There are 2 parts to this post on Interstitial Cystitis (IC):
1) Does caffeine affect Interstitial Cystitis?
2) Can you drink decaffeinated coffee with IC?
So, starting with "Does caffeine affect Interstitial Cystitis?"
The answer is a resounding yes.
Tea and coffee, or anything with caffeine in it, can often trigger IC flare ups.
According to a paper published in Therapeutic Advances in Urology published by scientists from James Buchanan Brady Foundation Department of Urology in 2011:
" Studies have also shown worsening of IC symptoms with stress, spicy food, and smoking. Recently, the Events Preceding IC Study reported that the pain in 97% worsened with certain foods and drinks such as alcohol, citrus fruits, coffee, carbonated drinks, tea, chocolate, and tomatoes [Warren et al. 2008] comparable to findings from the Interstitial Cystitis Database (ICDB) where 262 out of 270 (97%) patients reported worsening of pain [Simon et al. 1997]."
On the question of "Can you drink decaffeinated coffee with IC?"
The jury is out.
The Interstitial Cystisis Association takes a cautious approach that it's best to take any type of coffee out of your diet as follows:
"Doctors and other healthcare providers report that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea can trigger bladder flares because of the acidity in the products, so it is best to kick the coffee and tea habit, and find alternative ways to find energy throughout the day."
The IC Network take a more pragmatic approach:
It recommends a five-step "work your way back to coffee" approach as follows:
i) Step one: try hot water or milk
ii) Chamomile & Peppermint tea trial
iii) Rooibos tea trial.
iv) Herbal Coffee trial (non-coffee substitute).
v) Low acid decaffeinated coffee trial - it recommends trialling darker roast coffees, which reduce the acidity of decaffeinated coffee.
Decadent Decaf offers one Dark Roast Decaffeinated coffee called the Decadent Decaf Dark Roast available here.