UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH I HATE BLADDER INFECTIONS!! (UTI’s.)
They are so uncomfortable. Inconveniencing. Awkward.
I would rather have a migraine than have a UTI.
I would rather have the flu.
I would rather have six cavities filled.
When it happens, you just want to be alone. All prior commitments? Canceled. All of them. You spend hours in the bathroom feeling like you have to pee but not being able to. Sitting there, hunched over, crying. Wondering why TF this happened to you. Cursing how much damn water and cranberry juice you gotta drink. Wondering when.. whennnn will it all be over?! Especially full blown bladder infections… so horrible.
Basically, UTI’s just SUCK. And most women I know have dealt with them at least once in their lives.
Me? I’ve dealt with them my since I was a BABY. No joke, I’ve probably had around 300 bladder infections over the course of my life. Brutal. This… this is actually a really vulnerable topic for me to discuss, but it’s something I’ve always thought I should do. I know it’s a topic women don’t always talk entirely candid about. I know it can feel good to have someone who can relate with their struggles. And… I feel it’s a duty to womenfolk to let y’all in on the wisdom I’ve picked up over the years. I’ve been through it so many times, and have tried it all. (I’ll be giving you my actual UTI advice at the bottom.)
Okay, so here’s my story.
Here’s a graph of the female reproductive system…
See the ureters? The tubes that sit atop your bladder and go all the way to the kidney? You’re supposed to have two.
So shitty… I was born with three. The third one doesn’t serve a SINGLE purpose except to rain on my parade. And before you ask, no, I’ve been told numerous times it cannot be removed with surgery. (Sucks.) Anyway. My bladder is HYPER HYPER HYPER sensitive to bacteria. In short: anything, I mean anything, that irks it a bit (food sensitivities, holding my pee, etc) OR seems foreign to it… immediate UTI. (I’ve never had a yeast infection though- but hear they are awful! 🙁 )
It’s so sensitive that I’ve had to use the same brand of tampons my whole life because it’s “bacteria” that I’ve gotten used to. So sensitive that I can’t sit in a wet bathing suit for more than HALF AN HOUR. So sensitive… that “holding it in” for just a litttttle too long for me means a seriously high chance that I’ll be paying for it later for days to come. I try not to pity myself because I know things could be WAY worse, but I just gotta say it: It blows dude. It really can put a damper on things. (Sex life… we’ll get to that later.)
As a baby, I was sick all the time and after my MRI test showed three ureters- the medical tests went on for years until they accurately concluded that I would continually battle constant UTI’s up until I got my first period. Then I’d have a break… but they’d start returning once I became sexually active. This part of adolescence for me was awful. I was on continuous medication and in and out of hospitals alllll the time. And being a kid, constantly having super invasive tests being done on such a private area… was really traumatic. Even now at 29, that whole experience hasn’t left me entirely. For example, I’m oddly pee shy- to the point where it actually has a negative affect on my life sometimes. Yes, pee shy.. I know, I know…silly. But it’s funny until it’s not kind of thing… you know? I have ridiculous stories!
So that’s the backstory of it all. Let’s jump to adulthood. (Family members should not read– this is your cue to exit! Mom and sis… you’re cool to stay. #GirlTalk) … Others exit now please, for real!
So let’s talk about the sex life. *Le sigh*… here it goes… *telling myself to be brave and just write it because maybe this will help someone!*
If it wasn’t for an anti-bacterial medication called Keflex, I wouldn’t be able to have a normal sex life. I have to take this pill (Keflex) every single time after I have sex within a half hour (the sooner, the more effective) otherwise it is 100% guaranteed that I’ll get a UTI. That is no exaggeration, one hundred mother f*cking percent I will get a UTI unless I take my Keflex within 30 minutes. And it will always be that way for me. Forever will that be a prescription I’ll need to have refilled unless I switch life paths and become a nun. Thanks God it allows me to have a normal sex life though. I’m grateful!
Now, there’s nothing “wrong” with me regarding the way I look or feel. (tmi?) But when it comes to my bladder— it just attracts ALL bacteria at the speed of light, pretty much.
And on a side note: Keflex isn’t 100% effective, but it’s close. When I’m doing everything else right (not holding it too long, drinking enough water, etc) then I really only get ~2 bladder infections a year these days. Which is still annoying, but far better than where I used to be. So I’m happy! None the less, having to take a pill RIGHT after sex has always made me feel a little self-conscious. Even though it seems like no big deal, having to do that can make me feel unsexy sometimes. I hate it. 🙁 Another thing– often times my body as an adjustment period, so if I have a new partner, there’s higher chances of UTI’s in the beginning until I “get used to them.” Lol… weird right? I know.
So while I admit that I’m a softy romantic at heart who can’t separate feelings from sex -and trust me, I wish I could!- having to explain all this to a guy has always been nerve-racking for me. (Although I’ve been told I make it a bigger deal in my head than it really is.) With all this being the case, sex for me has always and will always be a “only if we’re in a serious relationship” kind of thing. Call me the Queen of Blue Balls, call me a prude… but if they don’t understand my situation or I can’t trust them, it ain’t gonna happen. Nope!
So here is what has worked for me personally. My tried and true UTI advice for you:
****Not medical advice, just my own experience
Talk to your Doctor if you’re constantly suffering through this shit. If you get frequent UTI’s (I’m talking like 8+ a year) I’d seriously consider asking your Doctor about if getting a medication that you can take after sex would be a good thing for you. Obviously for me it’s been the greatest thing ever.
Pyridium! If you already have a UTI, along with your medication to get rid of it… ask your doctor for a prescription for pyridium! It’s these pills that turn your pee bright orange but HOT DAMN do they work at covering up the pain so you can get back to normal life for the moment. (They have low grade stuff at the store too.) Game changer I’m telling you.
Once you already HAVE a UTI, good luck getting rid of that ish on your own. Don’t be stubborn. Go to the doctor. All the cranberry juice in the world will not fully get rid of it. It’s it’s already there, you need the strong stuff at this point.
Speaking of cranberry- that fruity sugary cranberry stuff doesn’t do much. Get that 100% REAL cranberry juice from Trader Joes that tastes bitter AF. Dilute it with something else. It will better get the job done and keep the bacteria from sticking to your walls.
Once you have a UTI- stay away from caffeine! It makes your muscles (even pelvic muscles) contract more. Tightens it kind of- not good for it! And by the way… putting pressure (literally on your vagina) makes it feel better momentarily. When it’s really bad I will actually sit on my foot or heel for some relief. That is until I go numb lol. I don’t know why but it kinda dulls the pain for the moment.
For preventative measures: Don’t hold in your pee. Ever. Try to pee before sex too, if you can- not just after! If your person is kind of dirty, tell their cute selves to get clean! Dirty hands/body from working or playing all day is NO bueno for UTIs.
Two things I’ve heard work WONDERS with UTI’s: A supplement called D-Mannose (look it up) and also… using PURE coconut oil as lube (as opposed to anything else) because it naturally fights off bacteria. Seriously… research that ish. One of my favorite wellness bloggers wrote about it too. She goes more in depth about it!
Good luck ladies… if you need anything else or have specific questions, feel free to comment or shoot me over an email: Katey@violetfog.com (There is no such thing as TMI for me at this point, haha.) Truly I’m more than happy to help you out. xx