T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 20094
posted 09-04-2005 09:30 PM
I really hope someone has some advice they can offer, because I'm getting seriously frustrated. Basically, the problem is that for the past year and a half or so (since about mid-February 2004), I've been getting UTIs pretty much every other month or so. Since I'm a university student and away from home, I just went to the campus health clinic every time I had symptoms, they'd give me antibiotics and send me on my merry way. I had one while I was home visiting my parents last August, but my doctor there (who I've seen since I was a kid) didn't think anything of it and just put me on a 10 day course of antibiotics.
I was fine until October, when I got yet another UTI, and for a couple of months, I got them every month or so. Finally, I got a regular doctor here, because it was frustrating seeing someone different every time I went in to the health clinic on campus. My doctor is wonderful, and agreed to pretty much test me for everything under the sun to get to the bottom of this. (Including doing an ultrasound of my bladder and kidneys to see if there was anything wrong there.)
The problem is, there's nothing physically wrong with me. The doctor I see now asked for all the results of all the urine cultures I'd had done since this started, and it turns out that only two of the infections I've had were actually infections - none of the others showed any bacteria at all, but I had all the symptoms. My doctor is baffled. I am getting really frustrated, moreso because while I haven't had a UTI since April, I have had three yeast infections since the end of June. (And I've gone to the doctor for all 3, just to make sure that that's what they were.) I just don't know what to do, and it's really starting to get frustrating and tiring, so if anyone has any suggestions, they'd be much appreciated!
Member # 3
posted 09-06-2005 12:19 PM
I'd suggest seeing a naturopath and/or nutritionist at this point.
For instance, what are your eating habits like? Lots of simple starches and dairy? Per the UTIs, do you keep yourself very hydrated or not? Do you drink plenty of antioxidant juices with natural forms of urethral cleanup, like cranberry or pomegrante juice (sans buckets of sugar)?
Might you have any dietary or environmental allergies or sensitivities that could be a factor? has your doctor considered this (a nutirtionist would)? Per your genital health -- have you also had the general bimanual exams, STI screens, pap smears? Is there a time in your fertility cycle you're more likely to get these, like say, just before or after menses?
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Member # 20094
posted 09-06-2005 04:05 PM
Thanks for the reply....I've been thinking about seeing a naturopath, but I guess I don't really know what they do, so I've been kind of hestitant. I never thought of a nutritionist though, I'll look into that as well.
As far as keeping myself hydrated, I drink at least two liters of water a day (I'm pretty athletic, so I know it's important to stay hydrated), and while I really hate the taste of cranberry juice, I have started taking cranberry tablets, which my doctor said is a fine substitute for juice. My diet isn't perfect, but I do my best to stay away from simple sugars and a lot of starches. As far as dairy goes, I don't drink milk very often but I love yogurt and cheese, so I do have a couple of servings of dairy a day. I have a couple of allergies, but they're of the cat hair/dust/mold/pollen variety, and I've pretty much always had them.
And yes, I'm up to date with all my STI screens, pap smears, etc, and part of the reason I'm so frustrated and why my doctor is so confused is because all the results of those tests have always come back negative. There doesn't seem to be any underlying cause of this, or any pattern that I can figure out (no predictable time of the month, for example). I am on Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and have been for about a year; could that possibly be making things worse?
I guess I'll try and find a naturopath, but I'm not exactly sure what that is, really....could someone describe what sort of thing they'd do? I just want to get this sorted out once and for all, and I'm willing to try pretty much anything at this point.
[This message has been edited by karybu (edited 09-06-2005).]
Member # 3
posted 09-07-2005 11:28 AM
An alternative doctor -- a naturopath, a chinese medicine practioner, etc. -- is going to evalute your health not in a dissimilar way to your average western doctor, but they'll be asking a whole lot more detailed questions about your whole lifestyle, your diet, your mental health, your activity, etc.
I would suggest you make a lot of calls, explain what the problem is specificially (chronic UTIs and yeast infections), and keep your ears open for someone who says they want to look into allergies/sensitivities, at a minimum (especially any to dairy, sugars or wheat). I'd look for a doctor who asks questions/does some digging per your metabolism, too (that can make a difference w/yeast infections if it's slow). Someone who talks about a stool smaple may be really on-par, because yeast infections actually start in the intestines and spread to the vagina AFTER being through the bowel first.
Mind you, at this point, the chronic cycle could be at least somewhat related to a lot of courses of antibiotics. In fact, next time a doc wants to put you on'em for these, I'd ask for a different treatment.
The BCPs shouldn't be making a difference, certainly not with the UTIs, but may be related per the yeast infections (from a natural health standpoint, copper is pretty important when it comes to candida, and BCPs can create problems with metabolizing it).
Until you do find an alternative doc, here's what I'd suggest:
1. No more antibiotics for at least a couple months.
2. Yes on those cranberry tablets: do at least one or two twice a day with a good liter of water each. 3. Acidophilus/prodophilus supplements: they'll be in the refridgerated section of your natural foods store. Take them as directed daily. This could help a lot. 4. Do what you can to, for now, perhaps slow down with the cheese: the yogurt is fine if it's not full of sugar (as in, commercial fruit yogurts). Try and also limit wheat-based grains and again, simple carbs. When you eat, don't rush: be sure you're taking your time eating. 5. Keep a notebook about your symptoms over the next month or two: when you get what, when you feel fine, when you don't.
Member # 20094
posted 09-08-2005 03:07 PM
Thank you so much for all your help, Miz Scarlet. i really appreciate such detailed answers...hopefully I can get to the bottom of this soon!
Member # 3
posted 09-08-2005 05:22 PM
There is often a perfectly harmonious middle ground between western medicine and alternative medicine, and the overuse of antibiotics AND the under-investigation of dietary/lifestyle issues with vaginal infections can also often find a healthier middle ground.
Try and be patient with the suggestions: I'd say if you don't experience some changes/relief in a few weeks, then go ahead and hook up with a new doctor, preferably someone who WILL think outside the box a bit more.
Member # 25407
posted 09-22-2005 01:46 AM
Have no idea if this is aplicable or not, but our last dog showed symptoms of UTI on a regular basis, but always tested negative. We did some research and ended up trying to remove all food coloring from her diet. As soon as we did that, she stopped having problems.
Member # 20094
posted 10-08-2005 11:27 PM
So I thought I'd ask this question in my old thread, because I'm not sure if it's related or not, but either way, I'm so fed up with my body right now it's not even funny.
The problem is that I got what I thought was a yeast infection (again)about a month ago. Just the itching, no discharge that I noticed, so I went to the doctor to see if I should treat it with the usual over the counter treatment or if it could be something else. The doctor basically asked me what the symptoms were, looked at me like "of course you have a yeast infection" and said to get Monistat or whatever and see my regular doctor if it didn't go away. (This was on a Sunday, so I had to go to a walk-in clinic.)
Well, it didn't go away, and after I finished the treatment, I noticed that I had thick, yellow discharge that didn't exactly smell different, but just stronger than usual. So, I trucked off to see my regular doctor; she said I just had a yeast infection that resisted treatment and gave me a prescription for something a bit stronger. It still didn't go away, although it got better. (My only symptoms of anything now are the thick yellow discharge and seriously awful burning pain whenever I attempt intercourse or penetration of any kind really.)
So, back to the doctor with me....this time I got told that I might have had a yeast infection before, but now I had bacterial vaginosis. Got treated for that, but it hasn't changed a thing. I just don't know what to do; it's affecting my sex life rather seriously, which is getting me down...it's a part of my relationship with m boyfriend that I quite enjoy, and we haven't been able to do much of anything for over a month now. I'm actually quite hesitant to go back to the doctor and get another prescription for who-knows-what this time, because I have a feeling that back-to-back treatments for various issues might just be part of the problem. I've made a few calls to naturopaths and the like, and basically, I just can't afford it. I'm a student with no health insurance except the mandatory provincial coverage, which doesn't cover anything except doctor's visits. Heck, just paying for all these various medications has taken a chunk out of my bank account!
I guess what I'm asking is do I need to go back to the doctor, or just wait it out and see if it starts to get better on its own? It doesn't seem to be getting any worse, and I'm sick of going to the doctor (two pelvic exams in a month is more than enough, thankyouverymuch) but I don't know what to do. Is there anything I could try at home?
(Wow, sorry this is so long!)
Member # 3
posted 10-08-2005 11:55 PM
Again, as I suggested before, at this point, I'd really suggest seeing someone who can look at your whole health and lifestyle. Even a good OB/GYN should be asking about what you're eating and your lifestyle if you keep landing infections.
Now, mind you, it is entirely possible that what happened is that you had a bacterial nfection all along, one that got severe enough it's taking you some time to really be rid of it. You also have been on such a constant antibiotic train, it is going to take your bodsy some time to rebelance its own flora. So, a little more time may well take care of things. You will -- sorry -- still want to have another exam in a couple of weeks, especially if you still have yet to get a full STI screen to be sure this has been EITHER of those things.
But sounds like you need a new GYN already (do you even have an actual GYN yet at all, rather than your GP?) -- one who isn't so hasty with the diagnoses. Most towns of any size will have good, sliding scale women's clinics: perhaps you can ask the student health offices at your school?
Per at-home things to try and help in the interim, you may know all this already, but in case you do not:
- A good bacteria supplement, like acidophilus, taken daily, can be a lot of help. Ask your local natural foods store for help. My personal reproductive health supplement regimen is a combination of pro-dophilus, cranberry, red raspberry leaf, black cohosh, soy isoflavone, and a dairy-free diet.
- Cotton undies and a lack of too-tight pants.
- Some warn salted baths can help speed healing of irritated tissue. Aloe vera gel, applied only to the external portions of the vulva, can also be of help.
- Preventative approaches rather than a constant assault of antibiotics. That includes annual STI screens, dietary stuff and general safer sex practices.
- Cut down as much as possible on simple strarches and simple carbs, refined sugars and caffeine, per the yeast infections. Per the UTIs, urinating before and after sexual activities is a must, too. For now, I'd really also lose the cheese. The yogurt is actually likely to be a help to you, so don't worry about that.
I'd also suggest asking your GYN about if going off the BCPs for a bit might help you. This isn't an area I know much about, but in looking around for you, and picking up a few books here on the reference shelves at Chez Corinna, I am seeing some suggestions that BCPs might make a difference per greater incidences of this, and I'd posit that may have something to do with the lack of veginal lubrication and thicker cervical mucus they bring about, as well as correlations between hormonal issues and the immune system. (One such suggestion about BCPs being a possible issue is here:
http://www.4woman.gov/faq/yeastinfect.htm) In the meantime per your relationship, cheesy as it sounds, no genital sex doesn't have to mean no sex or no physical intimacy. Rather than getting down, might want to see if the two of you can't aproach this instead as an opportunity to explore non-genital intimacy, more full-body stuff, or even things which don't involve vaginal penetration or even partnered contact, like mutual masturbation. None of those things have to be lesser than intercourse and the like: they're not for many couples, even those without barriers to intercourse.
Member # 20094
posted 10-09-2005 12:33 AM
Thanks for the reply Miz Scarlet. I guess I'll just have to go back to the doctor and ask for a referral to a GYN (not sure how it works in the US, but in Canada GYNs are specialists, and you don't see one unless there's something seriously wrong - GPs take care of the annual pelvic exam, pap smear, etc.) Getting in to see one will probably take a few months though...so I guess I'll just have to deal with it until then.
Member # 3
posted 10-09-2005 08:41 AM
... since you're just in Victoria, you could use a women's clinic right across the border in Washington State. I know there are a couple in Bellingham, for instance. There are certainly plenty in Seattle.
OR, you could visit the Planned Parenthood in Victoria:
Member # 13802
posted 11-06-2005 10:26 PM
hmmm...your problem and my problem that I posted show some simalarities I wonder if it has anything to do with the birth control we use the same one
oh and if MizScarlet could repost that link from the prvious post I would really appreciate it...thanks ------------------ Never spit in the wind--TRUST ME ON THIS ONE
[This message has been edited by IceCuzImCold (edited 11-06-2005).]