Join me on the road less travelled through the ups and downs of finding holistic treatment for UTI….
I love relationships.
As a budding relationship coach, how two entities relate is a subject I can roll around in until my last breath.
But there’s one relationship in my life I wouldn’t hesitate to break up with, and it’s my longest-standing one: pain.
Pain is a shadow I’ve danced with as long as I can remember. If I listed pain as my partner on Facebook, I would set our relationship status to “it’s complicated.”
I was born into pain a month early, mother and baby near death from a condition called toxemia. Since babyhood, I was plagued with ear and sinus infections and antibiotics were a near-daily fixture of my routine.
I contracted pneumonia and mononucleosis before I was 8 years old. I wasn’t what you would call a “well child”, and my young adult life was no different.
Nail-biting mishaps included a floating kneecap, a five-year case of chronic appendicitis, metal plates removed from my nasal cavity after sinus surgery, and the extraction and cauterization of the inside edges of both my big toenails… three times.
None of those experiences tickled, exactly. But there is one piece of pain to rule them all, and I would go through every other painful experience again to be rid of it:
Recurrent urinary tract infections.
Jump To Section:
- Recurrent UTI To Interstitial Cystitis And Back Again. >>>>
- Life, Sex, And Fertility With IC. >>>>
- The Link Between Endometriosis And UTI. >>>>
- Ureaplasma UTI and Prostatitis. >>>>
- UTI Testing And All Its Flaws. >>>>
- A Real Path to Holistic Treatment For UTI. >>>>
Getting Acquainted With Recurrent UTI
Exactly twenty years ago this month (at time of writing), I went on a date with my first urinary tract infection. She unceremoniously made an appearance several days after losing my virginity.
I’ll never forget going to the bathroom and suddenly feeling like I was peeing coal-fired Ginsu knives. Nor the putrid fish odor, the urine streaked with crimson, nor how it worsened for days every time I peed.
Most of all, I remember the confusion and shame. I knew exactly what I had done to precipitate this event. I had never even talked about sex with my parents, and getting treated by my doctor was no less awkward.
I took the prescribed antibiotics and thankfully, the UTI symptoms quickly abated. I was intimate with my boyfriend again the following week, and just a day later…BOOM. It hit me like a freight truck. And it began to happen every time.
“Somehow after getting treated, I would forget the pain, do the deed, get hit, medicate, and so on. It began to look like a Wes Craven take on ‘Groundhog Day’, a nightmarish cycle of intimacy, searing pain, awkward doctor visits, antibiotics, and sluggishness.”
This cycle plagued me through most of my sexual relationships. The bliss of nearly every intimate encounter was marred by pain that would rip through my body and my life. And eventually, my marriage.
All I wanted was to be playfully adventurous with the partner I was lovingly committed to. And yet, this barrier wouldn’t allow it. As my condition progressed, I became more and more afraid of intimacy. I simply couldn’t endure the cycle anymore.
Holistic Treatment For UTI: The Hunt For UTI Relief Begins
Feeling so out of control of my body created a dark resentment toward it. Since I would thrive when in control, I decided I wasn’t going to live at the mercy of urinary tract infections anymore and let them happen “to me”.
So, I decided to do something that I recommend every living human does: I became the steward of my own health.
I scavenged the interwebs for every blog post, video, and discussion board related to bladder infection. I amassed a graveyard of supplements, each proclaimed as the conventional or natural panacea that eliminated UTIs every time.
And every time, the panacea would fail me. At this stage, I wasn’t aware that I would need a more comprehensive, holistic treatment for UTI.
As the UTI’s came faster and harder despite my valiant efforts, something else began to go wrong. The antibiotics didn’t work as well. It would take days and sometimes weeks to get my urinary symptoms under control.
I passed through a conveyor belt of urologists, each leaving me further from answers than before. I would bring well-researched questions and resources that predictably resulted in skeptical head shakes. I was routinely the “toughest case seen in someone my age,” which was a dubious distinction indeed.
From Recurrent UTI To Interstitial Cystitis And Back Again
During one late-night research session, I came across an ad about recurrent urinary symptoms that asked if I had heard of “Interstitial Cystitis”? A light bulb went off in my head. Could there be an actual condition where you have infection symptoms but no infection? Suddenly, having a name to put to this purgatory triggered something I hadn’t felt in years: a glimmer of hope.
My urologist swiftly shut this down. “There’s no way you have ‘IC’,” he declared. “You’re much too young.” And that was the end of that conversation. I walked out of his office deflated.
When I relayed my woes to a new gynecologist months later, she actually looked at me with compassion and remarked what a tough road this must be. I came apart, feeling seen for the first time in this arduous journey.
She asked if I’d seen a specialist called a urogynecologist who could test me for Interstitial Cystitis. My ears perked up at the name again. Could it be that my seemingly omniscient urologist had been wrong?
“This was the first time I began to realize something very important about doctors: no one has a monopoly on the truth. The school they attended, the curriculum they studied, and how involved they are with consuming and performing new research are going to result in wildly differing diagnoses and approaches.”
I’ve learned that if you don’t like the first answer, seek more until something clicks. Even if it takes twenty years. And sometimes, a holistic treatment for UTI means piecing together everything you’ve learned.
My Dubious Interstitial Cystitis Diagnosis
I attended my first “urogyno” appointment and relayed my challenging clash with the commode. She explained that many of my symptoms were spot on for IC, but that she’d need to perform several tests to confirm the diagnosis.
This was when I realized that as painful as the illness process can be, the road through holistic treatment for UTI, and eventual healing ain’t exactly a walk in the park. Just getting that diagnosis hurt.
First, the infamous and now debunked potassium sensitivity test which involves catheterizing and instilling a potassium chloride solution. The result is akin to having burning acid poured into your already irritated bladder. Based upon my reaction and beads of sweat, the nurse cheerfully mused, “Well, that’s a positive!”
Somehow, I didn’t share in her lightheartedness.
Then, they checked me for pelvic floor dysfunction involving electric probes placed into each of my three nether orifices. Any sense of dignity disintegrated quickly that day.
But, at least I didn’t leave that office empty-handed. The doctor declared me an IC sufferer, and prescribed a medication called Elmiron. It was little understood why Elmiron works, but I would likely be on it for life as IC is a progressive condition.
To my amazement, the Elmiron appeared to get my urinary symptoms under control and I was seeing a break in the clouds. Sure, it wasn’t a holistic treatment for UTI, but it was getting results.
But another obstacle emerged from the shadows. My body had created so much fear of sex that I developed vaginismus, a condition where your pelvic floor tightens and spasms with pain during intercourse.
Even when I felt confident enough to be intimate, the pain was even more of a deterrent.
Life, Sex, And Fertility With Interstitial Cystitis
The years passed, and sex continued to be problematic despite my symptoms rarely rearing their ugly heads. But, we managed to regain enough closeness that we were ready to conceive a child. Considering my reproductive-area troubles to date, I was convinced we would encounter many hurdles on the path to parenthood.
I prepped my body with every vitamin, supplement, and mindset I could get my hands on. I tracked my ovulation with laser precision, and at the first sign of fertility, I invited my husband home for some baby-making. If we would inevitably wait years before conceiving, at least we could have some fun along the way!
“Several weeks later, while sharing a pirate-themed hotel room in Disney World with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend, we discovered I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with shock, awe, joy, and terror. I thought, how could this have happened so fast when my body was so broken? Could it handle bringing this bundle of joy into the world? How could I be so lucky?”
The only blemishes on my otherwise pristine pregnancy? Needing two rounds of antibiotics for UTIs I wouldn’t have known about if not for positive routine urine tests. One more positive would mean prophylactic antibiotics for the duration of my gestation.
This was far from a holistic treatment for UTI and I wasn’t too keen on that idea. So I banned intimacy for the remaining twelve weeks. As a result of the antibiotics, I developed a yeast infection which would last for three years and made me repulsed at the thought of intimacy at all.
The Best Laid Birth Plans…
Forty-one weeks into my pregnancy, birth night finally arrived. The next twenty-seven hours were a blur of excruciating contractions, ice-cold triage rooms, and unequipped nurses. I reluctantly surrendered to a slew of interventions including an epidural, pitocin, and ultimately, an emergency C-section after 3 hours of pushing at the end zone.
The OB theorized that in addition to my baby’s size and crooked position, the tightness of my pelvic floor muscles may have prevented his natural exit.
And so began the first day of the most physically excruciating period of my life: breastfeeding.
I was bent on giving my son a better chance at health than I had. But our nursing relationship was problematic, as my gentle giant’s iron jaws and voracious appetite caused a wave of white-knuckle challenges including plugged ducts, mastitis, burning skin contusions, and nerve damage.
I also developed Raynaud’s syndrome; after he would finish eating, my nipples would turn white and my body felt like it was being electrocuted. When I would ice my nipples to stop the burning, I would trigger the Raynaud’s.
My commitment endured despite pleas to stop from well-meaning friends and family. After ten achingly long weeks, an average of one hour of sleep per day, six lactation consultants, near-daily doctor visits and thousands of dollars in salves, supplements, and even an oral surgery for my son, I finally pulled the “plug”.
This was a turning point in how my mind processed pain, and I began to see my body as a sort of prison. I imagined doing terrible things to myself, like removing my body parts, or wishing I could close my eyes forever.
Anything to end the endless pain.
My Chronic Illness Spiral Accelerates
Because my ex and I were rarely intimate, the one respite I enjoyed was being UTI-free. But day after day of practically no sleep and then returning to a long commute and work day began to take their toll.
Each day it was more difficult to get out of bed; my joints would ache and snap, my muscles screamed, and my head was clouded with fatigue. Soon, I was missing work every week and placing emergency calls to my mother to help get my son to daycare. I could barely move or keep my eyes open.
One foggy day I noticed I had deep, vertical lines on my finger pads, like pruning from spending too long in the bath. I almost dismissed it, but decided to look it up on the Goog.
What I found would launch the most profound transformation of my life.
Holistic Treatment For UTI: Discovering The Root Causes Of Chronic Illness
I discovered an article that attributed these vertical lines to adrenal fatigue, a condition where your adrenal glands get critically overworked from stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, etc.
After reading about the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue, I went to a mirror and gazed at myself closely for the first time in years.
I hardly recognized the person in the reflection. She had graying hair with a dry, crunchy texture. Her skin was pale and sallow, with hollow cheekbones and deep purple undereye circles. Her turquoise eyes looked inflamed and glassy with fatigue. I knew that something was wrong.
I was about to find out just how many things were wrong.
A further search for adrenal fatigue revealed a local doctor who practiced “functional medicine,” which treats the body and mind as a single, interrelated system that requires balancing to thrive.
This is opposed to conventional medicine, which looks at the body as disconnected, independent body parts that need treatment with no regards to the effect on the holistic body.
The doctor’s advanced functional lab tests revealed a sinister story that stretched well beyond my bladder. I had Stage 4 adrenal exhaustion and was hypothyroid, pre-diabetic, pre-Celiac, critically Vitamin D-deficient, and gluten, dairy, and soy intolerant. This was no longer just about a holistic treatment for UTI, it was about holistically healing my entire system.
My body was sending a desperate plea for help, and finally, I was listening.
First Steps On The Road To Chronic Illness Recovery
Overnight, I went from a glutinous glutton who scarfed cheese-drenched pasta twice a day to a radical “real food” elimination diet called the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP). This diet focuses on minimizing inflammation and increasing nutrient-density.
The change was so drastic that I rapidly lost 15 pounds and started hallucinating levitating tofu ramen bowls. It was HARD.
After being “AIP” for 4 months as well as on herbal parasite and adrenal protocols, my fog gradually began to lift. It became easier to get out of bed and I had more and more energy to care for my son. I was getting back to work and putting on healthy weight.
The deep cuts in my finger pads softened to light lines. I was able to reintroduce many foods. And I was finally able to ooze out of bed in the mornings.
Holistic Treatment For UTI: How Viral Co-Infections Compromised My Immune System
Emboldened by this progress, I began working with a new Lyme-literate practitioner to keep peeling this very stinky onion back. I invested tens of thousands of dollars I didn’t have into the most cutting-edge labs functional medicine had to offer.
Further tests revealed a parasite called cryptosporidium and activated Epstein-Barr, infectious stowaways that were corrosive to my immune system. And despite returning a negative Western blot test for Lyme, an advanced tick-borne test called Igenix found a Babesia co-infection.
I was carrying a herd of bad buggies, but my lifestyle had created a perfect host environment for them to host their own bodily Burning Man festival. It was as much the germ as the soil, and I had to get both into balance or I would fail to thrive.
“A friend once asked, “How could one person have so many illnesses?” But of course, it made perfect sense. These buggers were cozy and collaborative bedfellows, confounding and compromising my immune system in tandem. Getting my system back into balance was key to making the treatment work.”
A major milestone I hit during this time was being antibiotic-free for three years. I performed extensive gut healing protocols, overhauled my sleep, ditched alcohol, and biohacked every angle of my lifestyle to be more biologically aligned. It dawned on me that a holistic treatment for UTI was about so much more than my bladder.
The work for me paid off in spades, but my husband wasn’t thrilled about these changes; I was transforming into a fundamentally different woman than the one he’d married. And so, we began to drift emotionally as well as physically, and the pain of intimacy only worsened.
The Unwelcome Return Of UTI In My New Bedroom
Around this time, a friend told me about the idea of psychosomatic and spiritual traumas manifesting as chronic pain or disease. After reading “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay, I began to realize that there was likely an energetic component of this pain. It forced me to ask myself, is my body trying to communicate something?
The idea that sex wouldn’t hurt one day was impossible, as long as I was with my ex. But the idea that another man would accept my body for its limitations was even more implausible to me. I believed he was my last chance at love, and yet, my body was telling me otherwise.
In a last-ditch attempt to save our marriage, we flew to St. Lucia for a relationship retreat with my coaches. We returned home uncoupled.
“And now, I was staring down the barrel of navigating the divorcee dating world as a single mom with a mountain of medical debt and a skeleton in her sacred closet.”
New Love, New Hunt For Holistic Treatment For UTI
Several weeks later, I found my answer. I met my current partner who became the sturdiest support system of my second life. His commitment in spite of my “nuances” has defied my limiting belief system.
And, with our deep love and commitment came intimacy. A lot of intimacy, because my vaginismus had amazing resolved itself. As such, my painful dance with urinary tract infections resurfaced. And this time, it was so bad that just one encounter would set off a bladder flare. After being UTI antibiotic-free and working to heal my gut for three years, I had no choice but to take 15 rounds of antibiotics in less than two years.
Each time I took antibiotics I could almost see my gut microbiome disintegrating. I could once again feel my brain get foggier, my joints get stiffer, my digestion grow sluggish, and my energy levels dip.
So we embarked upon a renewed feverish hunt for new leads on holistic treatment for UTI. I was devastated that this plague had followed me into my new relationship.
“Interestingly, my partner had managed symptoms of prostatitis for 16 years with herbals. At first I thought it was cute that one of the many things we shared were ornery urinary tracts. I didn’t realize how important that information would turn out to be.”
The Link Between Endometriosis And Bladder Symptoms
One day, I noticed that part of my abdomen strangely rose up even when lying flat on my back. I sent a photo to a close friend who is a holistic doctor. She asked if I’d ever been checked for endometriosis.
Endometriosis refers to the presence of tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus), elsewhere in the body. The term had been casually tossed around by prior practitioners, but after going on yet another research binge, I realized there could be a lot of answers here.
I began seeing a five-star endometriosis surgeon, and based upon her clinical assessment and x-rays, I had tissue gluing my uterus to my rectum and possible adhesions to my bladder. This was the likely culprit behind my intense pelvic tightness and cervical pain. She said it was quite possible that I had tissue stuck to my bladder as well, creating chronic symptoms.
Once again, I thought for sure, “This is it!” This explains EVERYTHING, I MUST have tissue stuck all over my bladder and that’s why it’s so crabby! My search for a holistic treatment for UTI had led me down roads I didn’t expect.
Several months later, just after my 38th birthday, I placed my delicate belly under the knife for the third time. Post-surgery, my bleary eyes opened and I peeked down at my abdomen, my hand held firmly in my partner’s. Three fresh incisions and a fourth in my C-section scar. My belly was beginning to look like it got in a fight with Edward Scissorhands.
Pelvic Pain And Endometriosis: A Partial Answer
The surgeon entered and we prepared for the debrief. The surgery was a huge success in her eyes: in addition to removing the endometrial tissue from my uterus, she found and repaired two abdominal hernias.
She also found that scar tissue from my appendectomy had climbed up to my ribs and scarring from my C-section had grabbed onto my right hip and colon, creating a cat’s cradle of pain. However, there was no tissue found on my bladder, as suspected. Despite a twinge of disappointment, I still felt a huge relief.
“By the way,” she paused before leaving, “Could you send me your paleo apple crumble recipe?” I looked at her, puzzled. “As you were going under, you described this healthy apple crumble you made and we were salivating by the time you were out!”
We laughed at my “crumble mumble”. I enjoyed her good-natured humor in a moment where I was still reverberating from having my insides raided. Warmth like that in a medical environment is a rare gift which I gladly accepted.
The recovery went smoothly, my pelvic pain alleviated as promised, and I was feeling optimistic. It wasn’t meant to last. Soon after we resumed intimacy, I was hit with two more UTI’s in six weeks.
A fresh emotion began to set in and replace its predecessor, impatience: frustration. I was $10k poorer, thanks to my journey toward a holistic treatment for UTI, and no closer to warding off these blights.
Exploring Non-Antibiotic And Natural UTI Treatments
The time had come to start seeing this with a fresh lens. A light went off when my new functional gynecologist said, “When we’re playing whack-a-mole with infection, when one goes away and another pops up, we ask, who are you angry with?”
I commenced an expensive foray into energetic healing. I dedicated myself to a rigorous meditation practice, Reiki, EMDR trauma work, chakra clearings, crystal ceremonies, intuitive massage, sound healing, shamanic rituals pulling ancient malevolent entities from my body, etc.
It turns out my holistic treatment for UTI extended past the physical. I’m sure many of these modalities were essential in teaching me mindfulness, emotional healing, and self-care. I do believe these practices allowed my body to come into never-before experienced levels of equilibrium. And, yet, it didn’t stem the UTI tide on its own.
Ureaplasma UTI, Prostatitis, And A Not-So-Sterile Bladder
Upon getting treated for yet another infection, my second urogynecologist mentioned a bacterium called ureaplasma. As before, I dove into the recesses of the internet, and found that it is one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections. But because it doesn’t cause obvious symptoms for many, it’s barely on anyone’s radar.
According to my research, a rise in infertility, prostatitis and prostate cancer were now linked to underlying ureaplasma and mycoplasma infections.
Suddenly, something clicked. My infections worsened after meeting my new partner, AND he had suffered prostatitis for sixteen years. Perhaps we needed a holistic treatment for UTI, not just for myself, but for my partner as well. We found a cutting-edge urologist specializing in prostatitis, and he performed a an advanced PCR semen culture.
Lo and behold, our suspicions were confirmed. My partner and I both had ureaplasma. He had thought his herbal remedy was curing the issue, when in reality, it was possibly only minimizing the inflammation symptoms of an underlying infection. We were both put on a new kind of antibiotic appropriate for ureaplasma.
My partner was able to clear his infection with the first round of antibiotics and his symptoms abated for the first time in 16 years. For me, not so much. Two more infections hit in the month after finishing antibiotics.
You can learn more about UTI and prostatitis in our expert video series.
Thinking Out Of The Box With Cutting-Edge Holistic Treatment For UTI
Back to the Big Gun urologist I went. I expressed my concern over what repeated antibiotic usage would do to my gut health in which I had invested years and a fortune to heal.
Right away, he mentioned two UTI treatments I’d never heard of that weren’t yet available in the US. One was Uromune, a UTI vaccine which he suggested was highly successful in preventing E. Coli based urinary infections.
The other was an instillation cocktail of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin called iAluril which touted the ability to recoat the bladder lining with its inherent GAG-layer components.
So off I flew to London to procure these promising potions. I spent three months attempting to keep the daily-dose vaccine cold but not frozen (not an easy feat for a frequent world traveler) and learned the interesting process of self- catheterization.
The instillations prompted me to think about the delivery system of medicine. I would ask the Big Gun critical thinking questions like, “Why send antibiotics and probiotics all the way through the digestive tract? What about instilling them directly in the bladder to avoid compromising your gut ecology?”
Another flat no.
A year after administering these UTI medications, my infections were a still regular, unwelcome guest in my home. Hope was quickly draining from my otherwise bottomless well of endurance.
The Worst UTI Of All And Finding Hope In A Hopeless Place
What brought me to this website was a UTI that dramatically changed the game, and a rare crisis of faith for someone who considers herself a fighting spirit.
When all of my immune symptoms began to close in again, I worked with a new holistic doctor who used Applied Kinesiology (or muscle strength testing) to confirm my diagnoses and treat them with a specific plan.
Some treatments like ionic foot baths and low-dose immunotherapy were pleasant enough.
Others not so much, like Procaine scar injections, painful acupuncture points, and a neural therapy pelvic injection with a 12-inch needle called a Frankenhauser shot. At first I experienced detox symptoms, but slowly I began to feel some of the full-body symptoms abate.
And this time…no UTIs after intimacy.
UTI-free days turned into weeks, and I was elated to be having regular intimacy again. For four whole months.
“For the first time in a long time, I thought, “This MUST be it. We did it. We’ve cracked the code!” I was finally beginning to see a lifetime of intimate bliss ahead of me strewn with rose petals, not tears.”
But it wasn’t to last. Several days after a moment of blissful ignorance during an intimate encounter, I awoke with that familiar building pressure.
But what made this one different was how fast it traveled to my back. Not in twenty years and who-knows-how many bouts had it become this severe. I was now on a clock. I believed that if I didn’t get properly treated right away, I was dying.
I Began To Question Everything About My UTI Approach
Becoming despondent, I started journaling an essay on when it’s time to give up hope and just accept the possibility that you will never heal. It was a dark moment.
My partner, an eternal optimist, not so nicely explained that while he adored me, he would have none of this hopelessness. That the only me he knew and loved was the fighter in me.
Both scared and moved by his decree, I walked outside to the sunset. Literally brought to my knees, I shouted, “WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME??” to my body. Through my tears, I did something that I have rarely done in my life:
Sputtering the most heartfelt, vulnerable plea of my life. I begged the universe to give me an answer, I begged it to bring meaning or purpose to this experience. I begged to understand what the lesson was I still had to learn.
“I had sacrificed so much to transform my life as a result of my health struggles, and had been able to assign meaning to all struggles except for this. When the staircase disappears, how do you take the next step?”
A Questionable At-Home UTI Test Result
When I returned inside, I felt a sense of weight lifting in releasing that energy from my body. As I was shutting my eyes to sleep, an alarm registered. My symptoms were returning. This had NEVER happened before. Never had I been on a second round of strong UTI antibiotics and had my symptoms relapse during treatment.
This was not good.
I ran to the bathroom and peed fire, making sure to take another at-home UTI test. Very positive for both leukocytes and nitrites. I shook my head in angry disbelief and watched as every last bit of my optimism evaporated in front of my eyes.
I returned to our room shaking, and quietly informed my partner that it was back. My incredibly devoted yet alarmed partner leapt out of bed to assist. This time, we located a hospital in Philadelphia with a highly-rated urology department, and we headed straight for their emergency room.
The Missing Link: UTI Testing And All Its Flaws
We entered the drafty Philly ER and waited to be seen. I was finally admitted and gave a sample for yet another UTI culture. I was sure this one would have answers.
We grew antsy and exhausted as the hours passed, yet I insisted we stay until the UTI test results came back. Finally they arrived, and somehow, they were negative. I sank further into despair. What was happening in my body?
Just when we were about to leave with no more answers than when we arrived, I Googled “UTI test false negative”. I didn’t understand how a measly at-home UTI test struck so positive, yet a hospital test was so clearly negative.
Then, I saw it.
An article on this very website called, “Why Your UTI Test May Be Negative Even When You Have Symptoms.” This article was an exposé of the worldwide epidemic of false negative urine tests. How the threshold used to measure a positive UTI culture result was based on hardly relevant or current kidney test guidelines. It broke down the components of UTI at-home test strips and why they are unreliable.
It also confirmed that the bladder isn’t sterile. Contrary to what every doctor had told me in the past, the bladder not only isn’t sterile, but there are hundreds of bacteria in normal bladders alone!
The Link Between Chronic Or Recurrent UTI And Biofilms
Then I saw a word I had heard before, but never with regard to UTI’s.
I stared at this word and began to ponder its implications. I had heard the term biofilm mentioned in passing when being treated for Babesia years ago, but in a fairly offhand way.
But this information was indicating that biofilms could have played a starring role my 20-year melodrama. In layman’s terms, biofilms are like protective apartment building structures that form around bacteria, viruses, and fungi that have successfully evaded antibiotics and attached to the bladder lining.
As the pathogens thrive in their slimy little lofts, the buildings grow and eventually rupture, sending batches of bugs free floating and wreaking havoc in your urinary tract. Repeated antibiotic use doesn’t penetrate biofilms and only creates more orphan bacteria to get adopted by the biofilm.
Shadowy puzzle pieces that had floated just beyond my grasp were beginning to coalesce into a cohesive picture. My mind raced as I put it all together. Could these protected colonies of bacteria and fungi have been at the root of all of this, and not a single one of my doctors had known about it?
“A new emotion surfaced…I was ANGRY. How could all the so-called experts not mention this to me? Of course the bladder isn’t sterile; as a mucous membrane how could it be? The preposterousness of that notion set in. I realized that millions of women could be suffering in silent despair as a result of misinformation.”
On this site, I saw a call to submit your UTI story. Perhaps I could share my saga and help someone like me in need. Suddenly, the idea this journey could have meaning descended upon me like a gentle snowfall. I rapidly filled out the form and closed my eyes in humble prayer as I clicked submit.
Finding The Root Cause For Recurrent UTI
The next morning, we made an appointment with the functionally-oriented nurse practitioner listed on this site. As my incredible partner peppered her staff with insightful questions, they replied with remarkable expertise and compassion. I knew we were onto something.
My first meeting with this practitioner was living proof that guardian angels walk this earth. Here was a nurse practitioner who had dedicated thirty years of her career to cracking the code on recurrent urinary tract infection. Her impressive 80% success rate was hard to ignore.
She demonstrated jaw dropping knowledge, like how a genetic mutation may affect how I coagulate blood and produce resistant biofilms. That 90% of her patients also have a tick-borne disease, and that vector-borne diseases play a huge role in biofilm.
She didn’t just care that I tested positive for Babesia; she’d be looking for which species. That my Raynaud’s breastfeeding nightmare was an omen of my biofilms’ resilience due to excess fibrin production. This knowledge was going to be crucial for busting the apartment buildings open for permanent eradication.
“She said many things I hadn’t heard before, but there was one thing she didn’t say. She didn’t say, “I’m sorry but we’re out of options”, “I’ve never seen a case as advanced as yours”, or, “You must be built differently.” Rather, I was close to her average patient. There are times where being average feels extraordinary.”
At Last, A Real Path To Holistic Treatment For UTI
Ruth ordered a battery of urine, vaginal, and blood tests for me and my partner. These were the most advanced tests available, called Next Generation Sequencing. They wouldn’t require enough bacteria to grow a culture. They were DNA-based, so if there were bacteria in there, we’d find them.
These tests finally found ANSWERS. Multiple rounds of answers, for both my partner and I. This time, we are using expert guidance, administering targeted medicine, approaching my health from a genetic and holistic lens, and persistently staying the course.
And yet, I still cautiously hold my optimism at an arm’s length. Even Ruth admits that it’s hard to understand connection between biofilms and my sex-related UTIs. This means we simply don’t know enough yet to ring the victory bell.
And to bide our time, we’ve been “forced” to explore other avenues of intimacy that have inadvertently opened new worlds of pleasure to both of us. If life hands you lemons, you might as well make some sweet & spicy lemonade!
My Parting Wish For Holistic UTI Healing For You
It feels so good to finally believe I may be on the path to true root cause resolution. And to know how this journey spawned a profound lifestyle transformation that will serve me and my family for years.
It also inspired a passion for holistic wellness that expanded to creating a popular health blog and acting as an advocate for women to get empowered with vital knowledge for radiant health.
And yet, here’s my disclaimer: it would feel inauthentic of me to blindly proclaim, this is it! I’m done! I can’t live in a place of extreme optimism that would allow for epic disappointment.
Rather, I say, I may never get to completely break up with UTIs as I once hoped. But, I can hope to transition to a relationship where if one strikes, I’m not crushed or set back in months of healing work.
Like any healing journey, this process will mean several steps forward, and one step back at times. This time, I’ll learn something valuable with each step back and use it as a springboard forward again.
I am determined to see myself as a UTI survivor, not just a UTI sufferer.
I am committed to recalibrating my perception of my body as friend, not foe. A loyal compatriot who stayed by my side through battles of infection, exhaustion, and poor lifestyle choices. An ally who hasn’t quit on me yet.
I’m finally ready to show my body the same solidarity and commitment it has shown me. And to view pain not as self-inflicted punishment, but as a warning system that she needs my help.
It feels incredible to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of my relationship with UTI’s with a new general in my camp and a concrete plan to walk away from their reign of pain.
And here I am, in this moment, helping you. Giving my arduous journey meaning, at last.
Here Is My Prayer Of UTI Hope:
As long as there’s always one more option, one more resource, one more door to open, hope lives.
As long as you have a pulse, KEEP GOING.
And you never know. You can find hope in as hopeless a place as a chilly ER at 2:00am on a Tuesday night.
And since you’re here, it appears that hope has already found you.
To get answers to commonly asked questions about chronic and recurrent UTI, visit our FAQ page. Share your questions and comments below, or get in touch with our team.
Fascinating read–thank you for sharing! I was surprised to see that you did not mention D-Mannose as a prophylactic UTI remedy. I use it every time after intercourse and have had great success with it. A simply sugar whose chemical composition allows it to “grab” e.coli bacteria on its way out of the bladder/urethra. It was a game changer for me. I also had stage 4 endometriosis–another huge component to my recurrent UTIs. Holding all the best for my fellow sufferers on the “Pissed Off” path! Be well.
Hi Chrissy, we have an article about d-mannose for people who would like to learn more. Thanks for sharing your experience! Melissa
I have had UTIs for over 20 years related to inter course. I would love more info about biofilms.
Hi Paris, we’ve covered biofilms in more detail in this article. You’re also welcome to send us a direct message if you have questions. Melissa
I am concerned about the possibility of being treated with antibiotics as i have spent a lot of time helping my gut repair. So i am very interested to hear more about how and where i can learn about alternative treatment for urinary problems. Much thanks, I look forward to hearing from you, Sarah
Hi Sarah, I saw you also sent me an email so I’ve replied there with more information. Melissa
Over the past 5 6 years I have been having
Uti, however I don’t have pain when I need to wee. However I feel the pain on either side off my track. The antibiotics clear the uti unfortunately it comes back after a few months. I do send in a sample again it comes back negative. Moving forward I’m not sure what the answer is, what questions to ask.
Hi Colin, can you please send us a direct message and let us know where you’re based so we can share appropriate resources? Melissa
Thank you sharing your story! I’ve been experiencing the same thing & was googling answers & was divinely guided here.
I started getting constant UTIs since being w my BF. I am a metaphysical healer so did a lot of emotional trauma releasing in this life, past life & DNA. It helped but came back when we resumed intimacy.
Today I wondered if my body was resisting him bc I’m a Lightworker & he can be very negative. & I know the bladder is associated w FEAR.
Then I read your story & everything clucked. He, too, had prostatitis. So maybe that’s what’s been triggering my UTIs!!
Thank you again! Namaste 🙏
Hi CC, I hope you find some answers soon. You are always welcome to get in touch with our team if you have any questions. Melissa
I was diagnosed with IC in my twenties. I was able to get it under control by changing my diet pretty drastically but it took a long time. It is back 20 years later and I’m not sure what to do as my diet is pretty clean. I have cut out an extra stuff that could be aggrevating with no results as of yet. I feel like I’m going back down that rabbit hole and would so appreciate any ideas or help.
Hi Kyra, I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing that. There’s nothing worse than the ‘oh no – here we go again…’ feeling! Have you found a practitioner to work with? We hear from many that this marked a turning point in finding answers. If you’re not sure where to find one, send us a direct message with your location, along with any other specific questions you might have, and we will share what info we can via email. Susy
I am diagnosed with Acute urinary tract infection over a year now. Antibiotics can’t longer fight the bacteria called e.coli. I am loosing weight, my bones are getting weaker, feeling dizzy all the time, low blood pressure what can I do. My four months old child has also contacted the disease and am breastfeeding him and I don’t know if the breast milk is save for him or not. Please help me on what to do. thanks
Hi Salome, sorry to hear you’re experiencing that. Can you send me a direct message and let me know where you’re based so I can share relevant resources? Melissa
I have been getting re-current UTI’s since I was 20yrs old. trying to find a holistic approach. The longest I went without a UTI was from October to January. I immediately showered after sex and drank two bottles of water, one day I didn’t do that and it came back 🙁 .
Hi Melissa, you’re welcome to get in touch directly if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help out however we can. Melissa
I can relate to this story so much! I’ve even had three different Frankenhauser ganglion injections, which only helped for about an hour until the pain came back!
I finally did Microgen dx testing after suffering with bladder problems for 4 years, and lo and behold, I had high amounts of Enterococcus. I’ve done one round of antibiotics, but it still came back with a medium amount, so I’m on another round.
I’m hopeful that I can finally be done with this nightmare, and I am so thankful for all of the stories and information on this site!
Hi Heather, I’m so glad to hear you are making progress. Feel free to get in touch again if you have any questions. Good luck with everything. Melissa
I am currently brewing a raging bladder infection. I can’t take antibiotics. Please, help me.
Hi Mary, can you send me a direct message and let me know where you’re based so I can share relevant information? Melissa
So much to learn!
Thank you! I am a simgle mom, and am surviving UTI’s for 9 years. Some days I just go through it, and some days I feel as I can not endure it anymore..but my son is my reason.
As my eyes tear, IDK what tomorrow brings.
Hi! I am curious, did you manage to save your bladder in the end? How did it go with mrs. Kriz?
Hi Andrea, if you send us a direct message I can forward it to Lea and she can respond via email. Melissa
Hi Lena, I passed on your comment to Lea, I’m sure it will mean a lot. If you have any questions, you can always send us a direct message, and we can pass it on, or provide resources that may be helpful. Melissa
So much of your story mirrors mine. In my case, I had kidney infections as a child, but the big assault on my immune system was being burnt at 14. I have had two periods where UTIs turned into chronic symptoms for months with a time and I spent two years on antibiotics from 2014- early 2017. Due to an allergy I had to go off the long term antibiotics then and got my Mercury fillings removed. This changed my life and since then I have only had a few acute UTIs.
After a few months of extreme stress this year though I developed a UTI and BV at the same time at the beginning of March. I was treated for both but the UTI returned two days after stopping the antibiotic.
Does Ruth treat international patients?
Hi Lynn, sorry to hear your symptoms have returned, but great you’ve managed to overcome them at different times. Ruth Kriz is no longer accepting new patients, but I can share some information via email that may be helpful, if you send me a direct message. Melissa
I was so hopeful, until I saw the comment that Ruth is no longer accepting new patients. Now I’m not quite sure where to turn.
Hi Ania, can you send me a direct message and let me know where you’re based so I can share any resources that may be helpful? Melissa
Hi Melissa. I sent you a message. Thanks.
Thanks Lynn, I just emailed you a response. Melissa
Hi Singh, has she tried taking D-Mannose? It can help flush out E. coli! Praying for your mom!
Hi Amy, we’ve covered the philosophy behind estrogen treatment, and the hormonal connection to UTI in some of our expert videos. Dr. Tim Hlavinka on HRT and hormones, the science behind UTIs with Dr. Krystal Thomas-White, and Dr. Angelish Kumar on menopause and UTI. I hope you find them helpful! Melissa
If it is ecoli, try D Mannose – SO much more effective than Hiprex. I found that cranberry pills, (at least 60,000 strong) seem to take the sting away, I don’t think they get rid bacteria once it has set it.
Would love to hear about the estrogen cream treatment – what is the philosophy behind it? I do suspect that there is some connection because I get them all the time but during pregnancies they seemed to settle. Now they are back with vengeance, I think it’s a shift in hormones.