Continuous Bladder Infections

Body: 

Here I am -- looking for help again.

I probably have mentioned my problem with recurring bladder infections here on the forum before, but now I want to know -- Is prolapse the cause?? What can I do to eliminate this problem??

This past few months I have been drinking cranberry juice every day, and last week I began to put ground cinnamon in my daily smoothie.

My doctor wants me to go for an ultrasound on my bladder to find out what is causing the infections.

Does anyone have some input/help for me here??

Thanks
:-)
w2k

and I find that many of the things I am taking should be clearing out the bladder infections: cranberry juice, Vita-C, garlic, probiotics, pineapple juice and epsom salts baths.

Will continuously following this regime clear me of bladder infections, or should I be looking at other causes as well?

What might the ultrasound on my bladder reveal??

Thanks
:-)
w2k

w2k, I'm fairly certain that the prolapse would be "causing" the infections ONLY if the prolapse was preventing you from emptying completely. That's my guess. - Surviving (PS, I was going to ask YOU what the doc thought the ultrasound might reveal......)

I have no idea what the doc thinks the ultrasound will reveal. I almost wonder if it's necessary?? But I guess as long as it's not harmful, I should go through with it.

I'll have to concentrate on 'emptying myself' regularly. Maybe something will begin to work

Hi w2k,
I'm sorry you are having continuous bladder infections, that must be really distressing. I do think some people are more prone to them than others. I have a friend whose (8 Year old) daughter gets them all the time, as does her grandmother.

The ultrasound would tell you if you are emptying completely or not. What they usually do is get you to drink heaps of water beforehand, then they look at everything through your belly when you have a full bladder, then part way through the procedure you go to the toilet, then they look at everything again (usually vaginally). They can see whether the bladder is completely empty or not.
So, a couple of things to note about this: if you already know you are emptying completely, then this won't tell you anything. Also it is pretty uncomfortable having to fill your bladder completely beforehand. Then it takes a few hours and a few trips to the toilet to empty again. And there is also the vaginal aspect of the scan, which you may or may not feel comfortable with. They do poke and prod around a bit, but when I had one of these, it did not have any consequences for my POP.

Just a few things to think about... all the best.

This procedure sounds awful to me, and not helpful. When I've been holding a full bladder for awhile, to the point of discomfort, I can't even relax enough to empty in one "go" - even in the privacy of my own bathroom! It takes me a few times to get it all out. Yet I normally have no problems emptying and am not at all prone to UTIs. - Surviving

Thank you for the help, Curiosity. I had a pelvic ultrasound a couple of months ago (to check out my uterus) and they did the vaginal one as well.

I can now be properly prepared for what is going to be required of me this time.

I have a feeling that the ultrasound that I had before may have 'caused' my slight prolapse. Although the bladder infections have been happening for 8 years now, the prolapse seems to be recent. I hope that this bladder ultrasound doesn't cause more problems ((groan))

:-)
w2k

Thanks for your input, Surviving!!

I don't know if I DARE suggest that it's not necessary.

Hubby thinks the Dr is checking for bladder cancer. My M-I-L passed away last year with bladder cancer, and he may want to make sure that I don't have it. (hubby says to tell him that 'it was my M-I-L -- not my Mom')

It seems to me you need to discuss this with your doctor further w2k. Of course you can choose whether to have this procedure or not. I can understand your reluctance to have it if you think the last one caused or at least exacerbated your symtoms. If you had one a couple of months ago, I would ask your doctor why you need another one now. The full results from the last one should be available including whether your bladder could be fully emptied, and whether there were any tumors present. If you have been having infections for the last 8 years, then your doctor should be able to explain what would have changed in the last two months that would require another ultrasound. Or is it that your doctor thinks he should be doing *something* in the absence of having a good theory about why you are getting continuous infections? It is your body, and you have the right to answers to these questions.

I remember there have been a couple of members on here who have been in similar situations - maybe you could do a search and see if that turns anything up. I remember one woman in particular who said that her infections usually happened after she had sex. Have you found this at all?

I actually find that the infections happen mostly about the time of my menstruation.

When the doctor ordered the initial ultrasound, he was looking for a reason why my iron is low. That's when he 'found' the fibroids. I had already known about the fibroids from about 15 years ago, when another doctor had had an ultrasound done.

The probability is that the recent ultrasound didn't focus on the bladder (because I hadn't talked with the doctor about the bladder infections at that time) and he probably can't see what he needs to. He IS a good doctor, but I've only had him as my doctor for about 3 months.

The 'dropped bladder' seemed to only show up about a month ago .... after I'd had the ultrasound .... and that's when I found this forum. So now, I'm trying to piece things together without upsetting my doctor. I DO want him to figure out what's wrong -- if he can -- I just don't want surgery unless absolutely necessary.

Thanks for explaining a bit more. Do you have the full ultrasound report from 2 months ago? I'm not an expert but I am pretty sure it is a standard scan where they look at all that they can i.e. uterus, fibroids etc., bladder, ureters squirting urine into your bladder, full bladder volume, empty bladder etc. I think they would have looked for any unusual masses in the bladder. Anyway if you can ask these questions and get the full report, you might save yourself another procedure. And seriously, don't worry about upsetting the dr - that's what he's there for.

p.s. interesting that you mainly get the infections around menstruation time - that is when I tend to get thrush. There must be a hormonal perfect storm around that time. Is there anything you can do around that time to be extra careful? Drink plenty of water, try not to get stressed, always empty properly. You're probably doing all of these things anyway...

I'm not sure that I'm always emptying properly ... and I'm wondering if tampons could be a problem. I do tend to drink less water when I have my menstruation because drinking water at that time adds to my pain. My digestive system goes all wacky then too, and there are certain foods I have to avoid: cooked eggs, salads, ....

I live in a town that is scarce of doctors. I am blessed to have been accepted as a patient by this doctor (deemed the best one in town) and I hesitate to show too much independence too soon. He is the first doctor that I ever had that truly is searching to find out what is causing my problems.

However, I AM supposed to see a female gynecologist this Thursday. Perhaps she could tell me if this second ultrasound is necessary. I'm supposed to see her about the fibroid(s) and my doctor suggested that I talk to her about the 'dropped bladder' too. I would expect that she'll have the necessary information about the first ultrasound.

I'll make notes of these questions that I have, and maybe she'll tell me if some of these things are necessary or not.

:-)
w2k

around my menstruation time I often get a cold, so I'm sure, that that has something to do with hormones!
And I guess (I don't know), that a tampon can cause bladder problems, too, because on a tampon the bacteria can grow very good. It's warm and wet. Perfect for bacteria. I read about TSS, which is caused by tampons. In that articel they wrote, that tampons made of viscose are often "infected" by bacteria (don'tknow anymore why). And when your bladder is dropped, the bacteria have no long way from the tampon to your bladder. But that's only my guess. Don't know if that's a possibility for your problems. But you don't lose anything, if you try to use tampons made of cotton (should be the good ones) or perhaps a mooncup/ diva cup.
Best wishes
Butterfly

Thank you, Butterfly. I will definitely look into the healthy alternatives to tampons that you suggested. Upon reading up on them, it seems that they may help solve some of my problems.

:-)
w2k

Please let me/ us know, if it helps. Good luck!!!
Butterfly

w2k, you said a few posts up from here that you are still not sure you're emptying properly. I think we'd all agree this is step #1 in solving this thing. Even down on all fours, getting up and down several times, still can't be sure? A cystocele need not prevent you from emptying if you are taking the necessary steps, at least once a day. Do you still not "feel" empty after doing all of that? - Surviving

The funny thing is that I 'feel' empty, but may have to go again shortly.

I'll work away at it and see if I can figure it out. Hopefully the appointment with the gynecologist on Thursday will help .... and if I need the bladder ultrasound, perhaps it will give me some answers too.

:-)
w2k

W2K...I have had a lifetime of repeated UTI's (had my first on my honeymoon 42 years ago). Most recently, I have had six every 40 days and that's a lot of antibiotics. Recently, I went on a quest to get to the source of the regular infections thinking that it was due to the previously diagnosed cystocele. I was afraid I was facing surgery. I made appts. with three different highly regarded urogyno's in different parts of the country to coordinate with my vacation plans. Not a great vacation idea but taking all of these antibiotics has to stop. I have tried every natural remedy from d-manose to oregano oil. I believe that the antibiotic has never completely wiped out the infection. I am now on a 90 day course of antibiotics but two of the three doctors recommended this so I am complying. I try to follow a plant based diet. I know these antibiotics are terrible but I don't know what else to do. Both of the two preferred docs did not recommend surgery. I have a stage three cystocele and stage two rectocele so I was surprised but relieved. I am scheduled for a cat scan and have had an ultrasound and cystoscope. I am able to adequately empty my bladder. Is there a way to communicate with you not on the forum?

Hi Susan

I don't think there's a way to communicate other than through the forum, but I really appreciate your input here. So far, my doctor has put me on antibiotics twice. The last time, he sent me for a urine sample right after the prescription ended to find out if the antibiotics had removed the infection. Obviously they didn't do the job because now he wants to do the ultrasound.

As I mentioned earlier, my change in diet (increasing fruits & veggies and decreasing caffeine, sugar & processed meats) has only been happening over the past month. I have also been trying to maintain ww posture for the last month.

I'm trying to put together all the information I'm receiving and make lifestyle changes that will hopefully decrease the infections.

:-)
w2k

P.S. I checked the tampons I have been using for years, and I realize that their ingredients are probably not helping my situation: "May contain: cotton, rayon, polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene & fiber finishes"

Do you wear thongs? I remembered that some time ago I read that thongs can cause infections so I did a search on the web and copied the following for you, just in case it helps you or someone else:

One way a thong might be a culprit of infection is that it can serve as a conduit for bacteria. Since a thong is a continuous and close fitting strip of fabric, it can easily pick up fecal matter and bacteria from the anus, and if the thong moves, can carry that matter forward to the vagina and urinary tract. One gynecologist likened a thong to a subway car transporting bacteria from the rectum to the vagina. UTIs and some types of vaginitis (although not yeast infections) are caused by bacteria, often from fecal matter, which is why thongs could be implicated in some instances of infection.

Thongs can also leave women more susceptible to infections by irritating the vaginal tissues. The function of underwear is to provide a soft barrier between potential irritants, such as your clothes, and the vagina. In addition to failing to provide that barrier, a thong may itself irritate vaginal tissue by causing micro-abrasions or cracks in the skin, which can leave delicate tissues more susceptible to infection.

No. I don't wear a thong, but this is making me wonder if I should be double-checking to make sure that underwear is cotton-lined.

I'm assuming that cotton is the best absorber of moisture and would be the safest to wear??

cotton seems to be safer than other materials. I think because it's natural and not chemical.

If you email Louise, she will put you in touch with each other off-forum: louiseds at wholewoman.com.

I found 100% silk panties the best to absorb moisture but now that I have no pessary and the bulge hangs to the panties, cotton is the best. I did not read all your posts w2k, so if your bulge is pretty much "in", silk is great especially for very hot days but if it is down way too low, your bulge will dry out sitting on the silk. You might want to consider changing panties a few times a day also, especially if they are partly synthetic.

You might also want to read the post I made regarding tampons....put the word in the search bar on this site. I used to use them, at times, to keep the bulge in but after reading the info I stopped.

Want2Know...Per this forum, I have contacted louiseds@wholewoman.com and given her my email address to send to you if you would like to chat more about your frequent UTI's.
I did want to suggest that you search "A Holistic Approach to Urinary Tract Infections"
by ADRIENNE CARMACK, MD on DECEMBER 1, 2010 on the whole woman website. I found Dr. Carmack's comments to be helpful but it's too soon for me to see if her suggestions will make any difference. She does suggest taking 10,000 units of Vitamin A, 1 gram of Vitamin C and 30 mg of Zinc. every day. She suggests adding to that dosage if one has an infection. I am following that course of treatment. I also am doing a probiotic a couple of times a day. I am only 1/2 way through the 90 day course of antibiotics but I will be armed with Dr. Carmack's other suggestions. Another piece of information that I received from two of the three docs is that the repeated UTI's are not about hygiene. I have been so paranoid all these years and they were very emphatic that this was not the case. Regardless, I am fastidious. I have had cultures done on the last three infections and the bacteria was different each time. I am told that the antibiotic does havoc with our immune system and it's easy to just get a different bacterial infection because the antibiotic wipes our good and bad bacteria. It becomes a vicious circle. I have unsuccessfully tried a pessary but that's not to say I won't revisit that another time. (Tried 3 different ones.) I have just received the sponges from Jade Pearl and look forward to experimenting with that option. Good luck to you and don't hesitate to contact me if you want more info.

Want2Know....Your question...."I probably have mentioned my problem with recurring bladder infections here on the forum before, but now I want to know -- Is prolapse the cause?? What can I do to eliminate this problem??"
Argh...I am sorry that after all that I did not refer to yesterday's pressing question. My personal experience is as follows: In 2010, I visited Dr. Schaffer, Chief of the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine at Southwestern. He suggested that surgery to correct the cystocele may result in leakage. I was grateful for that honest answer. He did not suggest that the cystocele was the cause of the UTI's nor was I having them with this terrible frequency at that time. In 2013, two of the three docs did not recommend surgery. The third did but when I really pressed her, she explained that there is no research to prove or disprove that the surgery would help with the infections. Hmmmm...I quickly exited that office. (So why did she want me to do the surgery???) One of the urogyno's who had started a pelvic floor disorder clinic stated that they don't have research to prove this but that it's rare that the bladder completely falls out and that it seems to get to a point of status quo and women learn to live with it. All this to say, I am hopeful with my personal research that docs are backing off this surgery because they are ending up with too many dissatisfied customers so they aren't pushing it.

I think I would prefer to continue discussing it here on the forum instead of exchanging e-mails.

I really appreciate your input. Ruling out personal hygiene is helpful. From what you've explained, I believe that I probably have an infection that has never completely cleared up.

I will take the time to read the readings that you suggested, above, and will do what I can to avoid surgeries and excessive antibiotics in seeking to solve this problem.

Thanks so much for your help

:-)
w2k

I think I probably told you all I know for what's it's worth. Do let us know what you learn...

I sure appreciate your help, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes

:-)

Well, I saw the gyencologist today. She doesn't know what the ultrasound would reveal about my bladder infections, but she thinks it's a great idea to do the ultrasound to see if there has been any change in my fibroids. She says that unless the fibroids are growing quickly, there is no need to worry. It would be best if I lost some weight. (A very wise girl!!)

She believes that the prolapse could be causing the bladder infections, but she said that I should be drinking cranberry juice, or even taking cranberry capsules. She seems like a very level-headed girl and is not in a hurry to do surgery.

So ... I think another couple of months of reducing sugar, caffeine and processed foods, and increasing fruits, vegetables & herbs & spices, may make a difference in my fibroids .... and even in my bladder infections.

She didn't seem to have any concept of being able to change the position of pelvic organs, but I intend to continue with ww posture & exercise.

:-)
w2k

w2k, did she say why she thinks the prolapse would be causing the UTIs? Does it have to do with emptying? I suspect she simply does not know..... - Surviving

When I suggested that maybe it was because I wasn't emptying, she didn't know. HOWEVER, it is possible that, in her experience, others who have prolapse have problems with UTIs.

:-)
w2k

I talked to a few doctors about UTIs and they wanted to go the hygiene route (faecal matter getting into the bladder) like it was all done and dusted and it seems sensible enough with the anus located so close to the urethra etc. But when UTIs keep recurring, it seems that the bacteria flares up again and no longer a matter simply of hygiene. When I suggested that the not emptying the bladder fully may be a factor some said yes and others said but cystocele is mostly associated with incontinence so logically it would not follow. So I would agree it's out there. What is common is that E coli gets into the bladder. Interestingly, the second most likely people to get UTIs are old men with prostrate problems which really just means old men as they all get prostrate problems and they get the UTI because of the subsequent pooling of urine with insufficient emptying. As to the cranberry juice, there is nothing wrong with taking it (it can interact with warfarin), and anecdotally a lot of people recommend it but water will do just as well. It is the flushing through of the bowel that is the important thing. The Ural that Aussie Soul Sister mentioned on another thread also soothes; it’s alkaline and soothes the acidic (carb soda will do the same although rather boring). There is no research at present to show that cranberry is helpful in the treatment of acute UTIs. Anti-adhesion substances in cranberry (and other berries like blueberries) have been widely examined in the laboratory. And it has been agreed that they seem to have an effect on E. coli adhesion. That is the theoretical base for recommending cranberry juice, but it has not been demonstrated to actually work in women patients. D-mannose has not been tested in a clinical trial, whereas antibiotics are known to work.) If you go the antibiotic route, you may need to take a few courses before it finally shifts. Good luck, I hope it fixes soon.

Fab, I would certainly take issue with that one doctor's comment that incontinence is inconsistent with an emptying problem. Just because someone has some leakage of urine, does not mean that she's always emptying completely when she sits down to go. This sounds like someone trying to cover up for not having a clue! - Surviving

Yes, the irony is that that particular doc is a real stickler for proven scientific fact. If there have been no clinical trials, no peer review then it can't be accepted until that happens. All of which you can accept in the scientific spirit it is meant, but yes there was a bit of a conflict there with the leaking, just as when I asked about baby napkins how come babies don't tend to get UTIs, my mind thinking, but unfortunately not saying, babies sitting in stool and that doc's mind was still on the urine and so the urine was out in the napkin and not being held in the bladder. All I can say is that each of the doctors was genuine and speaking within their range of experience and point of view, and they were forthcoming and doing their best by me. But it does get back down to doing our homework and staying in charge of our own bodies as much as we can, but in emergencies of course we have to and do trust.

Thank you for the input, Fab & Surviving.

I think your discussion is so helpful. I've been drinking concentrated cranberry juice with carb soda!! I usually drink about 16oz of it per day, and then I drink water and fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Hopefully the diarrhea that I am presently getting is a sign that the bowels are cleansing.

I think it was Susan55, above, who said that she is presently doing a long-term dose of antibiotics to hopefully clean out the UTIs once and for all. Maybe that's what I'll eventually need.

In the meantime, I'm going to concentrate on ww posture, completely emptying out at least once a day, cleaning up my eating habits and losing weight.

You have all been so helpful, and I'll try to keep you informed about my progress.

I booked the second ultrasound, and it won't be until August 20th, so that will give me plenty of time to see what results I am getting from my 'diet & exercise program'.

btw -- if the weather is fine -- I'M GOIN FISHIN' TOMORROW!! We'll see how that works out with all these complications. And -- yes, Surviving -- I WILL concentrate on ww posture.

:-)
w2k

It was flushing through of the bladder I meant to say which is the important thing, not the bowel as stated in my post above. Yes, if after a few courses of antibiotics, the UTIs persist then some doctors recommend a long term course of a low dose antibiotic, but hopefully things will have resolved before then with your new diet, toileting approach etc. Do you have a fry up later or are you the kiss and throw back brigade (which I do find a little weird I must confess, but then the idea of kissing a cold fish face makes me shudder)? Whichever way, happy catching and yes do keep us up to date.

I hate throwing fish back. I feel that we have injured them and they'll never survive anyway.

Forecast is for rain and thunder showers tomorrow, so we may have to postpone it .... but whichever way it goes, I'm all prepared -- with food -- with posture and with helpful fluids.

oh yes -- and with loose clothing too!!

:-)
w2k

Yes, surviving60 I think you are exactly right. They truly don't know the answer to why some women get repeated UTI's. As I mentioned earlier, this summer I went on a mission to resolve the frequent UTI's and had appt. with three highly regarded urogyno's. I believe two of these docs were most sincere and their goal is to heal me. In two of three appts, I had to pee and then the nurse did an ultrasound to see how much urine was left in my bladder. Both confirmed that I was in fact emptying my bladder.
Fab...regarding the hygiene issue...Both doctors were adamant that this is not the issue. I say this with upmost respect for these hardworking educated physicians that they are "practicing" and in some instances they don't have answers. After this experience I truly felt optimistic that some doctors realize we are educating ourselves and they can no longer bulldoze us with take a pill and go home. The third doc and the one that I was really hoping to become my regular urogyno was a terrible disappointment. She told me I needed surgery without an exam (just by my telling her I had a cystocele.) She said it's like this: "with a cystocele it's like you're walking around with your tongue hanging out." I was out of that office pretty quick!

No I can’t condone any doctor talking to you in those terms. Not only was it in bad taste and insulting, I don’t even get the analogy. Dogs stick their tongue out to cool themselves on a hot day or after exertion. Personally I like dogs but would not appreciate being compared to one and if she thought she was being funny, she thought wrong; she is being far too sophisticated for me. I am sorry that you had to experience that. Yes for many doctors I guess it is a whole new partnership; working with knowledgeable patients. I must admit, I have always voted with my feet this way, but the original sting stays to make you healthily wary of who you deal with. After all, it is a very primal transaction talking to someone about your body, your health and your life.

Want2know: Have you had the second ultrasound? What exactly is that procedure?
After 75 days on a 90 protocol of antibiotics to hopefully cure myself of the recurring UTI's, I stopped the antibiotics because of a terrible cold, my second this year. The accompanying cough was a concerning side effect of nitrofurantoin so I stopped the antibiotic. Exactly, two weeks later I got an infection. Because of the holiday weekend, I won't have culture results until tomorrow. For the last four days, I've been guzzling the water, unsweetened cranberry juice, Vit. C and A, and uva ursi tea and d-mannose. Wouldn't this be great if I could cure this without the antibiotics! I am feeling better but don't think the infection is gone.

They make you drink a quart of water before the test (a pelvic ultrasound).

For the test (it's in the 'diagnostic imaging' department), you lie down on a bed and they put some kind of lotion on your pelvic area and then use a machine to explore and take pictures of what they find inside. They use a handheld apparatus that they move all over the pelvic area -- often pressing and causing discomfort due to a full bladder.

This second ultrasound they only did the 'outside' ultrasound. The first ultrasound, she asked if she could do the vaginal one as well -- and I consented.

I hope this helps

:-)
w2k

**SIGH**

I just got a call from my doctor's office telling me that there is still infection in my urine. He prescribed ANOTHER dose of antibiotics.

I've been flushing with cranberry juice, water, lemon & water ..... You name it ... I've been doin' it .... to try to rid myself of it naturally. But it seems that neither the antibiotics or anything natural I'm doing is helping the situation

:-)
w2k

I am on my third bladder infection this year. I think my prolapse seems like it has gotten worse this past year. I am still working 4 days a week standing all day and i am 69. My urethra is being strangled off during my standing all day and I might be able to void once or twice a day at work but I'm pretty sure I'm not completely emptying so that probably sets me up for infection. I don't know what else to do because I have to work, not retirement for me. I just finished a 10 day of antibiotics and now I'm doing 30 days of a different antibiotic. First time I've ever had to do this. Not liking it and it kind of scares me to have to do it. But I don't have many choices. Anybody got any ideas?

Sometimes they give you an antibiotic that doesn't work with a particular infection.
It could help if they identified the culprit first but hopefully a change of drug will wipe out the bug this time.
Standing all day even in posture seems a bad idea. Anything you can do to cut down all those hours standing? Best wishes Amel.

Betterhairday, I know you work on hair, have you been able to incorporate WW posture? You definitely need to realign those pelvic organs and give your back and hips some relief as well. Any progress with posture? - Surviving

I am infection free and cured this latest infection by following Dr. Carmack's protocol. I read her post on this site and was am so grateful that I didn't have to take antibiotics. I had been on them for 75 days prior to this last occurrence. I have been on antibiotics six times in the last 12 months due to repeated infections. I thought... what did they do about these infections before we had antibiotics... so I was determined to be diligent. I did have a renal ultrasound confirming that there were no underlying issues causing the infections. I have now gotten a sea sponge and am using that easily. I also have an appointment today with a WW practitioner and am confident that with learning correct posture I will be able to put an end to these infections and improve my prolapse. I am so grateful for this website.

Where would I find Dr. Carmack's protocol on the site??

I don't seem to be having success getting rid of my bladder infections (although the Gyn and Dr both say that the 'stone in my urethra' could be causing the infections).

I'm to see a Urologist, about the stone, on the 26th
Thanks
:-)
w2k

Pages