My First UTI Made Me Feel Out Of Place In My Own Body

By Susy Peddie

3 mins

I can count the number of times I’ve taken antibiotics on one hand – three of those were to treat a UTI. My first UTI was definitely a let down in that regard.

I’m lucky to have been pretty healthy so far. When I go to the doctor I can say ‘no, no, no’ to the usual array of questions. History of cancer in the family, heart attacks, taking any medications? No.

So when I got my first UTI in my early twenties, I really had no idea what was going on. I was suddenly pitched into incredible discomfort and pain and was completely beside myself. I’d never felt so out of place in my own body.

“Looking back I’m kind of amazed we aren’t given more information about something as common as UTIs.”

I mean, 50% of females will get a UTI in their lifetime, yet I don’t remember learning anything in sex ed about it, and when I got my first UTI I certainly wasn’t prepared.

It was a Sunday, but I was lucky to live over the road from an after-hours surgery. I went straight there and was prescribed a course of antibiotics which cleared the issue up pretty quickly.

Immediately after my first UTI, I did a bit of research online. I didn’t feel particularly enlightened and I certainly didn’t find any answers.

But I did end up shuffling off to the pharmacy and covertly asking if there was something I could get over the counter that might help if I thought another UTI was coming on.

I remember feeling pretty embarrassed, trying to whisper my requests to the pharmacist and cringing when they repeated everything back to me.

Eventually I left with fizzy cranberry-flavoured tablets and sachets of powder that mixed into a strange bubbly, yet bland, brew. I wasn’t really sure how they were supposed to work, but the pharmacist told me they were the best option available.

These sat on a shelf gathering dust until the next UTI came along a couple of years later.


My First UTI Wasn’t My Last

Then: it was all on. I think the tube of fizzy cranberry tablets recommended one every four hours. I took four in one hour. It’s amazing how quickly you ignore dosage instructions when you’re in that kind of pain.

I now know that I’m not the only one who’s done that, we’ve heard plenty of stories from others who have tried absolutely everything for UTIs, often guessing the dosage. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

I think I even dissolved the cranberry tablets in straight cranberry juice, just to really up the dose, and alternated it with glasses of the weird sachet mixes.

“None of my remedies worked. This was a stubborn UTI.”

Finally, I gave up on the remedies and headed for the after-hours clinic again, almost hugging the doctor with relief when they handed me a prescription for antibiotics.

I know I’m lucky to have only had three UTIs over the years, because they are awful. It doesn’t mean I will never get one again though.

And the more I delve into the murky world of UTIs, the more I realise how common they are.


We Should Talk More About Recurrent UTIs

UTIs are all too often a taboo topic. Sure, you might discuss it with your close friends or partner, but it usually doesn’t go much further. Which needs to change – because this is something affecting millions of females.

If you do chat with your friends you’ll find that at least a few of them have stories to tell, and that some have been quietly suffering for years.

This is exactly what happened to me when I became involved in this project.

“Each friend I spoke to either had their own experience with recurrent UTIs, or knew someone who did.”

And while my own story is thankfully free from recurrent or chronic UTIs, it was eye-opening to find out how lucky I’ve been, so far.

As with any common health issue, there’s a plethora of information online. A lot of it is emotionally charged, intensely personal, and ultimately unhelpful.

A UTI remedy might work for one person, but not for the next. Or it might be effective the first time, but not the second.


Female Health And Tech Go Hand-In-Hand

I got involved with Live UTI Free because I think there’s never been a better time to bring health issues like this out into the open.

There’s a huge amount of exciting new progress and research happening at the moment, particularly in the female health sphere.

Our access to technology is revolutionising the space. Fertility and cycle tracking apps, for example, are empowering us to understand and be in tune with our bodies.

While this access to technology is wonderful, it also means there is a glut of information, and not all of it is factual and educational.

UTIs make you feel very vulnerable, and putting the wrong information in front of a vulnerable person can lead them down the wrong path pretty quickly.”

When I got my first UTI, I was in the dark. With this site, we’re bringing the right information to light, and helping to bring the conversation out into the open. We’re doing it with an attractive, user-centric product. It’s a big first step.

Our aim is to empower recurrent UTI sufferers to understand the issue on a deeper level and map their own path to treatment.

And I really believe Live UTI Free is a great place to start, especially for those who have been battling with recurrent UTIs for a long time.

There’s also a bigger picture here. Understanding the treatment process and eventually being able to live UTI free will inevitably lead to a better understanding of what makes you tick, what makes you healthy and strong. And that can only be good.

We are incredibly complex beings – and understanding and knowing our own bodies is a beautiful thing.


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