Is It A Chronic UTI or Something Else?
Many women are frustrated that they can’t get relief from ongoing urinary tract infection symptoms. Getting to the root cause of the symptoms is the first step.
A research study in May 2020 among over 800 women showed that almost half (46%) had a UTI in the past year and that one out of every three of them had 3 or more UTI’s (this is the official the definition of a chronic UTI).
This research also revealed that are actually two categories of chronic sufferers:
1) Women with a diagnosed UTI: bacteria were present in the urine sample
2) Women with similar symptoms, but no UTI: there were no bacteria in the urine sample
Here’s a brief overview of these two groups and the possible causes of their symptoms.
Women with a diagnosed UTI
There are several reasons why you are getting a UTI over and over again. Some of the causes may be easily addressed, but many others are impossible to diagnose and treat accurately.
1) Lack of hydration: a urologist will explain that the bladder should be constantly replenished with water in order to remain healthy and that if old urine remains in the bladder too long, it can develop bacteria and a UTI sets in. The rule of thumb is to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. Many women just don’t like drinking water, especially as they age, because it requires more frequent urination.
2) Inaccurate testing: the testing done at an OB/GYN office has been shown to be highly inaccurate, as the equipment that they use to diagnose your UTI in the office is very basic. The urine cultures done at a urologist’s office will be more sophisticated, but remain limited to looking for the standard types of bacteria. New tests are now available which use genetic sequencing (DNA) to analyze not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses which may be affecting your health both within and outside of the urinary tract.
3) The wrong antibiotic: as we all know, the typical response to discovering that you have a UTI (again) is to prescribe an antibiotic. First, it’s really important to ask your doctor whether the new infection is caused by the same bacteria as the old one, or whether it’s a different type of bacteria. Second, find out the name of the bacteria. It’s possible that the antibiotic that is being prescribed is not the correct one. Recent medical research shows that only certain antibiotics will destroy specific types of bacteria.
4) Antibiotic resistance: this is the most common cause of chronic UTI’s. Over the years, many women have probably taken most of the popular antibiotics. This over-prescribing has led to “antibiotic resistance”, which means that the bacteria have learned how to hide and mutate in your system. So as soon as the course of antibiotics has been completed, they begin to grow all over again. This problem has caused scientists to work on new types of antibiotics, but they’re having a hard time getting the funding they need. The medical community is already sending out warning signals that this may be the next worldwide health crisis. The data shows that simple infections have begun to turn into life-threatening illnesses. In fact, over 23,000 people have died from UTI’s in the past year.
5) ESBL’s: the two bacteria which are most often the cause of UTIs are Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Both are part of a family of germs known as Enterobacteriaceae. These germs can produce enzymes called extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs). ESBL enzymes break down and destroy some commonly used antibiotics and make these drugs ineffective for treating infections.
6) Biofilms: these are slimy “sacs” that the bacteria surround themselves with after burrowing into the lining of the bladder. This protects them against the threat of antibiotics. It is very difficult to diagnose the presence of biofilms today, but researchers are working on this aggressively because they have identified that this is a significant cause of recurring UTIs.
Women with similar symptoms, but no UTI
The women with ongoing symptoms but no proven UTI is the group that baffles gynecologists and urologists most. This is in part due to the fact that women have a difficult time explaining exactly what they are experiencing; most will start by saying that they have pain “down there”. This then requires a series of investigations and tests to find out exactly what’s causing these symptoms.
Other medical problems that mimic the signs of a UTI are:
1) Vaginal Infection: in addition to the typical yeast infection, other types of bacteria may cause a more serious and difficult to treat vaginal infection known as bacterial vaginosis (BV). This is typically seen in older women who are experiencing menopause. The lack of hormones leaves the vaginal canal open to an infection that can cause a similar burning sensation to that of a UTI.
2) Vulvodynia: This is defined as chronic, unexplained pain in the area around the opening of the vagina. It is usually described as a sensation of burning, stinging, itching, or rawness. It is also defined as pain that lasts more than three months and doesn't have a clearly identifiable cause.
3) Interstitial cystitis (IC): is a chronic bladder health issue. It is a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder area. Along with this pain are lower urinary tract symptoms which have lasted for more than 6 weeks, without having an infection or other clear causes.
4) Bladder Cancer: the symptoms of bladder cancer are almost exactly the same as those of a UTI, as shown below. But the one which should cause you concern is blood in the urine. If you have this symptom, make an appointment with a urologist right away so that you can quickly eliminate this condition from your list of possible problems.
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urination
- Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
- Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to pass urine
- Lower back pain on 1 side of the body
Chronic UTI Treatment Tip: It’s pretty apparent that many of the possible causes of chronic UTI’s are related to antibiotics that are not working. Fortunately, there’s an alternative. Over the past decade, medical doctors have been recommending that their chronic patients try a natural supplement known as D-Mannose for symptom relief. It’s a well-kept secret, though, because the research shows that only about 6% of women are even aware of D-Mannose. Here are the features to look for when purchasing this supplement:
1) Only buy 100% pure D-Mannose. You don’t want to dilute the effectiveness of this product with additives such as cranberry or hibiscus.
2) Buy it in powder form. When mixed with water, the powder dissolves completely and has no taste. But most important, it goes right to the bladder where it is needed, unlike capsules that need to first be digested in your stomach.
3) Buy it from a trusted source. Many D-Mannose products are produced outside the US by companies that are not certified here, so the quality may not be up to our standards.
Goodbye UTI is 100% pure D-Mannose powder, formulated by a Doctor of Pharmacy by a well-known FDA-certified manufacturer known as Catalyst Nutraceuticals, located in Georgia.
Click here to learn more about Goodbye UTI.