Sunday, September 16, 2012

Part I: My Very First Urinary Tract Infection

WARNING: I include some medical-related descriptions that sensitive people might find graphic. Read at your own risk!

Peeing blood is probably one of the most disturbing symptoms I've ever experienced. It's not the most painful or dangerous I've had, but there's no mistaking that something is going wrong with the body.

It all started the evening of Thursday, August 2. I made a pre-bedtime trip to the toilet and did my business. My bladder felt a little weird (not painful, just different) when I went, but I didn't think much of it.

Less than 30 minutes later, I felt the urge to pee again. I tried to go, but very little came out, and what little came out seemed to cause some odd cramping in my bladder. I looked down at the toilet paper after wiping and noticed that it had pink on it -- almost like diluted blood. It wasn't my period, so I was a bit concerned...but I also thought it could have been something I had eaten.

The next morning I did my business again, and had a stronger cramping and discomfort and again found pink on the toilet paper. This time I was almost positive it was blood. I quickly got an appointment for that Friday morning with a Physician's Assistant (PA) at a local clinic.

I had never had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, but I was pretty sure this had to be one. When I gave my urine sample at the clinic, I gasped when I saw what was in the cup. It was dark with blood, and this time there was red (not pink) on the toilet paper when I wiped. When the results of the urinalysis came back, there was no doubt I had an infection. Following are my urinalysis results (comments indicate abnormal result):
Color: Dark Amber (should be yellow or straw colored)
Clarity: Turbid (should be clear)
Glucose: Negative
Bilirubin: Negative
Ketones: Negative
Specific Gravity: 1.010
Blood: Large 3+ (should be negative)
PH: 7.5
Protein: 2+ (should be negative)
Urobilinogen: 0.02 E.U/DL
Leukocyte Esterase: 3+ (should be negative)
Nitrite: Negative
The PA agreed that I had a UTI and prescribed an antibiotic and phenazopyridine (for the pain and turns pee orange).  As I am allergic to the entire quinolone class of antibiotics (e.g., Cipro, Levaquin, etc.), she prescribed Macrobid (generic: nitrofurantoin).  She then said she was going to send my urine sample to a lab to for a bacterial culture to determine what type of bacteria I had and if it was resistent to any antibiotics.  Doing the culture would ensure I was given the correct prescription. 

I filled my prescription on my way to work and didn't think too much about the culture.  I figured I'd feel better in a day or two...but I didn't.

Continued in my next post...



Anonymous said...

I had a culture-proven UTI and then developed long-term interstitial cystitis-type symptoms. (Not trying to say that's what you have, just sharing my story). After the UTI was cured, I was still going to the doctor frequently with UTI-like symptoms, but all my cultures were coming back negative.

Interstitial cystitis is yet another syndrome that may be mast cell mediated

I also have vulvar vestibulitis and so sometimes it is difficult to even tell where the irritation is coming from! (urethral or vulvar).

Things that seem to make my interstitial cystitis-like symptoms worse are: anything involving sticking things into my vagina; or anything irritating my vulva.

Things that seem to have helped me are low histamine diet and benadryl.

FYI you are considering immune/mast cell activation work-up, benadryl may interfere with getting accurate results from some lab tests. I'm trying to get an appt now with an immunologist to do a work up.

I hope your doctors figure out what is going on with your new urinary symptoms. Urogynecologists can be a good resource too.

John said...

You might want to take a look at the probiotic Fem-Dophilus, from Jarrow. The two probiotic strains in this are the ones that form the basis for idea of MAF 314. But before MAF 314, and before the use of these strains to make probiotic yogurt used against HIV infection(in small villages in Tanzania), they were originally found to be effective against women's urinary tract and vaginal tract bacterial infections.

Here are some references, if you're interested:

If you're wondering why I'm so interested in these probiotics, I've been taking them for about 4 months to see if they might have any influence on my ME/CFS (via the GcMAF route, and also because I'm going to try to make my own MAF 314 (or MAF 878) and these two strains are, I believe, the key ingredients(along with home made kefir, and colostrum).

You can also go to and look up Fem-Dophilus and read the'll plenty of them from women with urinary tract infections. Fem-Dophilus seems to be the only US source of these two probiotic strains(L. Rhamnosus GR-1, and L. Fermentum RC-14) and I've even spoken/written to the company that produces them in the USA.

iHerb is the best place to buy Fem-Dophilus, it has to be kept refrigerated and if you spend $40 with them (the Fem-Dophilus is about $25-28) you get free shipping in a cold pack(no one does this for free except for iHerb!). I usually buy 2 bottles and some other small item and qualify for free 2 day shipping.

There's lots more to be said, but to keep it short...I've become a believer in probiotics after reading alot about the subject and seeing how they have worked for my own CFS stomach problems. And especially when you take antibiotics (which destroy your good intestinal bacteria), probiotics are called for.

That's it for now...good luck.


alyson said...

Hi Anonymous - Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sorry you are having so much trouble. I can certainly relate. Are you the same person that posted before about mast cell mediated issues? I think it's definitely something work looking into for myself.

Hi John - Thanks for visiting my blog. I started taking additional probiotics as soon as I was prescribed my first round of antibiotics for my UTI. I went on even higher doses when I was put on the IV antibiotics! The brand I've been taking is Ultimate Flora. They have really high amounts of good bacteria. The one I take daily is Critical Care with 50 billion bacteria. I'll take a look at the strains you mentioned in your post. I'm open to anything that makes me feel better!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alyson, yes it was me (mast cell girl) again ;) Just posting anonymously due to the personal nature of the health issues I'm describing. Seems like the field of immunology could have a lot to offer CFSers like us. Can totally relate re academic medical centers... being a patient in an academic emergency room makes me feel like I need to go to the emergency room again after the ordeal! Hahaha. Hope the UTI is getting better for you!