Sarah's Chronic Bladder Story - Chronic UTI Australia
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Sarah’s Chronic Bladder Story

Sarah’s Chronic Bladder Story

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Sarah is an American woman whose UTI problems started in her teens.  Antibiotics worked well at the beginning, but overtime the infections persisted and the treatment no longer worked as it once did.  When her UTI tests started to show negative for infection, her doctors offered medication for her building anxiety instead.  A urogynaecologist was able to keep her symptoms under control, but strong side effects from the medication left her feeling awful.  Looking for a more natural solution to her bladder symptoms, she found a new healthy lifestyle offered more than just relief from her relentless bladder symptoms.  Not only was she noticing her bladder feeling better, she was feeling better all over.   Read more about Sarah’s recovery here.

 

My UTIs started when I became sexually active

My bladder story began as a young woman. I have gotten recurrent UTIs since I was 16-years-old, which is the age I became sexually active. Every three months or so I would get a bladder infection. It came on strong and quick, feeling like shards of glass with every drop of urine that came out. I would quickly go to the clinic, get prescribed an antibiotic, start to feel better and go back to living my life—until another UTI hit again a few months later. This scenario repeated itself for over a decade!

At one point it was recommended for me to take a daily dose of preventative antibiotic. This worked until the time when I forgot to take it and I was back in the clinic with a raging infection. I remember the doctor that treated me in the clinic so well. She was so kind and sincerely advised me against taking daily antibiotics because she had also done so herself and had suffered long-term gastro-intestinal issues as a result.

 

Searching for natural UTI cures led me to D-mannose

After being fed up with countless rounds of antibiotics, I researched for a more natural option.   I found D-mannose, which ended up working beautifully at preventing my UTIs!  D-mannose is a natural sugar that binds to the bad bacteria in your bladder and flushes it out.

One day in my early 30s, I forgot to take the D-mannose and got yet another UTI. This UTI was not as painful and the dipstick at the doctor’s office was negative. They told me I was fine and sent me home.  A week later I came back with worsening symptoms. The doctor finally did a culture and it came back positive for UTI. I was prescribed antibiotics and gladly accepted. I was hoping for relief, except I never got any.  They then proceeded to put me on a 2nd and a 3rd round of antibiotics, even though the cultures always came back negative.

I wondered why I still had so much pain.  My symptoms were getting worse and worse. I had burning in my urethra on and off, especially when trying to go to sleep. Even more scary, I began having severe pelvic pain. My belly felt so full and uncomfortable. My pants I had worn for years now felt so tight and restricting. I constantly felt like I had to urinate, even right after going. My doctor finally told me that she didn’t know how to help me since I was negative for infection. She told me that she thought I needed to see someone about my anxiety. I couldn’t believe it! Of course I was anxious, my life had been turned upside down by the debilitating pain, lack of sleep and inability to eat enough because of fear that the food would cause a flare of pain. Prior to all this, anxiety had not been an issue in my life.

I felt isolated and alone, nobody really knew or understood what I was going through. At my next appointment with this doctor, she recommended an anti-depressant for depression and that’s the moment when I realised this doctor couldn’t help me. I knew taking more medications would not help my problems. Ultimately, she referred me to a urogynaecologist.

 

My symptoms were getting worse and worse. I had burning in my urethra on and off, especially when trying to go to sleep. Even more scary, I began having severe pelvic pain. My belly felt so full and uncomfortable. My pants I had worn for years now felt so tight and restricting. I constantly felt like I had to urinate, even right after going.

 

Off to the urogynaecologist I went

My life felt like it was falling apart. I had been calling in sick to work a lot and my husband was very concerned about me.  I was crying all the time in pain. I just couldn’t keep living that way.  This new doctor (the urogynaecologist) asked about my entire history and symptoms. He told me my bladder was ‘upset’ from all my prior infections, including the most recent one.  He recommended eight months of amitriptyline (it calms bladder nerves), tibial nerve therapy (a type of acupuncture) and pelvic floor physical therapy, all to help relax the bladder.  This treatment did help with the pain and frequency which allowed me to sleep, eat and live my life again. The downside to being on amitriptyline for my bladder, was that it made me feel like a zombie. It also made me gain weight, but I felt like I had no choice other than to take the med as prescribed.

After eight months, I was weaned off the medication and tibial nerve therapy. My doctor said that the pain shouldn’t come back and kept telling me, “No, you don’t have interstitial cystitis”, which seemed odd to me since I had all the symptoms and he was treating me with all the standard treatments. Interstitial cystitis (IC) is basically a term used when doctors don’t know what is causing your bladder pain. Two weeks after stopping the medication my pain got very bad again. Now I really did feel depressed because, at this point, I knew I had a more serious chronic condition.  I just couldn’t fathom going back on this medication with its horrible side effects. What happens when someday the medication stops working for the pain? Or if I want to have a baby some day? I just couldn’t imagine living the rest of my life dependent on a med that made my body feel so horrible.

 

Unable to accept a lifetime relying on medications and treatments, I continued to search for a better solution

I was so upset and devastated by what he told me that it fueled my desire to research better options.  This led me to YouTube. I watched a couple of videos about girls healing their IC/bladder pain on a plant-based diet. One girl said to eat berries only for 24 hours and see if that helped. I thought to myself, “How on earth could that help?!”, but I was desperate, so I tried it. Low and behold, my pain practically disappeared! How could it be? I began researching more YouTube videos and found “Montreal Healthy Girl”. She is a huge resource for healing your bladder naturally. I am grateful for her and her YouTube channel every day.

After seeing the benefits of what eating just berries for 24 hours did, I began cutting out dairy and meat. I never ate raw vegan 100 percent, but I added TONS of raw fruit and veggies, more than I had ever eaten before. I made green juices and smoothies almost every day. My pain got less and less as time went on.

 

My new healthy diet has virtually cured my bladder symptoms and improved my overall health

It has now been a little over two years since going off medication for chronic bladder pain and going mostly to a plant-based. I do ‘cheat’ occasionally when eating out, but I eat a 95 percent wholefood, plant-based diet. My bladder is 95 percent better and I only occasionally feel my urethra mildly irritated when on my menstrual cycle or when I’m exhausted or stressed. I believe that in one more year on this healthy lifestyle, my bladder and overall health will be even better.

After seeing the benefits of what eating just berries for 24 hours did, I began cutting out dairy and meat. I never ate raw vegan 100 percent, but I added TONS of raw fruit and veggies, more than I had ever eaten before. I made green juices and smoothies almost every day. My pain got less and less as time went on.

 

Looking back on my diet before all this happened, I realise how unhealthy I used to eat. I used to eat a lot of processed foods and dairy, which I now know are very inflammatory.  Having chronic bladder pain was one of the worst and best things that has ever happened to me. It made me so much stronger and led me down the path of plant-based living, which has changed my life for the better in so many ways. Not only did I heal my bladder, but I’m overall healthier now.

I’ve learned that you must be your own health advocate and that doctors know very little about nutrition and its ability to heal the body. I just want anyone who is reading this and is dealing with a health issue, don’t give up! It can and it will get better!

 

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Disclaimer:  Stories or case studies in relation to personal experiences with chronic urinary tract infection, and links to other websites, are included for convenience and information only and do not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by Chronic UTI Australia of materials in those stories or on those linked websites, or any associated entity, product or service. We have not screened, nor conducted background checks or other investigations in relation to those third parties or the information they supply for inclusion on this website.  You should seek assistance from a health care professional when interpreting the materials available on this website and applying them to your individual circumstances. If you have any concerns about your health, consult your general practitioner. This blog is subject to the Chronic UTI Australia website’s Terms of Use.

 

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2 Comments
  • Nancy M
    Posted at 09:15h, 03 April

    Sarah’s story was very interesting and helpful. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the good work 🥦🥑🥒🥕🥥🍇🍎🍠🍓🍒🍌

  • Chronic UTI Australia
    Posted at 23:28h, 03 April

    Thanks Nancy. Sarah’s story is very empowering. Almost anyone with chronic UTI could try something similar to see if they felt a benefit. Also read Olimpia’s story. She runs a chat group where they discuss this approach to healing: https://www.chronicutiaustralia.com/olimpias-chronic-bladder-story/

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