How I Beat Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

By Melissa Kramer

11 mins

If I could start this process again I would do it differently… Obviously, I would choose a body that had a magical force field against recurrent urinary tract infections.

And maybe one that was a little more tolerant of food, and also possibly one that wasn’t prone to being in between clothing sizes for every brand that ever existed.

But you know what they say… Hindsight is 20/20.

As it turns out, I was really good at getting UTIs. If getting UTIs was a desirable skill, I nailed that skill for almost five years, with barely a break.

“When I look back at my experience with recurrent urinary tract infections, I have flashbacks of traumatic moments followed by lingering anxiety about when the next one would hit me.”

I had my first UTI at 23. The after-hours doctor asked, ‘Are you sure you don’t have your period?’ – clearly unaware of the danger created by patronising a female in the midst of a UTI.

I managed to stay calm and suppress the urge to retort, ‘You think I can’t tell the difference between my period and blood coming out of my urethra??’ (But seriously, really?).

All I wanted was something to fix the pain, and for them to leave my sight immediately. They delivered in both respects.

The antibiotics worked within a few hours and I never thought about it again… Until nine years later.

 

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Hit Hard

I was going through a stressful relationship breakup, and selling my business, and was completely run down.

The UTI hit me fast. The pain was just as intense as I remembered, but I didn’t panic quite as much as the first time. I knew I’d get antibiotics when I showed up at the emergency room.

Plus, I didn’t have time to think about it. Life was way too hectic for me to put any energy towards my health.

Again, the antibiotics worked and I dismissed it. But the symptoms crept back. A month later I was at a friend’s farm when it got so bad I had to make a run for the hospital.

Driving more than an hour was too much for me and I ended up squatting on the side of a dangerous road in the dark more than once.

“Recurrent urinary tract infections had officially become a part of my life, though I had no idea of this at time.”

The thing is, when it first hits you, it’s out of the blue, and you never imagine this is going to be your life now. You take antibiotics, it goes away, you’re generally healthy, so chances are it was just an anomaly.

Even the second or third time can seem like a bit of a coincidence. The words ‘recurrent urinary tract infections’ don’t really register at this stage. You figure you just haven’t been sleeping enough, or maybe you’ve been fighting a virus and your immune system is just having a rough time.

Denial is probably the most accurate word for this phase. I was just so certain the antibiotics would work every time. Even though they didn’t.

Selling my business and packing up my life for a move overseas was my priority, and the frequent trips to the doctor for antibiotics were more of a nuisance than cause for concern.

“I thought I was being responsible when I asked my doctor for antibiotics to take abroad with me ‘in case I got another UTI’. That optimism is almost laughable now.”

 

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections In Every Port

A trip to the UK (from Australia) resulted in a UTI the day before my 30 hour flight home. I managed to get a single dose antibiotic from a walk-in clinic, but was still cracking sweats by the time I got to the airport.

I armed myself with water, demanded an aisle seat, and proceeded to drink water nonstop. I was using the bathroom every 20 minutes, like clockwork, and by the time I landed for my stopover in Hong Kong 13 hours later, I really thought I was on top of it.

How wrong I was. I boarded my flight for Sydney, and over the next 10 hours descended into fevers, chills, shakes and a little delirium.

At Sydney airport I missed my onward flight to Melbourne and broke down at the customer service desk. I barely remember stowing my bag in a locker and wandering around looking for help.

Fortunately, I was able to find the airport doctor, who prescribed antibiotics and anti-nausea pills.

I had forfeited my flight, but I didn’t care. I eventually made it home to Melbourne, a full 35 hours after the start of my journey, where I passed out for 20 hours. My body was defeated.

“Here’s where my life started to become broken into modules, based on UTIs.”

Like, ‘Which trip was that? Oh the one where I had the UTI when we were camping and I had to keep going outside in the cold to pee near that weird herd of sheep.’

Or, ‘Was that March or April? It must have been March, because I had that UTI at the same time as my period and food poisoning and it was my sister’s birthday and I had to call her between vomiting and peeing blood.’

I know it’s gruesome, but that’s exactly what I want to illustrate. Just how recurrent urinary tract infections can become an everyday thing. Even though they hurt just as much, every single time.

So three or four UTIs later I was living in a village in Greece. And when I say village, imagine a handful of houses on a hillside by the sea, hours from the nearest hospital.

And when I say houses, imagine a tiny, lovely, concrete box, with an outdoor bathroom beside an olive tree. It was a truly amazing, traditional experience, and I loved every minute of it  – between UTIs.

I sat on the toilet in that outdoor bathroom for a few hours at a time, debating whether to take the antibiotics I had brought with me and wondering whether my kidneys were actually disintegrating and coming out through my urethra.

Maybe my body needed to fight this on its own to get better? Maybe I would die in a remote village and my parents would have to expatriate my body.

The internet told me if there was blood in my urine, my kidneys were affected and I HAD to take antibiotics. So I took them. I didn’t die in a little village in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t even tell my parents how close they had come to organising an international funeral.

I was alive, but I wasn’t well.

 

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections & Lifestyle Changes

My symptoms seemed to hang around. I took drastic action and cut all sugar and processed carbs from my diet. I was running and swimming every day. I felt amazing aside from the constant threat of the next UTI.

After three months in Greece it was time to move to Berlin. I packed my bags, making sure to take those UTIs with me…

I became acquainted with the German healthcare system pretty quickly. I found a doctor who was willing to give me antibiotics whenever I got a UTI, and an extra prescription so I could self-administer them next time.

He also sent my urine to a lab a number of times. Every time we’d get the results it would show raised leukocyte levels, and ‘insignificant’ levels of bacteria, but generally nothing to report.

“So, according to the lab, I didn’t have a UTI. According to what I knew about my own body, I did, and it would not go away.”

I started researching and bringing information to my doctor about other organisms I wanted to get tested for. He was happy to comply. He didn’t know what else to do to help me.

Still the results were inconclusive.

By this time, I was around 18 months in. I was really starting to lose my patience and my sanity. I tried different doctors. Same deal. They did tests. And while they were sure I had an infection, they didn’t know what was causing it.

I was completely uninformed about testing, and why it wasn’t helping me figure this out.

On another trip home to Australia, I got a UTI between Berlin and London and missed my flight from London to Singapore. Instead I spent some quality time at a London hospital.

I’m eternally grateful to the amazing British Airways staff member who managed to get me a new flight without penalty. But I was completely fed up.

 

I Refused To Accept UTIs As My Future

It’s not in my nature to learn to deal with something that I know shouldn’t be. There is no way my body is built to crumble at the first hint of sex, or fatigue, or dehydration. I’ve always been stronger than that.

I’m pretty good at knowing exactly what is happening in my body and when. I’ve accurately diagnosed myself with injuries that have taken years to show up in scans. I’m my very own body whisperer.

So when something like this happens, it’s a virtual kick in the guts, or more specifically, the bladder.

“Getting a UTI every few weeks or months doesn’t give you much breathing room to feel human. To get things done.”

There is a constant shadow hanging over you. Restaurant and bar reconnaissance isn’t about people anymore. It’s about toilets. You learn to scope out any venue for its bathrooms. At any given moment, I could tell you where the nearest public toilet was.

I never went anywhere without a remedy in my bag. For me, that meant carrying antibiotics 24 hours a day.

Holiday planning came with underlying anxiety, and relationships – don’t even get me started on how recurrent urinary tract infections impact those.

Too late… I’m on a roll.

Sex becomes a source of anxiety. You’re constantly calculating the probability of getting a UTI each time. Talk about a buzz kill.

Then afterwards, you do your best to leave it a respectable amount of time before you jump up and head to bathroom to flush your urinary tract. Sexy. Post-sex contented snuggling is NOT a thing when you have recurrent UTIs.

I’m terrified now to think how close I came to giving up. I’m not even sure what that would have meant. UTIs forever? With each episode a little sooner than last time?

“One doctor suggested I ‘might just have irritable bladder or interstitial cystitis’. Such a throwaway comment, like it’s a minor nuisance or just one of those things.”

I knew that in their mind that was a life sentence, and I refused to accept it. It was a wake up call.

 

Recurrent UTIs: The Final Frontier

All the remedies and regimens I had tried weren’t committed enough. So I tried harder. I took more of everything.

I’d been fighting this for 3.5 years. Keeping my life together and keeping up appearances. I even managed to travel to the Balkans to volunteer for a few months. Sarajevo was the turning point.

I like to think of it as the final frontier. I got a UTI that never went away. The symptoms stayed with me despite taking a longer course of two different types of antibiotics. Antibiotics were done for me.

“Without finding out what was causing my UTI, I knew there was little chance of finding the right antibiotic and I wasn’t willing to continue taking them without being better informed.”

My body was suffering. It had become sensitive to everything.

I would get itchy daily, have yeast infections constantly, my digestion was shot and my contraceptive pill had ceased to control my cycle. I felt like a complete mess.

So I stopped taking antibiotics.

For me this was like taking a deep breath and jumping from a cliff into the sea, without knowing if I could really swim.

Being a pragmatic type of person, I got a range of blood tests to check my general health and discovered I was quite low in a few essential nutrients.

I also stopped taking the contraceptive pill, forever.

I emphasize this because quitting the pill felt momentous at the time. I had been on the pill since I was 16. Not for contraception then, but because I had periods so heavy I ended up severely anemic and required treatment.

Later, the pill became convenient for other reasons. I didn’t want to worry about irregular, heavy periods, but I also didn’t want to get pregnant, so the pill allowed me to live a life fairly free from those concerns.

My problems with the pill started around the same time as my recurrent urinary tract infections. The antibiotics I was taking meant my gut flora took a serious hit. I was getting yeast infections all the time and my periods started breaking through mid-cycle.

A gynecologist I saw suggested the pill I was on just wasn’t right for me and prescribed me another, then another. They didn’t help, and my unpredictable cycles continued.

Soon, I also broke out in a fairly controlled rash on my leg. More like a small patch of excruciating itchiness.

By some miracle, I was given an appointment with a trainee doctor in Berlin who identified the rash as part of a bigger problem – a possible candida overgrowth – aggravated by my frequent antibiotic use and the estrogen in my contraceptive pill.

She managed to convince me, by sharing her own experiences, to go off the pill. This was terrifying to me at the time. I imagined the heavy periods returning, and all that came with that, including the possibility of babies.

“But I was done making excuses for myself. I was ready to take control of my health.”

I created a regimen of strong herbal anti-fungals and antibacterials based on the advice of that doctor, then teamed them up with specific probiotics, and vitamins and minerals targeting my deficiencies.

I had tried all of these separately (minus the vitamins and minerals) after reading studies about each of them. But I had never tried them together, or with a plan and a timeframe in mind.

I started my new regimen.

 

The UTI Treatment Regimen

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good spreadsheet. And it’s amazing how much more fulfilling a health regimen can be when you plot it out, then mark off your progress daily. Feels so goooood.

I also downloaded a counter on my phone to track how many days since my last UTI – at the very least I would see how long I could last between episodes.

Every morning I woke up and looked at my counter. After 30 days I started to feel my first glimmer of hope. I was still getting twinges and minor symptoms, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

My first milestone came around that time, when I went hiking with my partner. Without a map, without a compass, and without enough water. We got lost. We were out there for 10 hours and I was dehydrated.

But I didn’t get a UTI. And I didn’t even think about it until I was home safe again. That alone blew my mind. This thing that had been on my mind for almost four years had somehow become an afterthought.

The counter kept going up. 45 days, 60 days, 90 days since a UTI. I suddenly felt like declaring myself officially healed of recurrent UTIs at the six month point might not be so far-fetched.

Sometime, around three months in, I had a relapse of symptoms and upped my regimen in response. That UTI never happened and my count remained intact.

Six months came and went and I set my sights on a year UTI free.

In case you’re curious, the process of correcting my gut flora, changing my diet and addressing my deficiencies had resulted in a super regular and almost symptom-free menstrual cycle.

Oh, and as another side note, the process also cleared up my yeast infections, and 90% healed my long term digestive issues. But that’s another story!

Now back to the UTIs…

Out of fear, leftover antibiotics had become a permanent feature in my bag. If I changed bags, the antibiotics came with me. I never opened them, but they were my psychological backup.

“Around the nine month mark I made the momentous decision to leave the antibiotics behind. It might sound overly dramatic, but tearing up your safety blanket and tossing it to the wind IS huge.”

When I embarked on my healing regimen, I envisioned massive celebrations at the one year mark, for I would then be officially free of recurrent urinary tract infections. In reality, I had put UTIs so far behind me that it was almost a non-event.

I did have some celebratory drinks, with an emphasis on the fact I COULD drink alcohol without fearing a UTI.

Which reminds me. I still have that counter. At the time of publication, I am 625 days UTI free. But it’s no longer important. I keep it as a memento of what I went through, and what it took to get past it.

 

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Are More Common Than You Think

Even after I broke the cycle of recurrent urinary tract infections, I never stopped researching. I’d been full circle through wondering what was wrong with me, to wondering what was wrong with doctors, to being furious at yet another female health issue overlooked by the healthcare industry, to wanting to do something about it.

And here we are.

Every study I read led me to another study. I gained a much clearer picture of recurrent urinary tract infections and chronic cystitis and why there is no standard approach to diagnosis and treatment.

I learned that although my tests kept coming back negative, I did in fact have an infection – it was the test that was flawed. The standard UTI test has always been flawed, and has been proven over and over again to be inadequate in diagnosing UTIs.

I reached out to others who know what recurrent urinary tract infections feel like. They have had me in hysterics as they recounted their now funny UTI stories in an interview.

Catching the train for 45 minutes in UTI-induced agony only to then resort to peeing in the front garden with the key in the door. So close!

Or getting approached by the police for suspicious behaviour resembling a drug deal, when all that was really happening was frantic clawing at a box of antibiotics. It turns out the police will back off quickly if they know a UTI is involved.

Then of course there is the infuriating side of this. The side that has left so many females feeling helpless.

The urologist whose best advice was that his own wife drinks aloe vera juice to help with her recurrent urinary tract infections. What the?

The many doctors and specialists who have said there’s nothing we can do about it, ‘some women just get recurrent urinary tract infections,’ and ‘it’s just your plumbing.’

Inspired and frustrated by the similarities I heard from all these stories, I gathered a team around me so we could speak to even more people.Then we started speaking to doctors, and researchers, and pieced together what we found.

The rest of my story exists within this website.

Our aim is to provide the most complete source of recurrent UTI and chronic cystitis information available. We’re only part of the way there, but we’ll continue adding new research as we find it.

We hope to lift others out of the murky waters of misinformation and empower them towards their own recovery.

You can help us by sharing your story.

 

Share your questions and comments below, or get in touch with your own story.

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Comments

Meghan joyce says:

Hi Melissa – thanks so much for writing this. I’m hoping to learn more about your regimen for minerals and probiotics. I am approaching the year 2 mark of recurrent uti’s and experiencing the hopelessness that comes with it all. I am tearing up while writing this. I’ve even had a cystoscopy surgery done by a urologist. Wasted so much time and money in and out of doctors offices and all I want is to have a normal sex life with my boyfriend. I have thought about cutting out carbs and sugar so you have inspired me to start that but I would love to learn more about which probiotics, vitamin c and other supplements you have added in. Please help!! Thank you <3

Hi Meghan, I can understand how you feel. I’ve definitely been there! I don’t share my regimen publicly as it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. If you’d like more info, you can send me a direct message. Melissa

Teddy Williamson says:

I am a 78 year old retired female and have been dealing with UTIs and Interstitial Cystitis for the last 5 years. 2 years ago l went to a urogynacologist who diagnosed me with Bladder Ulcers. When he did the first cystoscopy it looked as if the catheter had been inserted into a bag of blood. He took me to surgery and did an ablation of the ulcers. A Physical Therapist taught me how to relax the bladder muscles to avoid the muscle spasms. This help me get the painful spasms under control.
The spasms had been the worse part of my IC diagnoses.There have been times that I have seriously considered a cystectomy.

Hi Teddy, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with this. If there are any resources you think may be helpful, or references we can provide, please feel free to get in touch with me directly via email, and I’ll get back to you asap. Melissa

Ceira says:

I have suffered with recurrent UTIs for the best part of half my life. I’m 32 next month and in the last 4 weeks alone I have had 2 UTIs, one of which ended up as a kidney infection as the antibiotics didn’t work. Can you give me any advice on what herbal remedies to take to help me with my gut flora and to boost “good” bacteria.
Like you I am desperate to just lead a normal life where I’m not dictated to by the dreaded onset of a UTI.
Regards Ceira

Hi Ceira, we’ve covered some natural remedies here. If you’re interested in the process I went through, you can send me a direct message. I don’t share my specific regimen publicly as it’s very unlikely to apply to the next person. It’s always best to try and get to the root cause of your own symptoms first. Melissa

Precious says:

I want to ask this embarrassing question,I am lady 42 years of age,i have three children,I’m taking a depo shot as my birth control.its been 7 years now.So my problem is I did not have a boyfriend for the past year until now,l have a boyfriend,we have been dating for 6 months now.
Our problem is one he is not big at all,but the problem is whenever we have sex there blood coming out from my Virgina,and it’s a lot.I just want to know what could be the cause and how do I prevent that from happening,because he is worried he probably hitting the wrong spots.Please help.
Precious

Hi Precious, it’s a good idea to speak with a specialist about unusual symptoms – a gynecologist or urogynecologist may be able to help you pinpoint why this is happening. If there’s any information you think we can help with, please feel free to send me a direct message. Melissa

Carri Gustin says:

What was your regimen that kept the UTI’s away. I’ve had one every other week since July.

Hi Carri, because the cause of each person’s urinary symptoms is different from the next, we don’t share specific recommendations on our site, as they tend to be unhelpful. If you have questions about my regimen, I’m happy to answer what I can via a direct message. Melissa

Kat says:

I am so glad I found this site. I thought I was alone in this. I have been suffering with both recurring UTIs and yeast infections for years! I’m getting married in a few months and I really don’t want this to be my normal.

Hi Kat, I’m glad you’ve found our site helpful so far. If you have any questions, you can always get in touch. Melissa

sharon hancock says:

what is your answer

Hi Sharon, if you have specific questions I’m happy to answer them by email, just send me a direct message. Melissa

Amanda says:

The worst thing about recurrent UTIs is that I stopped wanting to have sex, and of course that affected my relationships and probably factored into my recent divorce. It’s really awful being afraid that every single time you have sex, you’re about to once again cause yourself an intense week of pain, anxiety, and wasted time at the urgent care center.

Hi Amanda, I know exactly how that feels! So much time, money and emotional energy is consumed by this, for so many people. If you have any questions or would like further resources, feel free to send me a message directly. Melissa

Andrea says:

Omg – thank you, thank you, thank you so much for creating this site. I’m off this afternoon to see my GP AGAIN. Urine culture test result negative AGAIN – but still have UTI symptoms AGAIN – despite antibiotics AGAIN. Only this time thanks to this site I have lots more information and knowledge to take with me!! Thanks guys!

Hi Andrea, I’m glad we could help. If you need specific references to take with you, you can send us a message. Melissa

taylor p says:

Hi, I’ve been dealing with chronic UTI’s since I was about 7 years old and I’m now 20. Unfortunately it’s just gotten words through the years and I can’t do it anymore. I hate going to the doctor for it to just get a yeast infection after antibiotics so I try cranberry and cranberry juice. I’ve just started probiotics and AZO is an every other day thing that basically doesn’t even work anymore. I wear cotton underwear and use all hypoallergenic. I have now missed work the second day in 2 weeks and need answers and I do not know where to begin. Please help!

Hi Taylor, many people say the thing that helped them the most was finding a practitioner with experience diagnosing and treating recurrent UTI. If you send me a direct message, I may be able to share some useful info. Melissa

maegan diefenderfer says:

Hi, i’ve just turned 19 years old and I’ve suffered from 3 utis in the last 2 months i am completely miserable and constantly living with the fear and anxiety of another one coming. I’m so nervous i will have to live with this for the rest of my life or atleast for a few more years and the pain is so bad it effects my schoolwork, makes me call out of work sick, and is effecting my relationship. I’m really hoping it will get better soon but i’m worried it won’t.

Hi Maegan, many people say finding the right practitioner was the key to finding an answer to their ongoing symptoms. If you’d like more information on this or anything else, you can get in touch directly. It may also help to learn more about the limitations of standard testing, and alternative testing options. Melissa

Kim says:

Is there any brand of toilet paper you would recommend or other things I can try to do to help try to prevent recurrent UTI’s. I have them all the time and when they come on they hit me hard and take me down fast. The pain is excruciating and in most cases it is always a long wait at Urgent care to get treatment of antibiotics.

Hi Kim, we have covered some UTI prevention strategies here, but the truth is, you can have ‘perfect’ hygiene and still get UTIs, and in that case, our article about how UTIs can become chronic might be a more useful place to start. Melissa

Neha says:

Please help , my UTI caused by e-coli is as frequent as 5 days ,as soon as I get off antibiotics it starts again . Every time I have sex I get a UTI within 10 hours. I have tried everything from d-mannose, probiotics, Olive leaf ,but it’s not going away. I had temporary relief in summers when I started taking d- mannose powder but it seems to be not working now. My urologist is also not able to help.

Hi Neha, it’s possible E. coli is not the only culprit for your symptoms. It is certainly the most likely to show in standard testing. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest reading our info on why you shouldn’t rely on standard testing, alternative testing methods that are available, and different approaches to chronic UTI treatment. You can also send me a message directly if you have other questions. Melissa

Marielle says:

I have had them on and off for years but this year (2018) it seems like the worst yet! I had one in the spring and then got a bad one in May but I take D-Mannose bc I know taking too many antibiotics is counter productive in the long run. It ended up being a staph infection in my bladder. Then that one came back in July! Now I have a UTI again. Its not a bad one but the D-Mannose isn’t being as effective as it normally is.

I got an ultrasound done and I do not eliminate completely so I am seeing a PT to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles which is supposed to help.

Other than that, I eat paleo most of the time. Im a Health Coach for women with autoimmune and gut issues since I myself have MS (no issues with it though). I was wondering what diet you are on now? Did you do AIP?

Hi Marielle, I didn’t follow a specific, documented diet, but I had transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, and I avoided processed sugar plus foods naturally high in sugar. As I mentioned in my story, I did this in an effort to improve my gut issues, rather than to directly impact my UTI symptoms. For me, it took a great deal of trial and error to find what worked for me, and it’s unlikely my final regimen would work in the same way for the next person. I’m no longer on such a restrictive diet, but I more or less stick to the healthy eating principles I picked up then. I hope you find what works for you too. Melissa

Debra says:

Thank you for sharing your story. I am searching for answers as I am currently struggling with an UTI. I have been struggling with immune issues since 2009. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue in 2010 and tried many types of treatments with no success. In 2017 I was diagnosed with Lyme and co-infections which completed the puzzle for me. I have been treating holistically and doing better except for the lingering UTI symptoms. The UTI seems to relate so much to what I am experiencing with the Lyme (which is really an immune dysfunction caused by stealth microbes hiding in biofilms!). You described something very similar regarding biofilms…and got my attention! How can I look into this further and get more information?

Hi Debra, it sounds like you’ve made some great progress. I’m not sure how much of our site you’ve read, but a good place to go next is our content on chronic UTI, then why UTI tests may be negative or inaccurate and therefore be an obstacle to full resolution of the issue. Feel free to get in touch if you have questions about those. Melissa

Phyllis K Pecar says:

I am having recurrent UTI’S. WHAT CAN I DO antibiotics are way too much. I get about every 3 months so I don’t think I get rid of them. Not many antibiotics left I can take please help me.

Hi Phyllis, sorry to hear that. Can you send me a direct message with some info about where you’re located so I can share any resources that may be useful? Melissa

Phyllis K Pecar says:

I live in the midwest. Indiana. Please help me

Hi Phyllis, I saw you sent us an email too, so I’ll send you some more info in response to that later today. Melissa

Kate Safford says:

UTIs since I was 16, now 71. Now have chronic UTIs, IC diagnosis, Primary Immune Deficiency-CVID, survived a rare Middle Colic Artery Aneurysm, lost my spleen, Transverse and Ascending Colon. I have just read about DNA testing. My son, a microbiologist, so we have lately been discussing remnant bacteria that is possibly dismissed due to a count lower than 5,000 when the traditional culture plate testing is used. All that shows up on my “final” culture testing is the bacteria that grows the fastest and at the highest count. What you know about DNA testing? When a UTl hits, due to the immune deficiency, that means the hospital stay for me and now in the past two months have tested for E-Coli ESBL (a superbug, a termed coined by the media). Help!

Hi Kate, we have some information on our site about alternative testing methods, including DNA sequencing. We’ll also soon be publishing some more in depth articles about two types of DNA sequencing available in the USA (so I know quite a bit about what’s currently available). I’m happy to share more information via email if you can send me a message. Melissa

pauline says:

having utis since before 2012 i am atmy wits end. my llast sample from lab is negative and i know it is not- i have a full bladder feeling that has no output,as soon as i ‘go’ a dribble comes out,and then i need to go again about 10 miutes later but nothing! i have had e coli and no end of infections but not told the other infections, just that i have blood or white cells in urine sample,
i am worn out and never feel well and i can no longer stay out for long as i cant walk with my psuedo full up bladder,i am in uk and at my wits end i cant keep taking antibiotics and now told i have no infection when i know i do, i wanted to read how you best it melissa but your story ended and icant find the rest.

Hi Pauline, I can understand how you feel, it’s exhausting and frustrating, and emotionally traumatic. I didn’t share the exact products I used to recover as I know the right treatment is different for everyone, and it doesn’t make sense to try someone else’s regimen without knowing what’s causing your UTI. Regarding your negative tests, have you read our article on why tests can be negative despite your symptoms? I saw you sent me an email too, so I’ll respond to that with further info. Melissa

Desiree says:

I have had recurring UTI’s for many years. I just turned 46 and this most recent UTI has lingered for over a month or two. I was on Cipro 500mg bid for 2 weeks, then on Macrobid 100mg bid with my last dose on 8/20/18. I went to my OB GYN today and my urinalysis results were negative, although I have the pelvic pressure and urge to frequently urinate. They sent the urine sample to be cultured at a lab to make certain that my urine isn’t too diluted (because I drink a lot of water) and there are no signs of bacteria. OB GYN is leaning towards IC because of the negative UTI results. I have my Urologist appointment next Thursday, 8/30 and am so terrified. Were you ever diagnosed with IC?

Hi Desiree, during the 5 years I suffered from chronic UTI, the label of IC was suggested to me, but as it is a diagnosis of exclusion rather than an identification of a cause, I chose to ignore it. In my case that turned out to be a good decision. If you haven’t already, you might like to read our info on why tests can be negative despite your symptoms. It’s a good place to start to find a different approach to this. You can reach out to me directly if you have other questions. Melissa

Kat Kam says:

Hi Melissa, I know how it feel. I’m 18, I have had utis since I was 15 🙁 I’ve tried cranberry pills, I’ve changed my diet, I’m hygienic, I take d mao., I drink a normal amount, I have vitiman C, I wipe the right way, I pee when I need to, I take so many teas… and not resolved. It’s affecting my physical and mental side or more simply my whole life. My relationship, my education, my money, everything. It’s like a curse. People stay stay away from antibiotics well they’re not making any difference staying away from them. I feel like a failed experiment. I feel like I’ll never be fully happy about anything again. I feel like I have to constantly stress about it everyday. When will this stop?

Hi Kat, I understand how you feel. Have you read our info about chronic infection, alternative testing methods and different treatment approaches? If you have and you have questions, you can message me. Melissa

Kim Devito says:

It brings me hope that you are healed. I’ve suffered for two months and two antibiotics later and I’m still not well. Seeing a urologist Friday. Cannot wait.

Hi Kim, I hope you’ve found a urologist who has experience diagnosing and treating chronic UTI – most specialize in male urology and urological surgery rather than chronic UTI. If this practitioner can’t help you, don’t lose heart, there are others out there who can! Feel free to send us a message if you’d like more info. Melissa

Betty says:

Tell my story you ask. Well, we would have to go back to childhood. No antibiotics back then. in the last calendar year I’ve had eight. Time to do something different…. But what?

Hi Betty, definitely sounds like it! I noticed you emailed me too, so I’ll respond to that now. Melissa

Destina Hall says:

This has been my life. How can we find out your regimen? I am in desperate need of some help. I can no longer live my life like this. I am only 22 and am completely miserable. Trying to be the best mom I can be to a 9 month old and my uti sypmtoms make me this wife and mother I don’t want to be. Always tried, in pain, and irritated! Also I would love to know what diet changes you made? Thank you so much. Sad you went through this but glad you decided to share your story. Some of us are really struggling out here.

Destina Hall says:

I want to burst out in hysterics after reading this. I have done research on top of research trying to find answers on why I can’t beat my uti. I haven’t been completely symptom free since I had my son almost 9 months ago. I’ve been to doctor after doctor and honestly I can’t afford another visit to the OB or urologist, both time and money wise. I’m at a loss and know I can not keep living like this. How can I find out what your regimen is? I will be forever grateful. I’m so desperate. Also, when you said you changed your diet did you cut out all sugar completely? I’m really to go do whatever it takes. Thank you again!

Hi Destina, I can understand your frustration! It’s difficult to find answers. I prefer not to share the details of my own regimen online as it was very specific to my own circumstances and it’s unlikely to work for the next person. If you send me a message directly I’m happy to let you know how I approached the issue, and why I did it that way. Melissa

Beth says:

I am starting to get UTI’s more frequently. It used to be twice a year but now every two months or so. A dip stick urine test always shows up an infection.

Hi Beth, sorry to hear that. I noticed you sent me an email, so I’ll get back to you there in the next day or so with more information. Melissa

Cassi says:

I was so happy to find this blog. I’m 19 and have been getting UTIs 2+ times a month for FOUR years. My first one was sophomore year in highschool and i didn’t get them as frequently back then, but starting my senior year I went from getting a UTI once every couple months, to at least one or two every month. I go to the doctor and they give me my antibiotics and it goes away for a little but always comes back. I’d love to talk to you and see what remedies you’ve come up with because it’s so frustrating having to deal with this so often.

Hi Cassi, I can understand how you feel! It might help to first read our info on why symptoms can come and go, despite treatment. Then if you want to ask any questions, you can contact me directly. Melissa

April Thomas says:

I am in tears reading your story. It’s me! Well except for the foreign countries! I’m big on gut health and feel like I do a good job with my supplements but I’ve been fighting a uti from &@)?! for 6 months and the anxiety is nearly as bad as the pain. I’m scared and overwhelmed. What can you tell me about your natural remedies and the things you did to change your situation? I’m miserable, embarrassed, scared and feeling hopeless. I wish there was a specialist near me that could help! (I’m in the Tampa area in case you know someone.). Thank you.

Hi April, once I started telling my story I was surprised by how many people related to it! We don’t recommend specific products on our site, but if you’d like to get in touch directly we can chat more about it. Some of the specialists listed on our site offer appointments by telephone or Skype, so you could reach out for more information. Melissa

Ally says:

I am 25 years old and I have been getting UTIs since I was 17 years old. I have been getting utis recently for the past year and a half. I have done everything to try to rid myself from getting them and do all of the right things. I talked to my doctor about it and all they prescribed he was an antibiotic to take after I have sex because I’m “just more prone” to them. I didn’t like that answer and do not like taking these pills every time as I’m sure it’s not the best things for you. I am currently in the bathroom as I had to rush home from leaving work because the pain is that bad. I don’t understand why I keep getting them even when I take precaution. This is ruining my life. Not even over the counter medication like azo works anymore to relieve symptoms. Please help.

Hi Ally, if you haven’t read it already, we have some info on why short courses of antibiotics may not be resolving your infection. We also have info on preventative antibiotics and why this may not be the best option. Feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have other questions. Melissa

Valerie says:

I am 58 years old and have had reoccurring UTI’s since I was 16 years old.Your story sounds like mine would if I were to write it. I am still going to doctors and neither of them have helped my UTI’s. I can sometimes get a RX for antibiotics if my cultures or strip tests show that I have enough infection to be considered and infection. After 22 years of the same kind of infections you would think I would be an expert on diagnosing myself but my doctors don’t share my opinion. I just gave up on a cure some years ago. After reading your story though I got some hope again. I would love to know what you used to help yourself overcome UTI’s.

Hi Valerie, I can understand your frustration. We prefer not to discuss specific products on our site, but I can share more information via email if you want to get in touch directly. Melissa

Eleanor Butcher says:

I have been getting these urinary tract infections more and more frequently as I age. This last test came back negative as you said. I also get the racking chills which I am able to handle now with Tylenol and an antibiotic. I have a urologist and I’m having another scope again. Its now every 6 weeks or so. Bummer

Hi Eleanor, sorry to hear you’re experiencing that. Hopefully your urologist can help. You may like to read about other approaches to recurrent and chronic UTI treatment, if you haven’t already, and how infections can become recurrent in the first place. Melissa

Elisa says:

I had gone off my contraception for several months multiple times, but the situation with my UTIs was not getting better. But then, as my hormonal profile allowed it, I decided to try out the mini pill (contains only progesterone replacement). And miraculously my UTIs and yeast infections were completely gone! And I am pretty sure that it is the mini pill and not just coincidence, as I have gone on and off the mini pill many times (mainly due to travelling around and changing the country where I live). Every time when I had stopped using it, UTIs were back and every time I started using it they completely disappeared.

Hi Elisa, it’s so great to hear you found something that worked for you too :). Melissa

Mariana Garcimarrero says:

Help me

Hi Mariana, I’ve sent you an email to see how we can help. Melissa

Ella says:

Hi Melissa, I am struggling with recurrent UTIs that the doctors just aren’t diagnosing. I have been to the doctors about 30 times regarding my cystitis, had ultra scans on my bladder, been given antibiotics and there is still no hope in finding out what is causing my recurrent symptoms. Recently I have been to the doctor regarding a strong bout of cystitis and there was no infection found. Could you please give some more detail about the home remedies you used? I have seen the home remedies page but am unsure on how to actually administer them myself or where I obtain the stuff for them. What did you use? PLEASE HELP!
I am 20 and have been getting this since I was around 12.

Hi Ella, I understand your frustration! I’d love to chat to you more about this. You can reach me directly via our contact form. I may be able to share some helpful resources. Melissa

Alba says:

When I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think I was reading my own history. Scarely acurate. I tought I was the only one that remember moments in my life for my UTIs. I remember my first UTIs as a small kid, sitting in the toilet while my mom calmed me and my father went to emergency care to pick a urine test tube and bring it back to the doctor so he can send me treatment. it was the early 90s. I remember not passing my last year of high school because I was constantly ill with utis and not being able to go class. Getting it while on a super tiny adorable remote village where a friend was from and where the nearest hospital and pharmacy were hundreds of km away. Getting them in my 23h trip to Japan, and having 2 while the 20 days I was there. Last time I got a horrible recurrent flare was in 2014 and I had them intermitently for 2 years, montly. The constant fear of knowing that a next one will come sometime. I got to the point I woke up at night, sleepwalking (my boyfriend saw me constantly) to drink glasses of water and went to the toilet.
I’m a registered dietitian so appart from the pharmacological treatments from my doctor and running all the tests under the rainbow including a MRI (non of them showed nothing) I scanned all the medical research available, even histology of the urinary system, and the dietary changes and supplements I could think of. Finally, after 2 years, they went away to never come back. Until now, that I got them back last week after been 3 years free of them. I’m SO DONE WITH THIS. Seriously. Researchers of the world, please, do f*king research of WHY they happen, HOW to treat them (the freaking antibiotics don’t work) and HOW TO PREVENT THEM.
I love your site 🙂 you did a great job with the web looking awesome and providing great info about a shady and hidden topic no one wants to talk about but the sufferers…

PS: those genetic tests look so promising???? I don’t know if I should consider one…

Hi Alba, it does sound like you’ve shared many similar experiences! I feel your pain. For those of us who have or have had chronic UTI, the research can’t come fast enough. People are starting to find answers, some of them via next genetic sequencing, so we hope we’re reaching a tipping point. If you want to discuss anything in more detail, or have any questions, you can reach directly via our contact form.. Melissa

Chris snell says:

Constant urge to pee,with about a teaspoon being passed and deep pelvic pain and discomfort is horrible.
Never had this in 65 years now had two bouts in less than a month.
HELP

Hi Chris, sorry to hear you’re experiencing that. It’s always best to head straight to a doctor for advice on what’s causing your symptoms, and to rule out anything more serious. If you’re looking for other specific information, you can also reach out to us via our contact form. We’re happy to point you in the right direction, if we have resources that might help. In the meantime, I hope you’re feeling a lot better.

Dear Melissa says:

Hi Melissa I am on my fourth lot of antibiotics for this UTI , which did not show up as a UTI on standard tests at my GP surgery . This UTI is affecting my life and I cannot sleep or work really.
I have gone to a private doctor who has informed me yesterday that the sample she took last week showed a mixed growth indicating lots of bugs and she is thinking of prophylaxis moving forward , I am worried Inwill develop a biofilm and become resistant doing this . The antibiotics has not worked at all and I am now on cephalexin. What do you advise?
Thankyou for sharing your refreshing life story of dealing with this terrible debilitating condition.
Thankyou Kind Regards Rosy

Hi Rosy, we have some info on a few of the topics you raised, that might help. Why urine culture tests may be negative or ‘mixed growth’ despite your symptoms, the research for and against prophylactic antibiotics, and different approaches to recurrent UTI treatment. You can also message me directly if you’re after more info about practitioners. Melissa

Yagna Nag Chowdhuri says:

Could you please provide some more information on the specific vitamins and herbs to use?

Hi Yagna, we have shared some more information about home remedies for UTI and why it’s really important to figure out what’s causing your UTIs in order to choose the right treatment. While certain things worked for me, they may not work for you. We’ve created a wrap up of some popular approaches in our home remedies section, and the info about what causes UTIs could also be useful. These are a great place to start. And feel free to get in touch with us directly with any questions or suggestions!

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