I experienced my first ever UTI in September 2011 when I was in my early forties. It was treated and gone in two days. Then two years later in 2013, the UTI symptoms returned, which were slightly different to my first one. I would describe them as not a stinging or burning sensation on urinating but constant intense need to pee.
It was horrific. I couldn’t sleep at night, and spent many hours crying in the bathroom. The feelings of pressure, inflammation, a tingly urethra combined with a drippy feeling plus frequency but never urgency, meant I became very tired and grumpy. I was angry, as well as feeling helpless. Not being able to focus on my children was awful as this condition was taking all my energy and thoughts.
As I was training to be a nutritional therapist and had seen success in treating both myself and family for health conditions using natural remedies, I decided to send my sample away to the US for analysis to a laboratory that had been recommended to me. Initial results showed that I had a staph infection and I treated these with natural remedies. However, I then developed an enterococcus infection on a further laboratory test which became the dominant and remaining nuisance!
Staring with conventional treatments and then turning to complementary therapies
Despite my strong belief in using alternative remedies, I started to research specialists treating people for recurrent UTI and came across Professor Malone-Lee. I was living in London at the time and his clinic was very close to where I lived. At my first appointment, I was diagnosed as having an ongoing infection via his symptom checker and then through one sediment culture, the more detailed urine culture he was using at that time. I initially took antibiotics for six weeks but I decided that after this period I wanted to continue treatment using natural alternatives.
Given I have Hashimotos thyroiditis and sadly experienced premature menopause age 39, I wanted to treat my whole body rather than my bladder and I have focused on this through nutritional therapy, supplementation and because of my early menopause, balancing my hormones naturally. I would also advocate mitochrondial therapy and chinese herbs as they have significantly helped me.
I quickly became symptom-free and this has continued. If anything, I have a low bladder capacity. An average wee is 250 mls. I can hold up to 500mls if I want to but feel the need to go around 200mls. I know that unlike many, to have experienced two UTIs so far and getting into early treatment both naturally and synthetically has meant quicker symptom resolution.
Don’t look at the bladder alone – look at your whole body health
Personally, I believe treating the bladder in isolation is pointless, there is a reason you ended up with a chronic bladder infection and I don’t believe it’s just bad luck. It is the culmination of many things, which are not optimal. I would advise the following:
- Diet is important. If your gut microbiome is unhealthy it weakens the immune system leading to inflammation and infection through the body. It’s often said that the gut is your “second brain”. Look to work with a nutritionist and if needs be, submit a stool sample for analysis to check for parasites or an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut. Supplementation and diet can help bring things back into balance. This will help your immune system to fight infections through the body.
- Our circadian rhythms are also important. Think of circadian rhythm as the body’s metronome, if this is out, everything on a biochemical level will be and that is what leads to chronic health issues.
- I would advise minimising blue light exposure – none in the evening – so put that tablet or phone down. I go to bed at 9pm and wakeup/get up 5.30/6am. I take this opportunity to get outside and walk or meditate.
- Get outside in the sun whenever possible, practise barefoot grounding, drink clean water and meditate.
- Most importantly, your health is your responsibility, do not look to others or rely on others to fix you, no one else is more invested in you than you.