Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to get rid of a UTI / Bladder Infection... I can't believe this actually WORKED!!!

Note: this post gets kind of long so if you want the nut nut on what worked for me, scroll all the way down for the gist... 6 things that REALLY DO WORK... it will be highlighted in yellow... "How to Prevent ant Treat UTIs... 6 critical things to remember."  NUMBER SIX is the one thing that you probably have never even heard before, that seemed to work like magic for me!!!  Please note that if you have a kidney infection or leave your UTI untreated for too long, it could become dangerous. So, while this stuff worked great for me (someone who has had them pretty regularly for over 20 years), please remember I'm not a doctor and am not trying to dispense medical advice.  If you think you have a serious health condition, please seek medical attention immediately. And there's my official CMA. 
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Yesterday I woke up with a horrible UTI. Ugh.

It was one of those things where, I could kind of feel something coming on the night before, but it just felt like dryness and a certain amount of irritation from having more sex than usual.  It didn’t occur to me that I could wind up with a full blown bladder infection.  It’s been over a year since I had a bladder infection, so I managed to forget how horrible they are, and forget about the fact that you have to NIP THEM IN THE BUD ASAP!

My hubby had the day off on Friday and we ended up having sex twice that morning. The second time we did it, I just assumed that because we’d just had sex a few hours earlier, and since I still hadn’t gotten out of bed, then I must still be sufficiently lubricated.

WRONG!!!  

Well, the combination of me not being lubricated enough, not drinking enough water that week, my husband having an extra hard you-know-what (so there was more friction than usual... especially since it had been about a week since we had sex), me NOT going to pee right after sex, then lying there with my heated blanket on high for a few hours, eating a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast that morning, and drinking WAY too many sugary drinks (large bottle of kool aid and an extra large Sprite from McDonalds) turned out to be the perfect recipe for a full blown Urinary Tract Infection!

I used to get UTI’s all the time in my 20’s and 30’s.  They are just horrible. I feel like it totally immobilizes me and I can’t think about anything else until I can get relief.  I think part of the reason I get them more often than regular people is because I took so many antibiotics for acne, and also took Accutane (which dries up your mucus membranes). Some people try to say that your body goes back to normal after you finish Accutane but that is not the case for a lot of people (if you don't believe me, google "Accutane" and "side effects" and just read the comments on the message boards). 

I hate UTI’s with a passion, particularly since I seem to be cursed with them. I will never forget the day I got the worst one, I was at work in an administrative position and had to leave early. I felt like I was going to have to go to the emergency room, I was hot and sweaty and had the chills. It was the worst one EVER. I think I got it because the guy I was with just took Viagra (he was  harder than usual…. Which fuels my theory that we chicks need to be extra cautious of an extra hard dick, and take extra precautionary measures NOT to get an infection later!!!).  There was another time I went to a clinic for antibiotics and because I hadn’t filled out the right paperwork ahead of time, they said I didn’t qualify for the low-cost program and I had to pay over $500 or they would ruin my credit!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was so mad, but I paid it.

Anyway, yesterday when I realized I was dealing with a UTI, I scrounged around for antibiotics in my medicine cabinet. I seem to get them at least once a year, so I sometimes have an extra pill or two on hand. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have any “extras” because you’re supposed to take every pill, but I don’t because a) I don’t like to take too many pills, and b) I feel like I need to save one or two for when I need them in case of an emergency like this, as I would literally beg, borrow and steal for them on a day when there is no clinic open and you can't get it over the counter. I did manage to find an old bottle of “Cippro” but it was slightly expired. So I took the two that were in there and hoped for the best.

      The Cippro didn’t seem to do anything, so I went to the drugstore looking for  Cystex, which is usually pretty awesome. Seriously, I was so happy when they stared selling it in stores. It is the closest thing to antibiotics, because it helps control the infection, whereas AZO  and Uristat only help with the pain till you can get to the doctor (I still love Azo though, because it has always worked fast... so I could GET to the doctor).

I did get AZO because Safeway was the first place I went looking for over-the-counter meds (they didn’t have Cystex), and it was on sale… just $3.49 (normally around $7).  I took two in the car, had lunch, then went to Rite Aid.  I had to pee so the first thing I did was go to the bathroom. And there, I discovered.... a huge glob of egg white cervical mucus on the toilet paper. Great. My body is trying to ovulate while my lady parts are totally out of commission.

I bought the Cystex, took two, went home, and took a hot bath. For some reason it didn’t seem to help much, I still felt horrible.

So I took two more of each. Two more Cystex and two more AZO. Oh yeah, and I’d also taken odorless garlic pills, hoping that would help fight the infection.

Still felt like crap.

A very dear friend texted me to just say hi and see how my day was going. I told her about my condition, and how I felt like I was stuck in bed all day and didn’t want to move, or even have my laptop on my lap because it felt uncomfortable. She is so sweet, she immediately wanted to help. She even offered to run to the drugstore to get some meds for me, and/or go to the health foods store in our neighborhood, to talk to the guy who runs the place, since he knows a lot about every type of health condition.

She knows that I have been trying to get pregnant, and I also told her that I’m ovulating. She wanted to ask the Health Food Store Guy about his recommendation for people who are TTC, who have a bladder infection.

Honestly, I didn’t really think he was going to have a good solution for me. I thought, he’s probably going to tell me to do some crazy thing that’s going to cost way too much money and I’m going to have to buy way too many full price products and end up spending like $60, when it would cost me $10 to visit the local clinic on Monday when they open (well… if I could hold out that long).



When you are suffering with a UTI, you don't want to screw around with stuff that isn't proven to work. When you have a UTI, you are like someone with a house on fire. You're in a state of emergency, and having someone suggest something that even remotely sounds "homeopathic" would be like someone handing you a squirt gun when your house is going up on flames. So, hearing any kind of advice that sounds like it may not work, is just a distraction, and therefore, ANNOYING. 

But still, my dear friend called the guy at the health food store, then called me back, and told me that he said I should take probiotics, and do a mega dose of at least 50 BILLION beneficial flora.

To be honest I really didn’t think it sounded like it would work. I mean, if that would actually work, then wouldn’t most of us women who get these damn recurrences, have heard about this cure by now? I just read that Urinary Tract Infections are responsible for nearly 8.3 million doctor visits every year, and they’re the 2nd most common type of infection in the human body. In the United States alone, UTIs generate SIX BILLION DOLLARS in direct healthcare costs. 

My friend happened to have some probiotics in her fridge (I learned that you are supposed to keep them refrigerated!).  I told her I had a bottle of them, which I’d gotten for free a few years ago through a Walgreen’s or CVS rebate. I ended up using it to try to treat a yeast infection I got in October when we were having a heatwave, and it actually did work (I did use some yeast infection cream too... but it was at least 5 years old so I wasn't sure if it was still good). It seemed to take days for it to subside. It’s funny, I was so anxious for it to go away, I ended up scheduling an appt. to go to a clinic, but by the time I got there, they told me it had already cleared up. So I was bummed about wasting the time, but glad I’d bought that bottle of probiotics! It just never would occur to me that it could work on a UTI!
 
Anyway, I had 6 probiotics pills left. The brand was Ultimate Flora .They were 15 billion each, and they were a few months past the exiration date, so I took all of them. Then my friend brought over her bottle and she gave me a bunch of hers, since hers weren’t expired and had also been refrigerated.  Her pills were 2 billion each. I took about a dozen with a slice of apple, planning to take more later. I also put a few on the side to stick them “up there” for good measure.


I went to Walgreens to look for more probiotics, and got the Ultimate Flora Critical Care Capsules with 50 Billion Flora (there were a few different types). Also, it has 10 probiotic strains, and this particular type has a “delayed release” so that it doesn’t all get burned up by your stomach acids, like many probiotics do.

I took two capsules last night, and inserted one vaginally for good measure. When I went to pee, I did not see anything that looked like a capsule come out, so I'm assuming it did dissolve. The next time(s) I did this, I opened the capsule and inserted both halves, hoping it would dissolve faster / easier. 

Whatever the case...

I feel GREAT today. UTI? What UTI??? 

It was like it had never even happened. This was the first time in my entire life (and in probably about 40 UTI's) that I haven't had to take antibiotics to completely get rid of it!!!

It’s true, I did also consume about half a gallon of water yesterday. And yes, I did take Cystex and AZO and garlic and some Cippro (that didn't seem to do ANYTHING yesterday so it really should have been tossed). But I really can’t help thinking it was the FLORA, more than anything, that got me back in the normal position I am in now, because the Cystex and AZO just didn't seem to be kicking in like they normally do. The garlic didn't seem to be doing anything. And normally, drinking more water doesn't exactly take the UTI away. I am SO grateful to my friend for telling me about this!!! Now I just want to spread the word and pay it forward!

I am the kind of person who researches all kinds of DIY approaches, at-home remedies and the like, and had never seen anyone mention using probiotics for a UTI (but when you think about it, it makes sense... why not get the GOOD bacteria to kick the bad bacteria's butt??).  So that inspired me to write this post. It is just insane how many things there are, that actually WORK, but people just don’t  know about them because everybody keeps repeating the same old crap that doesn’t work. Like cranberry juice.

You know how much cranberry juice I’ve had after a UTI kicks in? Way too much. It doesn’t work for me at ALL. At least, not the regular cranberry juice. The excess sugar in the juice makes the problem WORSE. Cranberry pills do offer some relief (I’ve heard that something about the cranberry juice changes the bacteria’s texture, so it doesn’t have the “barbs” – like barbed wire – that makes it stick to the inside of your urinary tract). But regular cranberry juice? The thing that everybody says to drink when you have a UTI?? It’s totally bogus. Well, at least it doesn't work for someone like me, who usually needs something super strong to clear it up.

If you ever find yourself with a UTI, ladies, PLEASE… try Probiotics... I can't believe how well this actually worked!!! You should be able to get them in any drugstore or any health food store.  The guy at the health food store who said I should take 50 billion flora, was going to also recommend some other stuff for me to take, if I came down in person, but just the probiotic recommendation alone, seemed to do the trick. I am really grateful to my friend for asking him about it, and to him for telling her about it!!!


The type I took is pictured here on the left. You can get different varieties of "Ultimate Flora" at the drugstore, and probiotics are also available at health food stores. I just like this one because it was convenient....they managed to stuff 50 billion probiotics into ONE PILL! You can probably take just about any brand, just make sure it's not expired, that it's been kept cool, and take enough to equal 50 billion flora / live cultures.

Of course, now that I've HEARD of using probiotics to treat a UTI, I was able to do a related google search and found that there have been studies that show probiotics do help prevent a UTI, but that info never seemed to come up without actually inserting the word "probiotic" into the google search... so not many people would ever FIND that info "by chance."

You can read some relevant articles below. FYI in the studies, the women took probiotics on a regular basis, but I didn't have to do that. Maybe one day I will do that but honestly I'm taking so many supplements and vitamins right now, I can't imagine having to add any more pills... they wouldn't even fit into my huge pill minder!!! So for anyone who is more interested in a quick fix and is not really concerned with prevention... I can vouch that taking 50 billion at a time did seem to work. Again... I did take Cystex, but would not be surprised if the Probiotics would have just worked on their own.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/260450-how-can-i-cure-my-uti-without-antibiotics/

http://www.thirdage.com/news/probiotics-may-help-treat-uti-study-says_04-19-2011


So here is the gist of 
How to Prevent and Treat UTIs... 6 critical things to remember!  (Including one thing you probably have never even heard of before... that DID THE TRICK!!!)

1) PEE RIGHT AFTER SEX. I cannot stress this enough. It really does work, like magic. It sounds so simple but it ALWAYS works. I had a roommate in my 20's who told me to do this and I didn't listen because it sounded too simple to work. I also think I had some kind of mental block against it because to me, Pee was equivalent to "Dirty"... so how could it actually "clean out" the bad stuff? But I later realized she was totally right. Urine is STERILE.... and it actually has antibodies in it. And every single time I've had a UTI, I realized, I hadn't peed right after sex, and have never ever had one when I did. The key is, to make sure you drink lots of water BEFORE sex, so you feel like you HAVE to pee after (otherwise it's way too easy to fall asleep)! It's also important to stay well hydrated thoughout the day (it helps to have a water bottle you LIKE to drink out of, that doesn't leak and is easy to carry everywhere).

Of course, if you are TTC and don't want to pee after sex, I get that... that is part of the reason why I didn't pee after sex this time around. I realized, I could have used a diaphragm or Instead cup (Softcup) to hold the sperm in while I went to pee, but if you do this, you have to make sure it's "shoved up there high enough," because otherwise it can push down on your urethra so it will actually be harder to pee (FYI this is not usually an issue with a diaphragm but with the Softcup it kind of is). I think I may have even heard once, that using a Softcup can actually cause a UTI in some cases, but that has never happened to me, and... what the hell, if you've already got one, how much worse can it get? (Why do those sound like famous last words...).  Anyway... all this is a good enough reason to drink lots of water and limit your caffeine intake.

Even just a little urine flow can help clean out the bad bacteria that causes a UTI. And don't make the mistake of thinking that just because it's winter time or because it's cold out, and you don't FEEL dehydrated, that you aren't (especially if you have a heated blanket on yourself like I did... duh!!). Also, it doesn't hurt to make sure both you and your man are nice and showered, though you can still get a UTI even if you both just got out of the shower!

2) Use enough lubrication during sex.  Astroglide Natural is the bomb. It's probably better to avoid lubricants that have "heat inducing" qualities (but that's just a guess). As a little side note, taking "FertileCM" really does seem to help increase the quantity and quality of my cervical mucous, so if you tend to be pretty dry down there, this could be a great supplement to take. 

3) CYSTEX is THE BEST over the counter medication you can buy (in my opinion... the opinion of someone who's had at least 40 UTI's in her entire lifetime). It usually fights off the infection AND the pain, while AZO and Uristat just fight the pain (and make your pee turn bright orange like something you'd dip an easter egg in). AZO and Uristat can help with the pain temporarily, but they will NOT do anything to help clear up the infection. It's just like putting a band aid on a really bad wound. When you really need relief you'll take any kind of help but just remember AZO and Uristat are very temporary.

4) AVOID CAFFEINE, SUGAR, AND CARBS (which turn into sugar).

5) DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Filtered, if you have it, or get it from the store (you do not want to be drinking water that has excessive chlorine in it). Water with too much chlorine will make things worse. 

6) (Most Important, in my opinion)...TAKE PROBIOTICS. Fifty billion of them (live cultures in capsules). And stick a pill or two "up there" for good measure. I recommend the "Ultimate Flora" brand because that's what I used, but I'm sure just about any other type would work. Keep it in the refrigerator and it will last much longer. I still can't believe how well this worked for me! When you see how well it works for you, please spread the word.  One day maybe we can actually get rid of the stupid rumor that regular cranberry juice actually works!

-Ellebelle

PS... UPDATE: Two weeks later... I can confirm that my UTI really did clear up by taking Probiotics and Cystex, without having to go to the doctor. For the first time in my life (and I'm talking about 20 years of suffering with UTIs) I did not have to go get antibiotics, woohoo! I will tell you that I did end up taking a few more Cystex (you're supposed to take 2 at a time, so I probably took 8 more... 4 doses). I did this because I could still feel a slightly raw feeling down there, it's was like, an elevated temperature thing that made me a little worried it could come back full force. So I took the Cystex and continued to also take the Ultimate Flora, orally and also used a pill vaginally about 4 different times... and the UTI really did clear up completely. GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

Please tell your girlfriends about Probiotics. They are way better for your body, than taking antibiotics!!!

UPDATE 10/11/14: I also recommend THIS BRAND of probiotics (Nature's Bounty) also. It has 20 billion cultures. I've been taking it for over a year and love it. Please note that they do sell this brand (but in a lower dose) at most drugstores like Walgreens or Rite Aid or CVS (I get the one with 20 Billion at Costco). A common one I've seen is labeled as Acidophilus and has about 100 million flora. So you'd have to take a lot to get the equivalent of 50 billion strains. If you're at a drugstore and you're having an emergency, I'd recommend you look for the Ultimate Flora brand.


I'm not a doctor but this is the stuff that REALLY WORKED FOR ME. I really hope it will work for you too! Again, please pass this info on to other women you think it could help!!  


EB

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