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Allergy treatment helps some cystitis

LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 23 (UPI) -- Two U.S. physicians suggest allergy testing may help some who suffer from the painful bladder condition interstitial cystitis.

Dr. John Hubbard, a urologist, and Dr. C. Steven Smith, an allergist/immunologist, both in Louisville, Ky., said that they have had positive results for interstitial cystitis after allergy testing and treatment.

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Originally, interstitial cystitis patients' seasonal allergy miseries led Hubbard and Smith to refer patients to each another.

Smith found food allergies common in interstitial cystitis patients. About 35 percent to 40 percent had bona fide allergies to foods based on the results of their skin prick tests and elimination-challenge diets. Their interstitial cystitis got better when those foods were removed from their diet, the doctors said.

Coffee and tea, as well as acid and spicy foods have long known to cause problems for interstitial cystitis patients and have been considered bladder irritants.

"Put those on already irritated bladder tissue, and you probably are going to see a response," Smith said in a statement. However, he also found allergic reactions to some of these stimulants in interstitial cystitis patients.

Hubbard and Smith would like to do formal studies. They noted not all of their interstitial cystitis patients respond to allergy treatment.

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"But for the high percentage who do improve with allergy management, it's well worth the effort," Smith said. "It's one of the most rewarding patient care experiences I have ever had."

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