I’m part of a Facebook group where woman (mostly) have all battled or are currently battling with reoccurring UTI’s…Some journeys have been harder than others but one thing is for sure, we have all suffered physically and mentally for YEARS. I just read an article recently in the New York Times about these infections become drug resistant and then a follow up about the insane response of people who have personally suffered.
For me and many others, the infections had to start at one point. My first “big” infection happened when I was 17 and ended up in the emergency room. My mom has had infections similar so had given me AZO ( it’s an over the counter medicine that numbs the urethra to stop the UTI pain until you can get to the doctors ) but the pain kept coming. So then it began…It was a long time ago but I remember being put on an IV and given intravenous antibiotics along with pain medicine…Then being sent home with more antibiotics. I had several more infections between then and college but didn’t do a very good job of taking care of myself then. I didn’t have a consistent doctor in college…So I would “self treat” with AZO and go to med express for antibiotics. So I was in a constant battle of treating my symptoms and not trying to get to the root cause. At this point I’m sure I had at least 10-12 infections within a year…Sometimes more…sometimes less.
At this point…I had another two emergency room visits throughout college. Note, the only time I ended up in the ER was when the pain was so unbearable and was felt through the AZO. So it was a super strong “bug”… I can live through the “usual” UTI feeling of burning and constantly feeling like you have to pee but this was a point when you start to feel the pain into your bladder and kidneys. You’d be surprised how fast that can happen…I have had zero UTI symptoms and then within 5ish hours…I had ended up in the ER.
When I first graduated college…I was making no money ( less than I did bartending in college…without a college degree but that’s another story ) and still didn’t have a consistent doctor. It wasn’t until I met my now husband, was finishing up my masters and had a job where I was making decent money that I started to think…Huh…maybe getting all of these infections isn’t normal.
So, I had made a move from Pittsburgh to Georgia where I was on the search for a doctor to help. At this point…I didn’t know I needed to see a urologist or a gynecology urologist. So, I was just trying to find a doctor…which was really HARD. I ended up with MULTIPLE doctors and still nothing…They would put me on antibiotics when it happened and that was that. I would ask questions and they had no answers. At this point…I thought I was just going to have these infections for life. It seemed as though it never went away. This was also at a point where I found out certain infections were resistant to some of the antibiotics I was prescribed. Then I moved to Texas…and heard I should maybe see a urologist.
So I had just moved and found a urologist via Google…Probably not the best way to find a specialist doctor. He did a lot of tests…I had multiple ultrasounds, X-rays and a bladder scope and everything came back normal…then had me sent to the hospital for another test which the paper work was never sent over for and I was fed up so I just quit going to see him. Then! I FINALLY found a primary doctor who LISTENED…He was the FIRST one to offer some insight to maybe WHY these infections were happening the way that they were. This was the first time I got put on a continual antibiotic ( I only took the antibiotic when I did something that could trigger an infection…Such as holding your pee on an airplane, sex, wearing sweaty clothes for too long etc. ) but this helped for some time. This was the first time I heard about possibly fighting the same infection over and over again as well. So it was possible that I had ONE infection during multiple rounds of antibiotics.
This wasn’t a “fix all” but I was glad to finally have some insight into WHY…I didn’t want to always be on antibiotics and after about a year…plus another very bad infection…He sent me to a gynecology urologist! This was super recent (about 4 months ago) but she put me on a potent cranberry supplement , drinking a minimum amount of water a day ( GUYS!! This has CHANGED my life! I didn’t realize how much my symptoms were exacerbated by just being dehydrated ) I just bought this water bottle to keep me on track, wearing only cotton non thong underwear and a probiotic. So far, so good! DO I think this will rid me of infections forever? No, probably not. My body is just predisposed to the infections but this may be a way for me to limit the amount I get per year… 4 months…is a HUGE win in my book…Plus, not being on antibiotics which have super messed up my entire GI system is a positive.
We’ll see how this goes but I am in a WAY better spot than I was about 15 years ago…If you’re dealing with the emotional rollercoaster ride that is having continual UTI’s know you aren’t alone…Keep fighting for yourself and your health. What is right and fixes someone else’s problems may not be the case for you. So keep trying to figure it out and hey, maybe some of the things that have brought me relief could help you too.
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