pain or other symptoms. By sipping on water all day leading up to the event, you will keep your body hydrated and prevent pain from urine that is too concentrated. And I mean it - all day - not just going without water for hours and then chugging a bottle. This will increase your frequency which is not ideal. Preparation is key, IC warriors.
Another tip I have for you is to keep a water bottle in your purse - check me out in this pic below of me at a bar last weekend drinking my water. Ladies, invest in a big purse, you will thank me later. Men, feel free to get yourself a murse (man-purse) or a satchel - they are pretty trendy right now! You can even go a step further and add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to your water bottle. The next morning your body will be grateful.
If the water bottle/purse scenario is a no go, you can always ask a waitress or bartender for water. They will not give you s*** for it.
2. EAT RIGHT - This one is a given. You need to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. I'm talking a diet balanced with carbs, protein and fat. If you aren't providing your body with nourishing foods, it will let you know.
The other part of this is you need to prepare for the night out by avoiding your unique dietary triggers leading up to the event. You should have already identified your personal triggers (if not, I can help) and know what to avoid/limit. Feel free to utilize my Bladder Friendly Diet list here for reference. We want to minimize all potential triggers for a flare.
3. KEEP STRESS AT BAY - Mental health is KEY. If you are worrying about how your bladder will react at the event, your body may tense up and put unnecessary stress on the bladder and your body as a whole. Most IC warriors that I run into admit stress is a major trigger for them.
Try a method of stress management, such as:
-Go for a walk
-Distract yourself (read a book, talk to a friend, find a hobby)
-Stretch your pelvic floor
The most important thing is to do what works for you.
4. DRESS FOR SUCCESS - If you aren't comfortable and confident in what you are wearing, you can create additional stress on the blade. Those skinny jeans, jean shorts, and tight dresses aren't doing you any favors. Girls - try a dress or a romper - you will NOT regret the feeling of freedom in your lady region. Men, same goes for you - keep the pants loose (you can wear a dress/skirt if you'd like - no judgement here!).
Also important is footwear. Guys - you are lucky. You can get away with wearing sneakers. Ladies - those high heels are NOT worth it. You can put strain on your back and further irritate your bladder. Try a cute sneaker (those white sneakers are in right now), a flat or a sandal with support. If you absolutely must wear heels, make sure to stretch beforehand and take sitting breaks to give your back a rest.
5. DRINK SMART - I want to start off by saying, I do not recommend alcohol until you've completed an Elimination diet. If you have done an Elimination diet and know what alcohol and what amount you can tolerate, go for it. But if you haven't and you are dead set on drinking, here's some ideas that you may be able to tolerate:
-Light lager or ale
-Dry wine without nitrates
-Bourbon, scotch, brandy, gin
Like I said, try at your own risk, and make sure to drink water between drinks. You may be able to minimize symptoms by taking Azo/Pyridium or Uribel.
Hopefully, these tips help you to feel more confident in going out with friends. IC does not have to hold you back from making memories with loved ones!
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