Evann Hilt is a young American scientist who has helped change the course of history. Working with an intelligent, tightknit group at the Loyola Urinary Education and Research Collaborative (LUEREC) in Chicago, USA, her work on the human bladder resulted in the 2014 ground-breaking discovery of the bladder microbiome—dubbed the female urinary microbiota (FUM). This discovery not only dispelled decades of incorrect assumptions that urine is sterile, but it also highlights fundamental flaws in urinary tract infection (UTI) diagnostic tests used throughout the world today. The existence of the FUM is forcing scientists, microbiologist and clinicians to re-think everything previously accepted about urinary tract health and disease, including what causes UTIs and how they are best diagnosed and treated. Evann’s important work now opens up life-changing possibilities for those living with UTIs and other urinary disorders. Although it could still be some time off, she anticipates her work will give clinicians new safe and effective non-antibiotic therapy options that will return the resident FUM to a healthy and harmonious state. You can read more about Evann's exciting research in our 2018 interview.
(Above image: Dr Alan Wolfe and Evann Hilt analysing culture plates at the LUEREC lab, courtesy of LUEREC.)
Linsey is a nurse living in the United States. Her problems began at the age of 33 after developing a UTI that did not respond to three short-courses of antibiotics. Given no alternative but to live with severe bladder and urethral pain, her search led to a practitioner in her country who was able to order advanced diagnostic tests and finally treat her infection. During her healing she discovered she had other systemic infections, including Lyme disease. Addressing these additional infections was key to her recovery. Linsey has been symptom-free for the past two years, but says it is more important than ever to remain vigilant and take a holistic approach to her body and her health. You can read more about Linsey here.
When Lauren got her third UTI, she never imagined it would be the beginning of a gruelling 18-month journey taking her from one side of the world to the other, and then back again. What looked to be a straight forward bladder infection, quickly spiralled into the most frightening and miserable experience of her life. As her symptoms rapidly declined, so did her mental health as she was subjected to rounds of tests and medical procedures to explain her symptoms. After a lengthy process of elimination, Lauren was diagnosed in Australia with interstitial cystitis (IC) and started on a course of bladder instils. Refusing to accept this was her future, more research led her back to the United Kingdom. The day after her arrival, she was finally diagnosed correctly with a chronic UTI and prescribed a treatment plan for the infection that had become embedded in her bladder wall. Ten months later, Lauren has her life back—she is virtually symptom free and feeling excited about completing her treatment in the coming months. You can read more about Lauren's chronic UTI journey here.
Olivia is a British woman whose battle with recurrent UTIs started decades ago. What first began as occasional, seemingly uncomplicated acute UTIs, eventually turned into frequent, severe recurrent attacks. When her acute attacks tested positive, she would receive the usual UTI treatment. When the tests failed to identify bacteria, she was abandoned by her doctors. After jumping through numerous medical hoops, being repeatedly offered derogatory advice and receiving painful surgical procedures that did more harm than good, Olivia eventually found a specialist who knew what was going on. She was finally diagnosed and treated for a chronic UTI. Olivia is a 'long hauler' and healing from her embedded bladder infection has been a test of endurance. After more than five years in treatment, she is ecstatic to finally be free from her UTI symptoms and looks forward to the day her treatment is complete. You can read more about Olivia's experience here.
Life changed for this Australian woman when a simple, uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) refused to go away. Relying solely on tests results, doctors were quick to disassociate her symptoms from the initial infection and diagnose her with interstitial cystitis (IC). Following a post-operative course of antibiotics, Jenna had an unbelievable 14 year hiatus before her dreaded symptoms returned. Realising doctors knew very little about her condition, she decided she would find a way to get better. Her ongoing research highlighted similarities between her 'incurable' condition and other chronic infections. After plenty of reading and research, she decided to trial a treatment protocol used to target pathogens linked with several other conditions. This unconventional, self-administered protocol quickly led to relief from her ongoing urinary symptoms. In little over a year, Jenna was able to stop her treatment completely and remain symptom-free. You can read more about Jenna's experience here.
Libby's life came crashing down when her recurrent urinary tract infections suddenly became constant and stopped responding to treatment. Being forced to drop out of work and university, she was no longer able to rely on doctors and knew it was up to her to find a solution. While on university placement, a chance encounter with another chronic UTI sufferer led her to discover a unique chronic UTI treatment protocol being used successfully at a clinic in the United Kingdom. She asked her doctor for help and within months she was responding to the new treatment. In just over a year, she is almost cured and says she is firmly committed to seeing her treatment through to the end.