Why Utis Keep Coming Back
It is estimated that 50% of women who encounter a UTI go on to experience a recurrence of infection within a year3. Some individuals have multiple UTI episodes throughout their life, and a few suffer from chronic UTIs. Factors that may increase the chance of UTI recurrence include:
- Sexual intercourse
- Certain types of birth control, particularly diaphragms and spermicidal agents
- Inherent predisposition: some women have urinary tracts that are more prone to bacterial invasion
- Anatomical abnormalities or blockages in the urinary tract
- Immune suppression caused by diseases such as diabetes
- Post-menopausal changes in the vaginal lining and in the ability of the bladder to contract
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics. To help avoid the recurrence of a UTI, it is important to ensure that the full antibiotic course is completed.
Can UTI symptoms linger after antibiotic treatment?
If antibiotic treatment has been effective, UTI symptoms should be fully resolved. When symptoms persist at completion of the prescribed antibiotic course, further tests and treatment will be necessary. This may involve culturing a urine sample to determine which antibiotic types are effective against the infecting bacteria, and the use of diagnostic imaging to check the urinary tract.
How long can a UTI go untreated?
If you ever see blood in your urine or are concerned about other UTI signs and symptoms, contact your doctor. Seeking treatment promptly not only decreases the chance of UTI-related complications, but also helps to avoid extended periods of misdiagnosis if your symptoms are not being caused by a UTI.
If symptoms such as back pain, fever, and nausea/vomiting are present always seek urgent treatment, because of the risk of permanent kidney damage and/or life-threatening complications.
Diet And Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
I researched Candida , and quickly cut all processed sugar, fruits and grains from my diet. I was running and swimming every day, and avoided alcohol.
My digestive symptoms subsided somewhat, but the constant yeast infections and UTIs still plagued me.
After three months in Greece it was time to move to Berlin. While packing my bags, I made sure to take those UTIs with me
I became acquainted with the German healthcare system pretty quickly. This meant finding a doctor who was willing to give me antibiotics whenever I got a UTI, and an extra prescription so I could self-administer them next time.
He also sent my urine to a lab a number of times . Every time wed get the results it would show raised leukocyte levels, and insignificant levels of bacteria or contamination, but generally nothing to report.
According to the lab, I didnt have a UTI. According to what I knew about my own body, I did, and it would not go away.
The one thing the lab could easily identify was an overgrowth of vaginal yeast. By this stage, my digestive symptoms had returned to 24 hour a day abdominal pain. I had this low down, solid abdominal bloating that would not subside.
So I further restricted my diet. I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, and implemented an intermittent fasting approach.
Don’t Miss: What Antibiotic Is Used To Treat Trichomoniasis
Recurrent Uti And Constant Yeast Infections
Frequent antibiotic use came with other side effects. The most obvious was yeast infections. Although this was a less painful experience than the UTIs, it was an even more constant companion.
Each time I took antibiotics, I would need to use over the counter antifungals. These would relieve the symptoms just long enough for the next UTI to take hold. This of course meant more antibiotics, then more antifungals.
Then more antibiotics, then more antifungals You get the picture.
It felt as though I was never not taking something. I felt completely out of control of the state of my body. I had no confidence in its ability to find a better balance.
The antibiotics and antifungals had destroyed any semblance of a healthy microbiome in all areas, including my digestive tract.
Eventually the effectiveness of the antibiotics and antifungals lessened, and I would have just a few hours respite before the UTI and yeast infections would return.
My UTI symptoms became constant at this point. I virtually had not a single moment where I wasnt aware of discomfort in my urinary tract. And discomfort is mostly putting it lightly.
I began to notice a link between digestive symptoms, yeast related symptoms and the frequency of UTI flare ups. There was hardly a moment that I felt symptom free. Id had enough, and I decided to take what felt like drastic action.
What Causes Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer occurs when cells making up the bladder begin to grow and spread in an uncontrolled way, leading to the formation of a malignant tumor. This abnormal cell growth is caused by mutations in the genes that control cell replication, repair, and programmed death: genes that help cells to grow and divide may be switched on, whereas genes that regulate cell division, repair, and programmed death may be switched off.
Most of the gene mutations associated with bladder cancer are acquired, meaning that they develop during a persons life rather than being present at birth . Some of the acquired gene mutations are caused by exposure to toxins or chemicals that are recognized risk factors for developing bladder cancer, such as tobacco smoke.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Most Effective Antibiotic For A Uti
Can Utis Increase The Risk Of Bladder Cancer
Several studies have investigated whether UTIs may be a risk factor for bladder cancer.
- Epidemiological studies that have examined evidence of an association between UTIs and urothelial carcinoma have to date produced varying results.3,13,14 Some data indicates there may be an increased risk in individuals who experience previous UTIs,3,14 whereas other findings suggest that previous UTIs could have a protective effect against bladder cancer, possibly due to an anti-cancer effect of the antibiotics used in their treatment.3,13,14
- Colibactin, a bacterial toxin that can damage DNA, is suspected to play a role in some types of cancer. Researchers have recently detected colibactin production in E. coli isolated from the urine of patients with UTIs.15 Furthermore, in the urinary tracts of mice infected with colibactin-producing E. coli, DNA damage in bladder cells was observed .
- Preliminary data appears to support a link between recurrent UTIs and increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder.16 However, as squamous cell carcinoma is a rare type of bladder cancer , the overall impact of this potential association would be relatively minor.
It may be concluded that the extent of any direct relationship between UTIs and bladder cancer is yet to be fully determined. However, it is clear that a major bladder cancer risk associated with recurrent UTIs in women is that of delayed diagnosis, caused by the extensive overlap in symptoms between the two conditions.
Option #: Persistent Uti Symptoms After Treatment
Here is another option: they sent your urine sample to a lab and later told you that according to the test you have a UTI. However, antibiotics resolved some symptoms , but the urge to urinate or pain in the lower abdomen remained.
As you could imagine, there could be a scenario when not only you have a full-blown UTI, but also an inflamed bladder lining is causing additional symptoms, as discussed above.
In this case, you, most likely, will see a reduction in pain, and your urine will become clear. However, pain in the bladder area and slight irritation after urination might still linger.
Moreover, when patients mention they feel burning in the urethra rather than the bladder, its quite normal. In fact, the urethra has more nerve endings that could be easily irritated due to underlying inflammation.
Read Also: Can Antibiotics Make Your Period Late
Hormones Utis And Yeast Infections
I also stopped taking the contraceptive pill, forever.
This is emphasized because quitting the pill felt momentous at the time. I had been on the pill since I was 16. Not for contraception then, but because I had periods so heavy I ended up severely anemic and required treatment.
Later, the pill became convenient for other reasons. I didnt want to worry about irregular, heavy periods, but I also didnt want to get pregnant, so the pill allowed me to live a life fairly free from those concerns.
My problems with the pill started around the same time as my recurrent urinary tract infections. The antibiotics I was taking meant my gut and vaginal flora took a serious hit. Despite being on the pill, my cycle had become unpredictable.
A gynecologist I saw suggested the pill I was on just wasnt right for me and prescribed me another, then another. They didnt help, and my unpredictable cycles continued.
Soon, I began suffering from skin sensitivities and itchiness that drove me crazy.
What Is Colonisation And Biofilm
When people have had several UTIs, and several courses of antibiotics for a UTI, antibiotics may initially appear to work and symptoms often resolve for a while. However, the more resistant organisms are known to sometimes attach themselves to the bladder wall as well as forming colonies of resistant bacteria within other parts of the body such as the kidney.
These colonies of resistant bacteria can multiply in number over time, and become immune to the effect of the antibiotics. The bacteria become harder to eradicate, even when taking powerful antibiotics, as they form a biofilm. This is where the colonies of resistant bacteria form a protective layer around themselves, making it even more difficult for antibiotics to reach and kill them.
An antibiotic resistant UTI can then become a chronic condition and can often cause frequently recurring outbreaks of infection, with an increased risk of serious kidney infection and even sepsis.
Also Check: Natural Antibiotics For Yeast Infection
What Is A Uti
A UTI refers to an infection in any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. It most commonly occurs in your lower urinary tract, where the bladder and urethra are located.
Women can be as much as 30 times more likely to develop UTIs than men due to a shorter urethra. This means that bacteria travel more quickly and easily from your urethra to your bladder.
Acute cystitis, in particular, often affects women and triggers bladder inflammation. On its own, a bladder-related infection is painful and bothersome. But if left untreated, it could spread to your kidneys and pose serious consequences.
Note that not all UTIs exhibit signs and symptoms in patients, so its possible to be completely unaware that you have one. When they do present, however, symptoms commonly include:
- Urinating often in small quantities
- A burning sensation when you pee
- A reddish, bright pink, or brownish color
- Strong-smelling or cloudy urine
- Pelvic pain , especially in the center of your pelvis and near your pubic bone
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen
- Fever or chills
The three different types of UTIs are as follows:
Its an inflammation of your urethra. Symptoms include a discharge from your urethra and burning urination.
Bladder inflammation thats marked by painful, burning urination and cloudy urine, as well as a frequent need to pee.
- ephalexin ceftriaxone
Get Your Prescription Filled Right Away
Once you are done with your appointment and have received a prescription for an antibiotic, its important you get it filled at a pharmacy as soon as possible. The faster you start taking your medication, the faster your UTI will be gone.
If you usually use next-day prescription delivery or a mail order pharmacy, this is one time when you should avoid doing this. These options can cause a delay by anywhere from 1 day to 1 week . Youre better off using a local pharmacy in this case.
If going into the pharmacy is a concern due to COVID-19, many pharmacies have added options to help minimize the amount of time you are inside the building. Some options to ask about at your pharmacy include:
Same-day delivery through services like Instacart
Using the pharmacys drive-thru pick-up window
Paying ahead of time through the pharmacys smartphone app to make your time spent at the checkout counter faster
Every pharmacy is different, so make sure to ask your personal pharmacy if these options are available at your location.
Read Also: Antibiotics For Rash On Skin
What If The Infection Does Not Clear Up With Treatment
Most infections clear up with treatment. However, if an infection does not clear up, or if you have repeated infections, you may be given some special tests such as:
a type of x-ray called an intravenous pyleogram , which involves injecting a dye into a vein and taking pictures of your kidney and bladder
an ultrasound exam, which gives a picture of your kidneys and bladder using sound waves
a cytoscopic exam, which uses a hollow tube with special lenses to look inside the bladder.
If You Are Concerned About Bladder Cancer Speak To Your Doctor About Cxbladder
Early detection saves lives and is a crucial factor when it comes to the treatment of bladder cancer. Cxbladder is a clinically proven cutting-edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer in patients presenting with blood in the urine and those being monitored for recurrence. The test works at a molecular level, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
Cxbladder is discreet, quick and non-invasive. It comes as a suite of test options, each optimized for a different point in the patient journey.
- Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help rapidly rule out the disease.
- Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Monitor: Optimized for bladder cancer surveillance, reducing the need for further invasive tests
Cxbladder gives you peace of mind and will help your doctor make informed treatment decisions. Speak to your general practitioner or urologist to learn more about Cxbladder and which test might be right for you. You can also contact our Customer Service Team directly.Learn more about Cxbladder Contact Us for more information
They May Not Show Up On Standard Tests
“The current routine tests that are used to diagnose urinary tract infection, whether acute or chronic, are insensitive and inaccurate,” James Malone-Lee, Emeritus professor of Medicine at University College London, tells Bustle. “They are woefully inadequate and fail to detect numerous infections.” In particular, standard tests focus on the detection of E. Coli, but infections can be caused by many other bacteria, Alan Wolfe, professor of Microbiology at Loyola University, tells Bustle. Routine tests also may not pick up low-grade infections.
One study in Clinical Microbiology and Infectionfound that about one in five UTIs did not show up on standard urine cultures. There are a number of more advanced testing techniques that address this problem, including PCR tests, Next-Generation Sequencing, and Broth Culture. Wolfe recommends testing via the Enhanced Quantitative Urine Culture. If you have UTI symptoms but keep getting normal urine cultures, alternative tests may be worth looking into.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections After Antibiotic Treatment
Antibiotics are the usual treatment that can help resolve the symptoms of UTI. Aside from that, procedures like those from a dental clinic may require taking antibiotics beforehand. However, some cases still show UTI symptoms even after taking antibiotic treatment. Below are the potential reasons why it can happen.
1. Antibiotic Resistance
A patient can become antibiotic-resistant when the bacteria causing the UTI do not respond to the applied antibiotics. In actuality, it results from the frequent administration of antibiotics. For example, the patient has chronic UTIs. It will then affect the evolution of the bacteria, making them antibiotic-resistant.
2. Wrong Antibiotics
The course of antibiotics differ from one another, and each antibiotic treats different infections. If the antibiotic is not proper for the bacteria strain causing UTIs, then it will become ineffective. Generally speaking, E. coli is the typical bacteria that cause UTIs. But then again, other bacteria strains, viruses, or fungi can also be a reason behind it.
3. Underlying Conditions
It is also possible that antibiotics are not working because the patient doesnt have UTI in the first place. The reason behind it could be an underlying health condition that shows UTI-like symptoms. These conditions include the following.
- Bladder irritation
You May Like: Pink Eye Treatment Antibiotic Eye Drops
Causes Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection usually happens when bacteria, often a type called E. coli, get into the tube that carries urine out of your body .
The bacteria travel up to your bladder, causing cystitis, and then up into your kidneys.
E. coli bacteria normally live in your bowel, where they cause no harm.
They can be transferred from your bottom to your genitals during sex or if you’re not careful when wiping your bottom after going to the loo.
A kidney infection can sometimes develop without a bladder infection. For example, if you have a problem with your kidney, such as kidney stones, or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system.
How My Uti Story Applies To You
Although I recovered from recurrent urinary tract infections to the point where I no longer had to take medication or supplements to manage my symptoms , this isnt a story about a miracle cure.
There is rarely such a thing when it comes to recurrent UTI. I promise I will provide more insight into what worked for me, but I do want to say this:
Thinking one persons approach will work for everyone else is like saying youve found a single pair of jeans that fits everyone perfectly.
But before you jump to the next blog post promising a 24 hour cure, Ill tell you why this story may apply to you. Its about finding the root cause of your recurrent UTIs, and addressing it.
Only by addressing the root cause of frequent UTIs can you hope to break the cycle of symptoms and treatment. Breaking the cycle will likely mean sacrifices, and this is a story about permanent change for the better.
If there is one piece of advice I will freely give to other recurrent UTI sufferers, its that knowledge is the key to recovery.
Learn everything you can about why UTIs can become recurrent, other causes of lower urinary tract symptoms, and how your overall health can prevent you from getting well. Hopefully, my story will help.
Don’t Miss: What Antibiotics Treat Nitrite Positive Uti