You’ve probably already read a helpful article or personal story chronicled here on Live UTI Free, (as have I). Today is a special day because I get to contribute a story of my own, about UTI or yeast infection, and sometimes both. I’m really excited to share with you!
Well, “excited” is a strong word… There’s nothing exciting about getting a UTI or yeast infection (as many of you already know).
To say that I never thought I’d be writing for a UTI website is an understatement. I can’t believe I’m in this situation. However, as much as I wish my path didn’t lead down this route, I’m glad it did or I would have never met Live UTI Free’s founder, Melissa Kramer, a new friend of mine across the blog-osphere.
I hope you can benefit from my story in your own journey.
Real Girl Review x Live UTI Free
This month, Real Girl Review and Live UTI Free collaborated on a series of videos on YouTube and exchanged blogs.
We’re going to talk about those Real Girl problems and how to strive toward living UTI Free once and for all!
Because we’re all here for the same reason, right? To get an answer to our UTI problems while talking in a safe space! At least that’s how I came to Live UTI Free in the first place.
My heart goes out to all the ladies out there suffering from UTI or yeast infection, and other chronic conditions.
Story Quick Links
- How I Met Live UTI Free’s Founder, Melissa. >>>>
- How My Life Became Affected By UTIs & Yeast Infections. >>>>
- Why Is There a Stigma About UTIs & Yeast Infections? >>>>
- My Quest To Find A Solution For My Infections. >>>>
- Can Sex Cause UTIs? >>>>
- What Helped Me Prevent Future Infections. >>>>
I’ll save treatment plans, courses of action, tips and other health awareness information for Melissa, whose chronic UTI story you can read over on my blog.
“I remember the day I realized my symptoms were gone… As we hitchhiked back to town with a friendly truck driver, it dawned on me that I hadn’t thought about my bladder once. That was the turning point for me. The absence of symptoms crept up on me and stayed. I had a number of gloriously symptom-free, medication-free and supplement-free years.”
Excerpt from Melissa’s story
Alright, let’s dive right in!
How I Met Live UTI Free’s Founder, Melissa
I couldn’t share my story without sharing the spotlight with an amazing woman, Melissa from Live UTI Free. She’s been the ring leader for many of us suffering from undiagnosed and mistreated conditions, like UTI or yeast infection.
Live UTI Free has been a shining beacon of hope for many like me who thought they were doing everything right but still getting painful and debilitating chronic UTIs.
It should be no coincidence that she and I would meet as I was suffering from conditions of my own (UTI & yeast infection) with little to no answers. Hopelessly scouring the internet in the wee hours of the morning, when I should have been sleeping, I found her site to be helpful in my time of need.
Like an angel, Melissa answered my questions in a way that even many of my doctors hadn’t… and we hadn’t even met at that point yet.
By the time I found her website, I was one Google search away from calling it quits and going to a hospital.
In fact, Live UTI Free was so helpful and informative that I decided to reach out to Melissa for a collaboration which turned into us exchanging blog posts about each other’s stories as well as a candid interview on YouTube where we got to ask each other questions from each of our audiences.
It shed light on more chronic conditions than just my own. You can read Melissa’s story on my blog!
But, you already know Melissa. Allow me to introduce myself a bit more.
Who Am I?
My name is Geeves. I’m a twenty something lifestyle / travel writer and head boss babe at Real Girl Review, a place where we talk about, “The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly.” Everything from travel adventures, travel tips and rewards, to fashion, health, and sex. I also review products and businesses sometimes, too, and experiences gone wrong. (Don’t worry, they’re funny most of the time 😉 )
Most of what I write about revolves around what I love to do in my quest to live life to the fullest, which is… Travel, explore the next fun thing to do and place to stay, and eat to my heart’s desire, all while documenting it with photos and videos.
Where Am I?
I was originally born and raised in sunny Southern California where I spent most of my childhood. When I was 12, I flew across the country and landed in New York, where I lived for most of my teens. All of my adult years so far, from 18 onward, have been spent living all around New England, in most every state. (I like to hop around).
Which coast do I prefer? Honestly, they’re both so different! But, I must say… I’m an east coast transplant. I simply love it here. Although, the weather doesn’t always agree with me. (I despise the cold. LOL)
Travels Beyond The US
Having explored so many different parts of the US has not only made me appreciate all the different regions and how they greatly differ from one another but, it’s also made me so interested to see what other parts of the world are like as well.
And so, when I was 22, I decided to explore new places and venture outside of the US. I love traveling so much that it became a full time “job” for me and now I travel 180 days+ every year. Of course, pre-COVID.
Traveling was like being in my own skin for the first time in my life. It felt like I was living out my destiny as a Cosmopolitan. I felt at home anywhere in the world. So much so that when I came home, I began to wonder where I belonged, if I belonged anywhere.
Do you also love to travel but have a chronic illness? Check out my blog on traveling with a chronic illness where I share tips I’ve learned while traveling with Lupus.
Most of my days are now spent writing about these experiences and searching for more right here in New England where I’ll spend much of the year now, until the COVID situation improves. Then, I can continue to explore the world! Can’t wait for that day.
So, where do I live? Well, whereas before, home used to be anywhere I could sit with my laptop to write – whether it was on a chair at an airport, a small fold out desk coming out of a Murphy bed at a hotel, a pillow sitting on my lap on the bed… Now, home is in Maine, where I’ve been renovating a 19th century New England style farmhouse.
Most of the time, the only thing that really feels like home is Real Girl Review. It’s the one location that never changes and the one thing that always feels right, even when the weather doesn’t, because that’s where I always am.
Plus, there is no destruction, or damage, (other than when people are trying to break into my site.. lol), no repair needed, or wear and tear. It’s exactly as I want it to be, always. And that’s just how I like it.
How My Life Became Affected By UTI Or Yeast Infection, Or Both!
Does life continue when you’re having vaginal issues? Not always.
When you’re a female, you deal with some pretty horrific physical stuff… not only the labors of pregnancy and pains from having your period, but also, UTIs, yeast infections, the list goes on…
It’s hard to be a boss babe when you’re dealing with pain and discomfort and can’t sit still… Literally.
But, UTI or yeast infections don’t discriminate. Oh no! They come to you whenever they feel like it. A.K.A. whenever you’d least like them to. You’d best just toss in that towel and get out that medication now girlfriend, because you are going to be lying there for a while.
I’ve literally been in the middle of a trip when the symptoms of a UTI or yeast infection have come on out of nowhere. Heck, I’ve even had to end my own birthday party early!
Imagine sending your guests home because you’re trying not to look like a crazy person. Crossing and uncrossing her legs while bending yourself across the wall when you’re playing a game. They’re looking at you when it’s your turn to go and you’re just looking agitated. Not a pleasant sight, let me tell you.
Just the other day, I had to see a doctor for the excruciatingly painful and itchy symptoms I have, related to 2 different kinds of yeast + UTI.
Sadly, this is now my merry go round. I’ve been to the doctors for these conditions more than you want to know. In fact, it’s become so much of my regular routine now that I’ve seen more doctors these last 6 months than friends (not kidding).
I’ve stopped making plans altogether as this situation makes it difficult to be a part of everyday activities. Plus, you cancel on enough people, and friends stop making plans with you.
In the past, I’ve even had to postpone this guest post for Live UTI Free’s founder, Melissa, who couldn’t have been more sweet and understanding. My yeast infection just didn’t let me sit still long enough to write this.
If you’ve ever been in this position with UTI or yeast infection (which so often go hand in hand), then you already know what I’m talking about.
Why Is There a Stigma About UTIs & Yeast Infections?
Most likely, if you are female, you have had one of the conditions I’ve mentioned, at some point in your life. If you haven’t, props to you girl. I’m jelly!
UTIs and yeast infections are often a sensitive subject among women… There’s so much embarrassment and shame associated most of the time, that it’s almost like we’d rather say that we have an autoimmune disease, diabetes, or even a stomach virus.
It’s no wonder. There are so many myths our culture has created about these infections, that we’re often made to believe that having one means that we’re dirty or don’t have good hygiene.
Melissa and I dive further into this problematic myth during our interview.
No shame if you have them ladies. It doesn’t mean you’re dirty. I sometimes take three showers a day and I still get them.
My Quest To Find A Solution For My Infections
Something you should know about me is that I am a Lupus Warrior.
You may have heard about a friend or loved one who has this autoimmune disease.
I try not to let it get me down but sometimes, there are some precautions that I have to take, and make myself aware of things such as infections.
With Lupus making me autoimmune, an infection is definitely more severe for me than the average person. I’m also definitely at more risk for getting them.
I’ve had quite a few yeast infections and UTIs in my lifetime and so, I’ve been on a quest to research the causes of them.
Since then, I’ve found that it can be a range of different causes from genetics, autoimmunity, and even the toilet paper you use, to not peeing after sex, your man not washing himself before sex or him inserting his dirty fingers inside of you.
Of course, those aren’t all the reasons why you might get an infection and there are many other possible causes. It’s really just to say that the cause is likely to be different for every person who experiences recurrent UTI.
A UTI used to be able to work itself out pretty well for me if I drank cranberry juice or one of those cranberry extracts like Cystex (I take a shot of one every day). However, recently, things have gotten way out of hand and that just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Not to mention, my Lupus is systemic and has the ability to affect my internal organs, including my kidneys. So, I’m always concerned about a UTI turning into a kidney infection. For this reason, I take a UTI very seriously.
UTIs coupled with yeast infections threw my system into overdrive. I was moody, exhausted all the time, burning, itchy, and in pain every time I peed and even when I didn’t. It literally felt like my puss was on fire ya’ll. It was horrible.
It also can sometimes give me a nasty Lupus flare up when my body is trying to fight the infection.
So, I started searching for more answers. Recently, I learned that a partner’s pH balance might be related to getting infections. Sometimes, their pH just doesn’t mesh well with yours.
My UTI Story
A time that I can recall a UTI being so bad that it made me fear them forever, is earlier this year. That was the start of a series of very intense UTIs and yeast infections for me.
My gynecologist at the time was in another state, so I avoided the in-person appointment and consulted with him over the phone, sometimes without a lab test.
But, without a lab test, it’s hard to know what’s going on with a patient.
We assumed since I was getting so many UTIs that it was just another one that was giving me issues. Since my doctor was not in that day, his associate filled a prescription for me at my pharmacy.
After back and forth UTI treatment plans with no results, we learned it was a nasty yeast infection rearing its ugly head.
I have high pain tolerance but this burning sensation in my vaginal area was so bad that I was crying hysterically and had to go to the hospital. I felt like my vagina was on fire. I couldn’t even sit down.
At one point, I had my butt up in the air with a fan blasting on me. It was not my proudest moment with my (then) boyfriend who I had just started seeing.
The ER said the UTI antibiotic I’d been prescribed may have not been getting rid of the UTI because a different strain of bacteria may have been present. After talking to an on-call doctor one weekend, I was prescribed Terconazole cream for a yeast infection after the strong antibiotic didn’t work. This finally did the trick.
As it turns out, we all thought that it was a UTI causing the symptoms the whole time, when really, it was a yeast infection which was being overlooked all the while. There is a lot of overlap between UTI symptoms and symptoms of a vaginal infection, so it’s a good idea to investigate both with your doctor. There are also a number of other conditions that can cause lower urinary tract symptoms.
Learning The Hard Way
It’s always good to trust your gut.
Another thing about a UTI or yeast infection is that they can be so sneaky. It may seem like they’ve gone away but then, they reappear. This was the case for me a few months ago.
The infections didn’t go away, even though they seemed like they had. The ironic thing is that when I went to my doctor’s office for a follow up, he said I didn’t need another test run because I didn’t have symptoms, therefore, it had probably gone away.
So, I left happy and worry free.
Then, literally three days later, I started experiencing the symptoms again.. Only this time… Much, much worse.
What I should have done was ask for a test to confirm I was in the clear before waiting till it got really bad and then having to go see my doctor again.
I can’t tell you how many weekends I’ve spent on the phone, with the on-call doctor trying to treat me without knowing who I am (since I’m not their patient) and trying to find a pharmacy open in my small town on a Sunday to get a last minute prescription. Or, just rushing to the ER altogether. Not pretty.
The point is my friends, if you think you have an infection but the doctor doesn’t think so after talking with you, ask for a lab test. I’ve skipped out of the office before getting a urine sample a few times only to find later that I had an infection. You can get a better understanding of UTI testing, right here on Live UTI Free.
Can Sex Cause UTIs?
All of these recurrent UTIs and yeast infections led me to wonder, why am I getting these infections during my relationship?
For instance, with my 1st ex, I only experienced a UTI once in a blue moon. However, with my 2nd ex, I’d get regular UTIs or yeast infections. “Regular” as in back to back, they wouldn’t go away.
Then, there was also a period between my exes of 1.5 years where I was not sexually active. During this time, I did not experience any UTIs or yeast infections. So, there was definitely a theme with having sex and getting infections.
Once, the lab determined that I had three different infections at once – Gardnerella (bacterial infection that doesn’t usually cause symptoms), Candida (type of yeast infection), and a UTI. He gave me three different prescriptions for the three different infections.
That seems to be my life… Bouncing from one medication and treatment plan to the next thing that my gynecologist would push on me after running a urine culture test.
It first started as burning when I peed, then burning even when I didn’t pee, then felt like I had to pee all the time, even when only a drop would come out..
To treat my UTI and yeast infections, my doctor has prescribed me Macrobid (generic name Nitrofurantoin), a vaginal cream called Terconazole, and white vinegar douches.
At first, he prescribed a 10 day course of antibiotics. Then, he said to take a pill every time after sex. Which is crazy, right? That any woman should have to take a pill after sex just to avoid an infection. Sometimes admittedly, I forget to take it. Wonder if that’s the reason for my current UTI?
I did as he said. He’s the doctor after all and we’re told to listen to our doctors.
But, sometimes, doctors don’t have all the answers. Our bodies are unique after all. There is often not one set course of treatment for every human condition. If that were true, we’d never have another UTI or yeast infection ever again. (Pray for this girl!)
I have since seen a new gynecologist who has treated my conditions with much more success. They haven’t completely gone away, mind you (still waiting for that day), but at least decreasing the frequency that they appear.
I still work to find the solution to my infections and kick their butt once and for all.
Tips To Help Prevent UTI Or Yeast Infection
If you have any more tips, please let me know and I will include them in the blog post. It would mean a lot to me if someone else could benefit from this conversation.
Of course, it goes without saying (but I have to say it) that I’m not a medical professional and am also not aware of your condition(s).
You should always, always consult with your doctor before taking any advice (not just mine) or it could be detrimental to your health. I’m not giving medical advice, just simply sharing the tips that my doctor gave me, and that have worked for me.
So what can we do to sort this out? Live UTI Free has some helpful tips for UTI prevention, and I’ll also share my own experience below.
Clean Penis and Wash Hands Before Sex
One of my girlfriends from London used to get UTIs quite a bit and she said the one thing that finally put an end to it was her sexual partners washing before having sex with her. This goes for washing the genitals and the hands.
If your man doesn’t take a shower before he enters you… Because, I don’t know, you’re in the heat of the moment and want to have spontaneous sex… Then put a condom on him.
Bamboo Toilet Paper
Sometimes, the thick toilet paper we use gets stuck in our vaginal area and doesn’t let our cookie breathe. Toilet paper can also contain chemicals that irritate the genital area. Both could be a contributing factor to a UTI or yeast infection.
Bamboo toilet paper is softer and thinner and generally free of harmful chemicals. I’ve found it to be extremely soft and comfortable as well.
Don’t Use Wipes
They mess up your pH balance. This gyno got it right… “Your vagina is not supposed to smell like geraniums or fresh laundry.” Amen to that!
Often, our culture leads us to believe that our vaginas are dirty. The smell is perfectly natural. If you want to be clean for your sexual partner, take a shower. Don’t use wipes.
Are You Allergic?… to Condoms?… to Lube?
Sometimes it’s not a matter of being “allergic”, it’s a matter of being sensitive. I didn’t use condoms or lube for a few weeks as a test and didn’t have any reactions as I did with my UTI and yeast infection previously. Lube and condoms can be helpful for some people in minimizing post-sex UTI though, so it could be beneficial to try out a few types to find a combination that works for you. There are plenty of options these days.
As I mentioned above, cranberry supplements have been useful for me, but there are others out there that you could try, such as D-mannose. Research suggests that D-mannose and elements of cranberry may help prevent certain bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall, and therefore help prevent infection.
Pee, pee, peeeee
As often as you need to. Don’t hold it in whatever you do.
During the day, but especially right after sex. Get up, go pee, and lay back down to snuggle. It can sometimes be hard to pull away after a romantic or hot and steamy sess… But it’s necessary.
Just politely excuse yourself and say, “Gotta do my thang, be right back”. Chances are, he’ll understand. And if he doesn’t? Don’t have sex with him anymore.
It seems like common sense, but it wasn’t to me. You should always wipe from front to back. Whether that means reaching your arm to the front of your cookie and swiping till you reach the back or pushing from front to back, you do your thing. The first has always been more comfortable to me.
Choose the Right Underwear
I love wearing thongs. In fact, it makes up about 90% of my panty wardrobe. You can get an infection when the bacteria from your bum gets swiped to the front by your thong sling, however. Try cheekys and bikinis instead. Don’t like the panty line? Go seamless.
What Helped Me Prevent Future UTI or Yeast Infection
So far, the new steps I learned from Live UTI Free’s site have really helped me reduce getting UTIs and yeast infections. I have my own set of tips that I’ve also added:
- Bamboo toilet paper
- Having my man wash his penis and hands before sex
- Taking an antibiotic after sex
- Taking cranberry extract
Of course, this has not completely prevented me from getting infections.
Until that happens, I’ll continue with the steps from Live UTI Free while following my doctor’s recommended treatment plans. I hope that if you have recurrent UTI or yeast infection, that you’re able to find a solution soon.
How to Speak to Someone with a Chronic Illness
- Don’t solicit medical advice (or advice in general unless asked)
- Don’t tell someone to look on bright side or that it’s not that bad
- If someone vents, vent with them, say in agreement how much that sucks
- Don’t tell someone what they should be doing unless they ask
- Don’t tell someone what beliefs they should have, what they should like, or how they should think
- Let people finish speaking, hear what they have to say – just hearing isn’t listening
That’s it for now. Thank you for reading my story!
I know how much infections can disrupt your life and make you feel miserable all the while, causing you physical discomfort with unbearable symptoms.
If you know someone who suffers from UTIs and yeast infections, share this blog with them. Also, share Melissa’s story.
Can you relate to my story? Leave a comment below or, if it makes you feel more comfortable, send me an email or message on social media (Instagram: @realgirlreview or Twitter: @arealgirlreview).
You can also find me at my blog at www.realgirlreview.com.
I hope this story was inspiring to you and provided some helpful insight and tips for you to deal with your UTI and yeast infection journey.
Sending you warm vibes of positivity in your healing journey!