UTI Symptoms Not Caused by Bacteria: What Worked for Me

Updated on June 21, 2018
Sherry Hewins profile image

I have always been interested in health issues and healing. This is my experience with bladder spasm and UTI symptoms.

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I Have UTI Symptoms but no UTI

You go to the doctor with what you're sure is a bladder infection, only to find out it's not. A urinalysis shows that there is no bacteria present. So what now?

When I was in this situation, I found out that antibiotics don't help; in fact, they may make things worse. Often a doctor will prescribe antibiotics for UTI symptoms without performing a urinalysis, but that can be a mistake if you're actually dealing with a condition like a bladder spasm or, worse yet, interstitial cystitis. After what I have been through, I would recommend that you insist on a urinalysis before taking antibiotics for urinary symptoms.

Through research and trial and error, I found the things that worked for me. I now have been pain-free for over a year and a half, and I am not taking any medications.

Many women find themselves in a situation like the one I have described at some point in their lives. Their GP or gynecologist may not be very knowledgeable about it. Trying to get information about urinary symptoms that are not caused by bacteria and getting the appropriate treatment can be very frustrating.

This article covers causes and natural treatment options for people who are having UTI symptoms without bacteria present and will include the following topics.

  • Bladder spasm
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • The differences between UTIs, bladder spasm, and IC
  • When to see a urologist
  • How I treated my bladder pain, including what I ate and what supplements I took

Medical Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional. I am sharing my experience in the hope that it helps someone else who is going through this. Every person and every bladder is different. As my urologist pointed out, there are many things that can cause the same symptoms, and the cause of bladder pain can be hard to diagnose.

Can UTI Symptoms Linger After Antibiotics?

Yes, they can! Irritation in the bladder can remain, even after the infection has cleared up, it takes time for the tissue in the bladder to heal. And guess what? Maybe, you didn't have a UTI after all. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for many people. According to Rebecca Lee, a registered nurse in New York and founder of RemediesForMe.com, "Antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors based on UTI symptoms without ever performing a formal UTI test."

It's important to let your doctor know if symptoms still persist, even if you experienced relief from the antibiotics. It could very well be that it helped some of the symptoms or you experienced the placebo effect, something that affects up to 75% of people in controlled groups.

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What is Bladder Spasm or Overactive Bladder Syndrome?

The urologist I went to called my problem a "bladder spasm," and he took great pains to explain to me how difficult it is to find the cause and right treatment for symptoms like urinary frequency and urgency. He also said that many women have episodes of bladder spasm at some time in their lives but recover from it completely. According to the American Urological Association, an estimated 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder.

The most common symptoms of bladder spasms (also known by many as overactive bladder syndrome) are:

  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Urethral burning
  • Pelvic pain
  • Leaking urine

What Does a Bladder Spasm Feel Like?

For many people with bladder spasm, like me, it is just a constant feeling of needing to urinate; even after you have just gone the feeling does not go away.

For some people who live with bladder spasm, the sensation to urinate comes suddenly. Some patients describe them as a cramping pain or a burning sensation.

Some women with severe bladder spasms compare the muscle contractions to severe menstrual cramps and even labor pains experienced during childbirth. Thank goodness that was not part of my experience!

Why Don't Doctors Believe Women With Bladder Symptoms?

In my experience, most doctors, especially male doctors, do not perceive these symptoms in a female as a serious medical matter, certainly not an emergency. After all, your vital signs are all fine, an examination doesn't find anything amiss, and nothing is showing up in your blood or urine. Therefore, you're fine.

It's easy to get overwhelmed and very emotional when this happens. You're extremely uncomfortable, it's very hard to get any sleep, and you're physically and emotionally frazzled. But try to get a grip on yourself.

If you show up at a doctors office in that condition, it will be even harder to be taken seriously. (In fact, when I showed up to the ER in tears, I was prescribed Xanax by a doctor who obviously thought I was just hysterical.) Also, the pain cycle can feed on itself, and the more emotionally worked up you get, the worse you may feel. Believe me, it will get better.

What Causes Bladder Spasm?

While there are a number of causes for this condition (and sometimes there isn't even an identifiable cause), here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Frequent UTIs
  • Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
  • Catheter use: Bladder spasm can sometimes occur as a complication of catheter usage.

You may also develop spasm after certain surgeries, as a result of a nerve disorder, or as a side effect of certain medications.

How Can I Relieve Symptoms of Bladder Spasm?

I'll get into more details later, but if you are suffering right now, this is what I would recommend:

  • Drink baking soda mixed with water: The first line of defense for me is to drink 1/4 tsp of baking soda (do not exceed two teaspoons of baking soda a day) dissolved in a small amount of water. This neutralizes the acid in your urine. I started feeling better within ten minutes. I read about it in a book, and it helped me much more than anything any of the doctors I had been going to for months had suggested.
  • Take a hot bath: I found soaking in a hot tub to be very palliative.
  • Relax your pelvic floor muscles: The muscle you want to relax is the same muscle you work when doing kegel exercises. Locate the muscle you use to stop your urine flow by tightening it once, then consciously relax it. It seems like it's too simple, but I was really surprised how much better this made me feel.

What Should I Stop Doing?

  • Don't strain to urinate: This is really important. You've probably been straining to empty every drop when you urinate; try not to do that because it's making things worse. The muscles in that area are all tense, and the nerves are overstimulated. So instead, you need to calm them down.
  • Do not drink cranberry juice or other fruit juice! Cranberry juice is very acidic and will irritate your bladder. Many people who develop these symptoms have been drinking large quantities of cranberry juice; if you are doing so, stop immediately.
  • Avoid certain drinks and foods:
    • Immediately stop consuming all carbonated drinks, alcohol, and coffee.
    • Do not eat any chocolate. In addition, avoid spicy food and citrus.
    • Drink plenty of plain water, but do not force yourself to drink gallons. Simply drink a glass whenever you think about it.

Some Other Things You Could Try

These are things that I didn't try, but they are recommended by experts.

  • Soft massage points over the kidneys and bladder can give relief to the spasms.
  • Acupuncture: Some bladder-specific acupuncture techniques have been shown to reduce bladder muscle contractions. However, there has been no consistent data that shows it's an effective treatment method.
  • Biofeedback: This is a method that trains the mind how to control bodily functions that are normally automatic. It is said to sometimes help with spasms or an overactive bladder.

What are Common Food Triggers for Bladder Spasms or Interstitial Cystitis?

  • Cranberry
  • Fruits other than pears
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Aspartame
  • Aged cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
  • Corned beef
  • Cured meats like salami, bacon, or ham
  • Vinegar
  • Salad dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lentils
  • Tree nuts
  • Onions
  • Soy
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial flavors
  • Vitamin supplements—especially Vitamin C

Don't Sabotage Yourself

Don't give in and reach for the foods that are hurting you. I really sabotaged myself for a while because I would not give up that one cup of coffee in the morning. Once I got past that, I started to get better. Don't undermine your recovery with that one glass of wine or cup of coffee, the way I did. Just stop. If all goes well, this will be a temporary situation. You can go back to enjoying those things later, but for now, you have to get this situation under control.

Instead of your regular acidic indulgences, milk or vanilla ice cream can be pleasant and very soothing. Make sure you get a brand of ice cream that does not contain a lot of chemicals.

Some Hot Drinks You Should Drink If You Have Bladder Spasms or IC

  • Have hot vanilla milk in the morning instead of coffee. Just put a drop of pure vanilla extract and a little sugar or honey in a mug of hot milk.
  • Some good tea options are marshmallow root, chamomile, catnip, licorice, ginger, or peppermint. They are usually well tolerated and can be beneficial. Make your teas weak until you are sure they don't bother you.
  • Sometimes, just sipping a cup of hot water is comforting, and it helps keep you hydrated.

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Could It Be Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Bladder Pain Syndrome?

If you are researching these symptoms on the Internet or talking to your doctor, you may have heard of interstitial cystitis (IC) also known as bladder pain syndrome. It is a chronic inflammation of the lining of the bladder. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, IC may affect between 3 million and 8 million women and between 1 million and 4 million men in the United States.

What Are the Symptoms of IC?

If you have urinary frequency and urgency, urethral burning, and pelvic pain, you probably have cystitis, which is bladder inflammation. If it doesn't go away—lasts more than six weeks—and no other cause can be found for it, then it may be interstitial cystitis. Some people experience UTI-like symptoms constantly while others experience it intermittently. According to Lee, "IC can cause pain during intercourse and can be accompanied by other health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other pain-related diseases."

What Is the Cause of IC?

The cause for IC is unknown and more cases are diagnosed in women. Just because you have urinary symptoms without bacteria does not mean that you have IC.

How Is IC Diagnosed?

Interstitial cystitis is often mistaken for a urinary tract infection. Patients may go as long as four years between the time they first experience symptoms and the time they receive their diagnosis. It most commonly affects women, although men can get it too.

IC is diagnosed by ruling out other conditions, such as bladder infections or bladder cancer. Also, when it is advanced, it can be diagnosed by cystoscopy, as there will be visible ulcers on the lining of the bladder. For a cystoscopy, you will have to see a urologist. However, not all doctors believe a cystoscopy is necessary or an effective way to diagnose the condition since the exam can be normal but you still may have IC.

What Are Treatment Options for IC?

IC is a chronic condition for which treatment options are varied and there is no cure. There is no single treatment that works for everyone. There are two FDA-approved treatments for IC: an oral medication called pentosan polysulfate sodium and a once-weekly treatment where dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is placed directly into the bladder through a catheter. However, some doctors may try other treatments if their patients don't respond to these medications.

Diet changes are also effective in many people with IC, and an elimination diet is recommended to see which, if any, foods are triggering your symptoms. While doing an elimination diet, it's important to also keep a food journal that tracks what foods you're eating and how you feel after eating them. This journal will become especially important when you start reintroducing foods.

Here are some more natural treatment/pain relief options:

  • Heat/cold therapy: When spasms are felt, use heat packs to soothe the muscles and bladder wall. Use an ice pack for burning sensations to reduce inflammation. Remove heat and cold packs every 20 minutes and alternate.
  • Physical therapy: Pelvic floor muscles tend to be very tight in IC patients, so seeing a pelvic floor PT can help relax those muscles. PTs can also teach patients bladder retraining exercises.
  • Aloe vera: Many OB-GYNs are recommending that their IC patients try aloe pills to reduce the intensity of flares.
  • Take a warm bath: A warm bath with Epsom salt and baking soda can help relax pelvic floor muscles and soothe bladder pain and inflammation.

Lee also says, "De-stressing is important in people suffering from IC. Stress causes inflammation in our body, leading to increased IC symptoms. Set aside relaxation time for at least 15 minutes every day."

Most people will find that their symptoms improve once they find an effective treatment but not all patients will become symptom-free.

UTI vs. Bladder Spasms vs. Interstitial Cystitis

 
Urinary Tract Infection
Bladder Spasms/Overactive Bladder Syndrome
Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
How It's Defined
A bacterial infection in any part of your urinary system. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract—the bladder and the urethra.
Urgency, with or without urge incontinence, usually with frequency and nocturia.
A chronic inflammation of the lining of the bladder
Causes
Bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder
The cause is often not known, but it can result from frequent UTIs, complications from a catheter, or a side effect of a medication. A less common cause is a nerve disorder.
Causes are unknown
Symptoms
Characterized by a burning sensation when you urinate; the need to urinate frequently. cloudy or odd-smelling urine
Characterized by an increase in urinary frequency and urgency, urethral burning, pelvic pain, and sometimes leaking urine
Characterized by pelvic or bladder pain; an urgent need to urinate; the need to urinate more frequently
How It's Diagnosed
Analysis of a urine sample
After ruling out an infection, there are a number of different tests doctors can do to diagnose this condition.
There is no standard test to diagnose for IC. Your doctor will first rule out an infection before deciding which test (if any) to use to determine your diagnosis.
Treatments
Typically, antibiotics are used to treat this infection.
Lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medication
There is no cure. Treatment options include diet changes, pelvic floor physical therapy, heat/cold therapy, aloe vera, or medication.

What Is Urethral Syndrome?

People with urethral syndrome experience similar symptoms to those with bladder spasm or OAB. The difference is their symptoms originate in the urethra. It is often caused or aggravated by physical or chemical irritation, such as scented feminine products or rough sex.

Symptoms:

  • lower abdominal pain
  • a sense of urgency to urinate
  • more frequent urination
  • blood in urine
  • pain during urination
  • pain during sex

Treatment options:

  • Lifestyle changes: Doctors will recommend patients stop using products or doing activities that irritated the urethra.
  • Medications: antibiotics, anesthetics, antispasmodics, antidepressants (help stop the chronic pain), and alpha-blockers.

When Should I See a Urologist?

Once your GP recognizes that you don't have a garden-variety bladder infection, you will probably be referred to a urologist. All of this takes time, and it will likely be a couple of months before you actually see the urologist. Usually, the first thing they will want to do is a cystoscopy, during which a tube with a camera on the end is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to examine it. My urologist made an appointment for me to have that test, but it was six weeks out. He said that if I got better before then, I should call and cancel.

The idea of that test really freaked me out, given the way I was feeling. And reading the online interstitial cystitis forums, I wasn't optimistic about the outcome. I didn't see a lot of positive comments about how great things were after the diagnosis. Everyone seemed to be on a lot of drugs that were marginally effective at controlling their symptoms, and it sounded like a life sentence to me. It is one of those conditions you just have to live with.

Don't Lose Hope

Now, looking back, I think most people who get over their problems never go back to the forum to share their story, so just because you don't see many success stories doesn't mean they don't exist. I did get some good advice for dietary changes and supplements from the IC forum, but I had to do a lot of digging. I've tried to condense the information that helped me here to make it more accessible for someone having a first experience with bladder irritation.

I never did have the cystoscopy. I was able to get my symptoms under control and opted not to have it. The cause of interstitial cystitis is mysterious, and I was never diagnosed with it, but I feel as though if I had continued to irritate my bladder, I could have developed this chronic condition.

From my reading and research, it sounds like it's important to get your symptoms under control early. Dietary changes when you first experience symptoms can prevent your condition from progressing. Patients who have had an irritated bladder for a longer period of time experience less relief from dietary changes.

If, despite your best effort, you don't get better, by all means, have the test. If it turns out you do have interstitial cystitis, there are medications and treatments that may be beneficial to you.

You Don't Have to Live With Cystitis

You Don't Have to Live with Cystitis
You Don't Have to Live with Cystitis

I found great advice in this book; it was recommended to me by my urologist. I found it to be very helpful and informative. It goes into depth about the causes of cystitis, how to reduce bladder pain, and how your diet can impact the condition.

 

Healing an Irritated Bladder: What Worked for Me

The healthy bladder is coated with a mucosal tissue called the glycosaminoglycan layer, generally referred to as the GAG layer. This layer protects the bladder from direct contact with urine. The GAG layer can become damaged by bacteria or other trauma, such as pelvic surgery, repeated infections, or a complicated pregnancy. I went on a regimen designed to heal the GAG layer.

First of all, go on a low-acid diet. If you look up an Interstitial Cystitis diet or IC diet, you will get a lot of varying advice on this. Different people seem to have different triggers. The ones I mention above, in the "common food triggers" section, should be avoided. Most of them definitely affected me.

One book I read said, "If you wouldn't put it on an open wound, don't eat it," and this resonated with me. So things like hot spices, lemon and vinegar would be off limits. If I ate acidic food, I could feel my bladder burning within 10 minutes, burning my bladder.

This list is a good starting point. Pay attention to you body. If you feel worse, ask yourself, "What did I eat?"

Most vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products will be fine.
Most vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products will be fine.

What Should I Eat If I'm Dealing With Bladder Pain?

It can be hard, with just a list of things you can't have, to figure out what to eat. There are plenty of foods you can still eat.

  • Any meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish is OK, except cured meats like bacon or salami.
  • Most vegetables other than tomatoes, onions, or hot peppers are fine.
  • You can still eat bread, other than rye and sourdough.
  • Dairy foods including milk, butter, cottage cheese, American cheese, and vanilla ice cream work. You can start adding some of the milder aged cheeses in small amounts once you start feeling better.
  • Pasta, rice, and most cereals are OK.
  • Salads can be a problem because of the dressing, but you can try them with herb-infused olive oil and coarse salt.

When you feel better, start slowly adding back foods one at a time. It can be tempting to just go back to your regular eating pattern, but you don't want to have to start over. I started with a little mayonnaise on my sandwich because I really missed it. Add one food at a time, and take it very slowly.

What Supplements I Used

Based on what I read in books and researched on the Internet, I used the supplements and products listed below:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin (400 mg 3x per day): It coats the GAG layer, giving it a chance to heal.
  • Calcium Citrate + Vitamin D (200 mg 2x per day): It helps your body excrete oxalates more efficiently, which helps prevent vulvodynia, an associated condition that is also very unpleasant.
  • Bromelain (100 GDU 3x per day): Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme.
  • Quercetin (100 mg 3x per day): Quercetin is another anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Prelief: Prelief is an antacid that you can take before eating acidic foods. I would not recommend eating acidic foods, even with it, until you get your symptoms somewhat under control. But I did use it occasionally as a precautionary measure if I needed to eat out, and I used it more often as my bladder improved and I was able to return to a more normal diet.

You might want to start off with the glucosamine and chondroitin and work your way down the list. Add one supplement at a time and wait a few days before adding the next one, just to make sure it's not a trigger for you. I used 21st Century Glucosamine 250 mg and Chondroitin 200 mg, just because it didn't have a lot of extra ingredients in it. I don't think the brand matters so much, but look out for added vitamin C in some of them.

One prescription medication I took for a short time that did help me was Ditropan (oxybutynin chloride). It is supposed to relax your bladder muscles to prevent urgent, frequent urination. At first, I was taking 5 mg a day, and it wasn't helping. But when my doctor raised it to 10 mg a day, it gave me some relief.

If you're really suffering right now, you're probably having a flare. It won't last forever; it will pass. It will take time for your bladder to heal, so don't expect a miracle cure overnight. I have experienced two flares that lasted several months each. I am able to eat a normal diet now, even coffee and chocolate. But if I had to give them up forever to prevent that kind of pain, it would be well worth it. Now I know what I have to do when that feeling comes back.

There is Great Advice in These Comments

I have had many people visit this page and leave comments. If you need more advice, I would recommend looking through them.

The list is long, but there is some great wisdom to be gained from others who have experienced unexplained bladder pain.

© 2012 Sherry Hewins

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    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 25 hours ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I hope you feel better soon Christy. You are very lucky you got a ten year break from symptoms. I hope this relapse is short lived.

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      Christy 4 days ago

      I am so glad I happened upon this. I've been suffering with this for the past week again. I had the same thing in April. All tests came back fine. Blood in urine. Dr. Wants me to go for an ultrasound bit I put it off because I had felt better. The last time this happened to me was 10 years ago. Same symptoms. Blood in urine, etc. My Dr at the time gave me antibiotics and nothing worked. She finally told me to stop wearing underwear that maybe it was from sweat. It lasted four months that time. Then was gone till now. I'm going to watch what I eat and what triggersbit and start to relax. Hope and pray I feel better soon because this makes you miserable. I'm sorry for anyone going through this but, happy to know that others understand how it feels and have found things helpful. So thank you!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 13 days ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Faye, wow that's really tough. my longest flare lasted about 4 months, but everyone is different. Are you following a low acid diet? Have you consulted a urologist? Other than what I said in the article, all I can tell you is to keep trying to find something that helps you. I hope you find some relief soon.

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      Faye 13 days ago

      Hi Sherry,

      Thank you so much for writing this article. How long did you have the symptoms for before you were able to get rid of it? I've had mine for almost 2 years now and I'm starting to lose hope. It's interfered so much with my life and career.

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      Jackie MN 2 weeks ago

      I stumbled upon your article while not being able to sleep, due to the constant urge to urinate and the pain I am in.

      About 3 years ago I started to get UTIs every couple of months. I would drink lots of water and take some cranberry pills. Last summer I went to the doctors. She said all my symptoms sounded like a UTI but my test came back with no bacteria. I never thought twice about it, until now. It's been about a week and my daily routine of lots of water and cranberry pills isn't working. I've almost peed myself twice now, while running errands and just when I thought it was going away it seems to have gotten worse. It is a constant and incredibly urgent feeling of having to urinate also accompanied with a burning sensation. It's very uncomfortable and leaves me frustrated and crying. There is no odor or blood. And I have noticed it happens a lot more in the summer ( I tend to spend every weekend in a bathing suit and my dr told me a wet bathing suit can lead to UTIs) After I thought it was getting better and it got worse, I realize I wore tight yoga pants for a whole day and am now wondering if all these things will affect it. I also saw a comment about having your period and wearing tampons. Is this something that can make it worse? I've never been diagnosed with anything but UTIs and this time around with what seems like no end in sight I went online and googled symptoms that mimic UTIs, this is where I found your article. I'm amazed because after thinking I must just suffer from chronic UTIs I'm realizing this could be something else.

      I will be trying to change my diet to see if that helps. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

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      Laura 2 weeks ago

      Hi Sherry,

      I'm not sure what I've currently been experiencing and wondering if you've heard anything similar this. I drink plenty of water and eat well, but my urine is horribly pungent normally mid-morning, not every day as it tends to come and go. The smell ranges from ham to that sulphur smell after you've burnt a sparkler and even for a few weeks it smelt like manure. The smell lingers from 30 minutes up to hours. I've been to the dr twice for a urine test but both times it wasn't when it was smelly and bacterial test came back negative.

      When I was younger I used to get chronic uti's, which I rarely get now but when I do I use baking soda which stops it in its tracks. I think I have an overactive bladder though as I get strong urgency to urinate. This is driving me crazy! What are your thoughts?

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      Sherry Hewins 2 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Gale, you probably have some lingering irritation from the UTI. The same things I have recommended in the article should work for you. Low acid diet, baking soda, relax the pelvic floor muscles, etc.

      What medication are you taking? As I mentioned before, I needed a stronger dosage before my medication was effective.

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      Gale 3 weeks ago

      I started this journey back in November when I had sinus infections. I went thru 3 round of antibiotics in 3 months and finally got over that. Then I started having yeast infections which I have never had and I am 60 years old. Then the UTI started about a month and 1/2 ago and again had never had one of them either. My family dr said I had bacteria in my urine but no blood at the time. I recently went for my pap smear and told her I had a UTI previously and she did a urine test and I had blood in my urine. She then did a culture and it did not test positive for infection. I have no pain but have to pee about every 30 minutes.What recommendations do you have? My gyno did give me something to ease the spasms but it did not help.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 3 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Beth - I think your on the right track. No matter what the cause of the irritation, the same food will aggravate it.

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      Beth 3 weeks ago

      Thank you Sherry. It’s so hard to figure out which foods are the culprit! I was actually diagnosed with Cystitis Cystica after a cystoscopy and put on long term antibiotics ☹️ So it’s a bit different but still, an irritated bladder. I’m trying many of the tips on here!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 3 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Beth, If I drink orange juice, I can feel it within 15 minutes. It does not take long to get to your bladder, and if your bladder is already irritated, you will feel it.

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      Jennifer 3 weeks ago

      Uh oh, got back to maybe a little too much coffee, some wine and chocolate (meno balls/fat busters) Also was drinking water with lemon flavoured stevia and it all started to lead to a subtle burning feeling again - just took baking soda in water and will halt the other offenders again. It can really snowball with a few acidic foods! Thank God for this spot!

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      Beth 3 weeks ago

      Thanks for the helpful advice! I’m wondering how soon after eating an irritating food, do you notice symptoms? I’ve had times where, right away, I was suffering but it seems impossible that it could happen that fast!

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      Justine 4 weeks ago

      Just wanted to say thank you so much for this article. My grandma had IC and I’ve been terrified I have it as well. I was diagnosed with ureaplasma this week and am on antibiotics for it. Thankfully my symptoms are improving but I was in a spiral before my diagnosis and reading this calmed me down and gave me hope. THANK YOU!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks for the feedback. A cold compress is soothing for the outside, and the relief lasts for a while afterwards; of course that is difficult to use when you are not at home.

      You could try a diaper rash ointment with zinc oxide in it. Just use a little though, it is messy and big gobs won't help any more than a thin film.

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      Fay Garnham 4 weeks ago

      Exterior burning and frequency podt UTI's. I found Apohealth's Cystitis Relief helps me. 1 x 4 a day for 5 days. 2 x 4 is a waste and does not work better than 1 x 4. The only thing I've been eating which I see is a no no, is choc chip cookies. Tomato and onion in a salad last night and today I'm suffering. Is there an ointment one can use the relieve external burning?

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jasmin, Congratulations on your engagement. I'm so sorry to hear that these terrible symptoms are interfering with your happiness.

      I'm glad I could give you encouragement. I really wish I had a magic pill that would just make it all go away.

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      Jasmin 4 weeks ago

      Thank you for writting this. I relate so much. I am in the thick of things at the moment so I really appreciate the positivity and hopefullness of this post.

      I had a UTI in March that must have done some serious damage because I'm still currently dealing with the aftermath. I have a little pain but main problem is frequency. It is completely debilitating at the moment- like every 30 mins. I am on the drug Tropsium which seemed to help for awhile so I am confused at why things got so bad over the past 3 days- my thought of course is that it could be IC.

      I plan to eat as alkaline and healthy as possible and start some new supplements. Im 40, just got engaged and should be on cloud 9. This situation with my bladder feels like im being robbed of my joy sometimes. Its just so hard to stay positive when you dont know what is causing it, how to fix it, and how long you may have to live this way- oh and my doctor and insurance sucks too. I just have to have faith that it will eventually pass. You're post helped me hopeful again. Thank you!

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      Anita Whitten 6 weeks ago

      I’m wondering if supplements of Tumeric may be causing my bladder flair up.

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      Omar Faruq 6 weeks ago

      Dear writer,

      Hope you are well. I have been suffering from the problem for 12 years. My Urine culture report shows a large list of of antibiotic which are not applicable for me but I had to take a lot of antibiotic.I could not take any sugar,meat,acidic foods.I feel burning in my urethra. My VDRL TEST is negative, pus cell is present in urine.

      Please help me.

      faruqiiuccse@gmail.com

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      Alyson 2 months ago

      Thank you Sherry and Carolyn for responding, it's nice not only to read others stories but also be able to talk to you. Toviaz is working amazingly for the urgency and frequency. I feel great except in the morning before I've had naproxen, some pain when urinating. It's been about 1.5 weeks since I had 2 glasses of wine so I know I have to wait it out and wait longer this time before having alcohol. I'm thinking in a couple months I should feel great (hopefully) and then give it a couple more months on top of that before introducing coffee and alcohol back.

      I have a cystoscopy scheduled for June 1, I don't believe they will find it is IC but just inflammation, but I think I should do it anyways to know 100%. I am a bit concerned with getting a UTI from the instruments but will take D Mannose that day. Hoping I don't regret getting it done :)

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Like Carolyn, I also was able to go back to my regular diet once I got well. I drink two cups of coffee every morning, and have a couple of beers occasionally. I eat chocolate, but I go more for a chocolate chip cookie rather than chocolate fudge with chocolate frosting.

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      Carolyn Talberg 2 months ago

      Hi Alyson,

      I was able to go back and drink coffee after the first go around a few years ago. This go around I was feeling great for about a month and I started drinking coffee - 1 cup and I made it weak. Did not bother me. I slowly added other foods and I had no issues for weeks. Unfortunately, I went on vacation and started to eat too many acidic foods and I have had a bit of a relapse. Not a bad flare thank goodness, but enough that I am back on this acidic free diet. I jumped the gun too quickly and I will not make that mistake again! I have been feeling better for about a week since I regressed. I am going to continue on this diet for at least 3 months before I re-introduce anything! My bladder needs time to heal entirely.

      I am hopeful I will have a complete recovery now as I did a few years back. I just need to be vigilant about my diet and once I heal I need to remember to not eat too many acidic foods in a short period of time for the rest of my life! I do not drink any alcohol so that is not a problem for me!

      I believe what set off my second flare after a few years, was

      eating too many acidic items in a short time period and then eating Thanksgiving desserts is what set me back. Also, I was under a lot of stress, not drinking enough water to keep me hydrated, eating a lot of dark chocolate and other acidic foods. I was tested for a UTI but it came negative as it always does!

      The Toviaz has helped a lot. I hope you are able to get some relief from it!

      All my best to you,

      Carolyn

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      Alyson 2 months ago

      Hi Carolyn,

      After 3.5 months I was just put on Toviaz to try out. Between the two times you have been dealing with this, did your bladder go back to normal? Were you able to drink coffee and alcohol again?

      Just wondering if you also have an idea what set it off again, perhaps another UTI?

      Alyson

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      Sydney 2 months ago

      Hi all, it is so comforting to read that I am not alone in this situation. At Christmas last year (2017) I started peeing often, burned, and had pain so I went in and they said I had a uti. They gave me Nitrofurantoin and sent me out. The side effects were awful so I went back and they gave me bactrim which did nothing at all. After a few weeks the burning and pain went away but I still peed every 30 minutes. In January I went to my gynecologist and she did a test and said I still I have a uti. I don’t remember what she gave me but it didn’t do anything either. She did a culture and it said I didn’t have an infection and I should see a urologist because I could have something else. My urologist sent me in for a ultrasound and had me do blood test and urine culture. The culture results took a while to come in but my ultrasound was clear. He then sent me in for a CT which was also clear, but my culture results had come in and showed I had a type of staph bacteria in my bladder. He gave me macrobid which seemed to help at first but I then went right back to the way I was. He wants me to go in for a cystoscope but I’m trying to avoid it at all costs. I had gotten to point where I was only going every hour and a half to two hours which was better and I started burning when I pee. I can’t get in to doctor so I started taking azo and now I pee every 45 minutes,burn, and have some discomfort, and have a hard time even trying to go. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. I’ve had nothing but water since December and have cut out all acidic drinks. I can’t go out and do anything without hoping there’s a bathroom nearby. My quality of life is completely shot and I have started figuring that this just something I’m stuck with. I’m going try and see if changing my diet works. It seems to have helped a lot of people on here. After four months of this I’m ready for it be done with. You guys have me gain hope again.

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      Alyson 2 months ago

      Hi Jessica,

      Your story sounds exactly like mine. Really bad UTI in December in my bladder, two rounds of cipro later and then half way through the second round pressure and urgency. Infection was gone and told "lingering inflammation" and to "ride it out" basically. Started feeling better after taking Cystoplus for a week but I was still taking Macrobid at the time to prevent UTI's which set it off again. Since January I have gotten better and worse from alcohol and coffee mostly. I stopped drinking coffee in January and right now I am at 7 weeks without alcohol and am feeling better. Right now I mostly have discomfort only when having a small pee, if I have a huge pee that I am bursting with it feels great. I am going to go for a Cystoscopy to check out my bladder. My gyno told me two weeks ago that it most likely is inflammation and to drink a crap ton of water and take NSAIDs every day (Aleve is my choice, works the best - 2 220mg, 3/day with Zantac to protect your stomach) to bring the inflammation down. He said after a month he will see where I am at, and possibly put me on a stronger anti inflammatory - as prolonged inflammation can cause scarring. The one thing my family doctor told me is it could be inflammation, or there could have been some damage/irritation to the first layer of my bladder. I did recently purchase Bone Broth powder - Bone Broth repairs the lining of your gut and bladder. I am vegetarian, so this was a bit of a difficult decision but I decided it was well worth it for my health and possibly why it has been 3+ months of this I am thinking - because of my vegetarian diet. Just a though. Also, I am taking 4 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel (Inner fillet) 2-3 times a day on an empty stomach --- before breakfast, and before bedtime for sure and sometimes once in the afternoon. I have found this to help alot as well. It is said to act as a natural NSAID for inflammation and also helps with the mucous layer in your bladder.

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      bath life 2 months ago

      I am sitting in the bath reading these comments, as I have plenty of time to do research when cystitis hits. I’ve spent hours in here! I have been a long term sufferer... Since I was a child. A virgin. My mum and my grandma both had the same weak spot. People tell me “oh always pee after sex” lol are you kidding me!? I know all the tricks!!! Let me tell you, there is much more impact on one’s sex life than going to the bathroom after. If only it were that simple.

      I drink three litres of water a day, also make sure I have the correct vitamins and minerals to retain that hydration... I try to avoid wearing underwear at all, even being trapped in breathable cotton begins to irritate at the end of the day. I can’t wear bathers, and the hormonal change of getting my period always brings cystitis on, even without the use of tampons. I can’t get cold or sit on something cold, I can’t sit for too long in one spot, and I’m careful with my diet. On that note, I noticed some advice about avoiding lemon. Lemon actually becomes alkaline in the stomach because of the way it’s digested. As does apple cider vinager. I recommend the consumption of these to things when suffering. However I’m not a doctor, but they don’t yet understand the symptoms of cystitis without bacteria present anyway... So maybe that’s a good thing! Docs prescribe antibiotics with puzzled looks on their faces, send you off with your tablets that will probably lead to thrush (which is not ideal at the same time for obvious reasons, trust me) and they also can make non-bacterial cystitis worse as they eliminate good bacteria in your body too. You need that good bacteria if you are to have any chance! Acidophilus and kombuca are your friends, as are Chinese herbs. Believe me I am no hippy, just saying the only tablet that has given me relief is a tablet called “urinary tract support” by a company called Ethical Nutrients. If you have never tried these, get a bottle. Thank me later. The only time my cystitis esculates to the point it’s at right now (blood and blood clots in all of the urine, not just at the end of urinating, and a visibly inflamed urethra) is when I wake up with it at night. I can feel it happening in the day and take these tablets I can generally get it under control.

      I hope this helps someone, I’m off to put my adult nappy on and sleep on two beach towels x

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      Me 2 months ago

      You are amazing for sharing this wealth of information. Bless you! xoxo

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      Surrah19 3 months ago

      I am crying tears of relief as I read your post. I have always had bladder issues caused by too much Vitamin C and the doctors have never believed me. I’ve felt very alone. I have had similar symptoms and have had significant improvement after pulling vitamin c from my diet (including the numerous additive forms in foods and even in things like makeup). I continue to try to fight and improve every day and I am hopeful it will completely be under control at some point soon.

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      Toria 3 months ago

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thank you so much for your support. It's really appreciated and your advice was great.

      Bit of an update. Have had a really good couple of days this week, nearly three weeks into my diet. After cutting literally everything, I've found that gluten is ok as are most vegetables, which I'm so happy about. So basically I'm inadvertantly vegan at the moment, but it's ok. Going to try dairy again in around a week - but not any of the acid foods on the list yet as I don't think my bladder is ready yet. Proud of myself for lasting for over 6 weeks without any caffeine, alcohol, fruit juice and soda now (I cut these prior to the crazy diet). I love water, mint tea and have found food-wise that rice crackers avocado with sea salt and olive oil is yum.

      I accidentally had some sweetener on a rice cracker the other day though and that really effected me - sweetener beware!

      I've now had my ultrasound. Nothing is seriously wrong with my bladder. Now have another one for anything gynae related. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a set back this week as went to the doctors and she made me have an impromptu smear in case I had cervical cancer. All I can say is that it set my urinary tract on fire for around 24 hours. But I'm so pleased to say that with a lot of self-care my bladder was back to the stage is was before within 48 hours.

      I've also started taking marshmallow root, glucoamine chrondoitin, calcium with vitamin d, d-mannose and zinc - finding that out of all of them the marshmallow root is the most soothing for my bladder. I live in the U.K., and had to order it from the US, so any Europeans wondering whether it's worth it, I'd say try it as I've definitely seen an improvement.

      Prelief works a dream for meals that you aren't 100% sure are totally safe. Again, not available in the U.K. but Amazon UK still supplies it.

      In addition to the ultrasound for gynae stuff I have around a month until I see a urologist. My doctor has already said that they're likely to go straight for a cystocopy - which I really don't want. Considering how bad my urinary tract felt from a smear, I can't imagine how bad a cystocopy will be. So hoping I continue to improve over the next month or so and I'm not forced to have it.

      Will keep everyone updated :)

      Toria x

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      Jessica 3 months ago

      Hi all! This forum has given me such comfort knowing that I'm not alone. I had UTI Symptoms back in December 2017. My UTI symptoms consist of frequency/urgency and no burning when peeing. My doctor at the time was not available for an appointment so he prescribed me antibiotics without a urinalysis. I took Bactrim for 3 days and had terrible side effects. I took an at-home UTI test and it tested positive for Nitrites. On the last day of the antibiotics it began to test negative for Nitrites. I ended up having chronic pelvic pain (feels like period cramps) and a low-grade fever and went to the Urgent Care on New Years Eve. The doctor there just told me it was ovulation pain and gave me an injection of Toradol. Flash forward to February where I still have chronic pelvic pain. I went to another doctor who performed a swab on me and urine culture test which both came back negative. I received an pelvic and trans-vaginal ultrasound which also came back normal. My gyno prescribed me Macrobid after suspecting I might still have an infection even with a negative culture. I took the antibiotics and still had chronic pelvic pain. My gyno suspected that I may have inflammation and scarring from my previous UTI and told me to give it time to heal. It started to feel better and almost 100% better until I was on vacation. The entire vacation I felt fine until the very last day (March 8th, 2018) I decided to drink a strong cocktail. That night I felt the same urgency, frequency and pelvic pain begin. From March 9th until now I began to feel the same symptoms but they are beginning to subside again. I've given up alcohol since I believe it was a trigger. My gyno is recommending for me to have a cystoscopy done and see a urologist. I am planning on contacting this urologist but am hesitant. I do have chronic pelvic pain and I urinate almost every hour at work but do not have pain when urinating just a discomfort after emptying out my bladder. I also do not have any pain with sex. I am just worried since I felt like I was back to normal a few weeks ago and now I have a dull ache not as severe as last time but the same type of feeling. If anyone has any advice for me, success stories or any similar stories, I'd love to hear from you.

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      Tara 3 months ago

      Thank you for writing this. I have felt like I'm going crazy for years now. I have tested negative for a UTI 3x and have an appointment with a specialist in a few months. Sometimes my bladder issues have taken over my life. I loved reading through the comments, since I suffer from the same things most of you do. I wanted to say 2 things that have saved me. I stopped eating any wheat products and it cut down on flare ups by 90%. And also... ALKA SELTZER. I take it when I feel a flare up and it helps amazingly within an hour. Hope this helps some people!

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      Sahnei 3 months ago

      Hi All

      I got a UTI in 2016 and was given Rocephin. Most symptoms cleared, but the smelly urine remained. All of my tests were negative for bacteria for two years. In April of 2017 I have another urine sample to my PCP. It came back clean but a week later the lab sent me something saying there was blood and that if my next culture showed it In would have to go to a urologist. So in Dec of 2017 there was blood again and off I went to the urologist. i told him that I'd always felt like I had to press down to release since a child but I had lived with it and the thing that bothered me was the smell. He dismissed it and said I was healthy and to follow up in 6 mos as he didn't find any blood and there has to be 3 molecules or more of blood in order to treat. A week later I developed a yeast infection. I treated it . Two weeks later (2018) I had the horrible symptoms of a UTI. This time it was worse. The burning, smell, and frequency. No urgency. C&S came back showing bacteria proteus mirabilis. A tough bacteria to control especially with me being allergic to a few medications that it was sensitive to. I had two choices to either take a med I was allergic to or go on IV antibiotics that was very dangerous. I prayed for several days as to what to do. I went to a walk in one evening with back pain and the NP told me I'd better do something before it progressed. I took the one I was allergic to and ended up in the ER. I was red from head to toe and swollen. Er doc says he did a urinalysis and found no infection. ????? I was confused but feeling worse. His C&S did show blood though. My urologist said you have no choice. Go on the IV. I did with my head hung low. I know how my body reacts to antibiotics. It was a nightmare. It took me time to even recover from the antibiotics.

      Right now. I have intermittent back and pelvic pain. I can literally feel my bladder fill up and I haven drank anything ! I have to go to the restroom sometimes every 45 min. Sometimes once every couple of hours. All tests have come back negative at this point as far as bacteria. Because I thought antibiotics failed. I cannot move my bowels on my own without an enema. I have completely changed my diet absolutely no sugar. I drink plenty of water. My PCP told me to take cranberry pills. I did for a few days and then one day I started peeing every 45 minutes. I didn't know if it was the cranberry pill or the OLE I'd taken. I cut out OLE and continued the cranberry pill. I ended up having to take AZO because I couldn't sleep. I was fine for the next day or so and then I wasn't. The yeast was raging at this point and Diflucan was like candy. I stopped the cranberry pill and decided to take Vit C because I wasn't sure about the infection since that particular bacteria likes to hide and not show up on tests. I was fine with the first dose of 1000mg and thought I could flush it out with 1000 more. I peed all night and woke up in the morning feeling that twinge in my bladder. It's not painful but it's like I can feel it and it's uncomfortable. But my lower back and pelvic pain is about a 3 from time to time. I've never had back pain before this UTI. I'm thinking that it's possible that the cranberry and Vit C possibly irritated me but the type of bacteria I was dealing with thrives in alkaline conditions which is completely opposite of 90% of bacteria and UTI cases. The bacteria that was found despises acidic conditions,but as of last urinalysis it's not showing up but I have these symptoms!! Argh!

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      Alyson 3 months ago

      Reading many of these comments I hope all of you are healing and feeling better. I am prone to UTI's and in December 2017 (2.5 months ago) I had a really bad one that I could feel was in my bladder. I took a round of Cipro, which didn't really clear it as I didn't realize until the last day I wasn't supposed to take a multivitamin at the same time. 3 weeks later I had to refill Cipro. Knowing about the multivitamins, I felt better within a day. 3 days into it and felt 110% but wanted to finish the course just in case. About 4 days in, I felt intense bladder pressure and frequency and went to Urgent Care. The Dr told me the infection was gone, and that this was inflammation. I did another urine test a week or two later at the walk in, and told the same thing. Since then I have done everything: cut out coffee, alcohol, tried the Marshmallow root and Slippery Elm, multivitamin, Omega 3 etc.

      About a month and a half ago I started Acupuncture which has helped, and am taking Chinese herbs. In less than 2 weeks this will be three months of this, pressure/sensitivity in the bladder and sometimes urethra discomfort. I am starting to go crazy. Symptoms will improve and then get worse, or change. Last week I felt great except if it wasnt a huge pee, I was left with a bit of pain/discomfort in my urethra. Now, the sensitivity is back in my bladder. I was told to take NSAIDs for the inflammation, which do help. But, as they do not actually fix anything I wasn't sure if it would help for now**, but make the healing process take longer?

      I don't believe it is bladder spasms, but inflammation as it is sensitive all the time and to the touch. My Acupuncturist did say it feels tight. Maybe I should try antispasmodics??

      I can't imagine this going on for another 3 months. I am thinking about taking NSAIDs daily, while my body heals. What are your thoughts on using NSAIDs for this??

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      Carolyn 3 months ago

      Dear Toria,

      I feel for you! I have suffered two bouts of this in 4 years. It takes a while for your bladder to heal. Patience is needed and that is so hard when one just wants their life back and in my case I just wanted my coffee back as well! My Urologist has said that the lining of my bladder had thinned and that causes inflammation which in turn causes bladder spasms. They are very painful. To me it feels like a rug burn on the inside of my bladder, sometimes urethra pain/burning and of course the constant urge to want to go to the bathroom.

      For me temporary relief came from the following:

      AZO tablets

      Ibuprofen (I took 800mg in morning, afternoon 600mg and another 600mg before bedtime)

      The baking soda took the edge off.

      Hot baths and heating pad in bed.

      Prelief before eating anything.

      YouTube has videos for relaxation and some even to promote healing.

      It took me a few months before my primary referred me to a Urologist (had already done the Gynecologist route to no avail). He put me on Myrebetriq and that helped to calm my bladder down. He explained the importance of eating a completely acidic free diet and to keep myself well hydrated. I drank at least a cup of water an hour and many times I would sip on hot water. It took a few weeks before I saw improvement. It then took 3-4 months before I was completely symptom free. Then I slowly introduced back the no no foods.

      I just had another bout and I had forgotten how hard it is to go through this. The quality of life is drastically reduced. This time around I am taking Toviaz and it has been a god send. I am now becoming symptom free after a solid 6-7 weeks in pain! (I could not get in right away to the Urologist). My doctor will start to ween me off the Toviaz in the beginning of May! In the meantime I continue all the self care I can! I trust I will heal as I did in the past.

      I wish you a speedy recover and please update here on how you are doing Toria.

      All My Best,

      Carolyn

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      Toria 3 months ago

      Hi I've been suffering really badly since the middle of January with the constant urge to urinate combined with bladder pain. I've had two sets of antibiotics from the doctor, despite saying that there was no bacteria in my urine. I'm in my late 20s so it shouldn't be hormonal.

      After my latest (fourth) trip I'm now having an ultrasound next week. I don't feel like my urine is particular acidic and drinking baking soda has little/no effect. I take d mannose and vitamin e everyday. I've also tried taking prerelief before meals in case it was acid as well. I'm currently searching for a brand of gluscosamine that doesn't have vitamin c in. I've also tried zinc, uva ursi, spirulina (I thought it might be that I was nutrient deficient), cranberry tablets (stopped that after my research!), and a lot of ibuprofen to try and reduce any inflammation in my bladder. I've also been drinking a lot of chamomile tea (though I've now cut that as you'll see below).

      I just wanted to clarify some of the dietary stuff. After doing a lot of reading, I got the to the point of frustration last week that I literally decided to cut everything from my diet.

      To clarify, I haven't had any coffee, alcohol, soda or fruit juice for over a month now - this has made little difference though the one time I did have a soda before I cut it out did increase my pain level, so this was effecting it before.

      So after this making little difference, i decided to take it to the next level.

      I've been keeping a food diary and have cut all gluten, dairy, soya, sugar, fruit etc from my diet. I drink only water. It now literally consists of oatmeal, vedgetables (not including any nightshade vedgetables, tomatoes etc) and poultry/fish with the occasional rice cake.

      However, I've been doing it for a week and have found it has made little difference.

      I've also found that when I did try and drink dairy it actually increased my pain - more than at any other time - and the high level 'give me all the pain killers' pain lasted around two days.

      My pain is continuing to maintain since these drastic diet changes. I know it's only been a week, but how long did it take for your symptoms to start decreasing Sherry/others based on dietary changes?

      I know the diet may not help and everyone is different, but I basically want to give myself a time line so I have something to aim for! Feeling pretty awful mentally and physically because of the whole thing but keeping strong. I find distraction works the best and I continually mentally tell myself I don't need to urinate despite the pain, as it's the worst when I do try and go and there's nothing to come out. This means I can last for around 2 hours at work.

      I'm also incorporating pelvic exercises as well.

      Any advice would be appreciated.

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      Tricia98765 4 months ago

      I have been suffering from bladder spasms since February of 2016. The urologist gave me a sonogram and a cystoscope but found no underlying cause. For me, my symptoms started 2 months after menopause, so I don't know if it is related. I discovered your article about a year ago, and several of your suggestions help, but still I suffer about 3 days a week. I have ph testing strips and I know that when I'm having symptoms, my urine is acidic. Drinking the baking soda water that you suggest always helps. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do know that when I drink strong tea the symptoms get worse. Other than the tea, I have not discovered which foods are triggering my bladder spasms. Taking AZO helps (the one that contains phenazopyridine, not the one that contains cranberries). My urologist said since I do not have a UTI, it is ok to take it for more than 3 days. RECENTLY I FOUND SOMETHING THAT HELPS ME, so I decided to share. LEMON JUICE added to my water. I discovered that this helped on accident. I noticed my symptoms were always happening at work, not at home. I work long shifts, and by the end of the day I am often doing the "potty dance". Emptying my bladder does not help and I am miserable. I tried to figure out what was different about what I was doing at home where I rarely had symptoms, and at work where I always have symptoms by the end of the work day. At home, I drink tap water and add lemon juice ( I do this because I like the flavor). This is mostly what I drink, other than an occasional weak tea or milk. At work, I always drink bottled water. So 3 weeks ago, I started adding lemon juice to my bottled water at work. I have now seen a noticeable improvement in my symptoms. If I am already having symptoms, the lemon water does not cause great improvement like the baking soda water does, but I have found that I drink lemon water consistently, it stops the problem from occurring in the first place, or makes the symptoms much less severe. I drink 1 or 2 sixteen ounce bottles a day (with lemon juice added). I hope this may help someone. :)

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      JW 4 months ago

      I was diagnosed with advanced UTI September 2017, was rx antibiotics and the infection cleared no symptoms until 6 weeks later I felt UTI symptoms. Gyno tested Amanda urine analysis showed a “borderline” UTI.. went on antibiotics no help, went on two more rounds of antibiotics pain increased. All tests negative for UTI - mri was clear. Urologist suggested I was suffering from pelvic spasms however I disagree.. i am certain it is My bladder, cut out alcohol and started excercising 3x week symptoms greatly subsided but a dull pain remained unless my I was constantly drinking water. Had coffee - no pain, OJ -no pain. No urinary urges just pelvic pain. I noticed when I have an a sip of alcohol i experience immediate pain, prior to alcohol actually be reaching my bladder. All gyno test negative - cystoscopy resulted in all negative findings. It has been 6 months and the pain hasn’t improved worried I have IC even though urologist said no.. has anyone experienced alcohol as a trigger upon first sip??

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      YYas 4 months ago

      Hi Sherry,

      I would like to thank you very much for your article. I found it very supportive and encouraging at some point in my life. I can't say that I completely recovered from UTI, keeping a diet is sometimes very hard and it requires a lot of strength. I would like to send a message to women who are still struggling with the symptoms and have no idea what is going on.

      I have struggled with this problem for a year, but here is what I came up with recently. Most of the docs treat you with antibiotics without taking the time to figure out what could be the real REASON for the symptoms. My urologist simply said that I'm one of the unlucky women and prescribed me the same antibiotic which I specifically told her I'm resistant to. After completing the 5th course of antibiotics in the past 6 months, I struggled with pain, discomfort, chills; it affected every aspect of my physical and mental life. Now I truly believe there is always a reason for that, it's not random. I started calling that doctor saying that I now have back pain. She prescribed me a low dose antibiotic to take while symptoms persist. Why? I had no bacteria at that time. I didn't do that, instead, I insisted to refer me to ultrasound of my kidneys. The ultrasound showed that water was getting stuck in one of my kidneys... So the urine doesn't go through ureter to bladder easily. It gets stuck there and comes back to kidney.

      I found another doctor after a while. She was very familiar with diet and natural treatments. Most of the doctors don't know what d-manose is. I think a very good doctor is NOT the one who got his/her diploma, but the one who continues to study and stays current with the research news. However, we can't get diagnosed without doctors. They should test us anyway: urine tests, cystoscopy, ultrasound an CT scans are very important in all the cases when you are struggling with UTI and Cystitis for a long period of time. I would like to encourage everyone to go ahead and do not let doctors disregard their symptoms with enormous amount of antibiotics.

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      Sherry Hewins 4 months ago

      Ginger, have you changed your diet? You might try taking Prelief before meals. Definitely get off chocolate, soda, and citrus fruits.

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      Neva 4 months ago

      The oxybutin chloride made my symptoms worse. It inflamed my bladder , caused agitation and I urinated more had urge to pee and nothing came out. Diet is the key. Took Xanax and Tylenol

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      Ginger 4 months ago

      Thank you for sharing your story and creating this forum. I've been in misery since Thanksgiving. Went to gyno, was diagnosed with bacterial infection and uti. Prescribed Macrobid, which did not relieve uti symptoms. Had horrible back pain, heart racing, and uti symptoms. Gyno sent me to ER, there I received 10 day prescription for Uti - my bloodwork was all normal. I was told to follow up with Gyno in a week. Uti symptoms of constant urgency never relieved, Gyno said she couldnt help because this Uti test was negaive, so I was referred to Urologist. Urologist took urine sample to be cultured and ordered Ultrasound. Ultrasound was normal however urine showed a drug resistent bacteria, 10 days of cipro was prescribed. Finally, I began feeling better. Unfortunately, a week after stopping antibiotics all the pain and awful urgency returned. My new gyno found no bacteria in my urine culture last week. Throughout this I've been taking every supplement recommended - women s probiotics, dmannose, uva usi, marshmallow root, bromelain. Nothing seems to help. This horrible condition is effecting my mind too, can't think straight or focus well. I am a teacher, each day is a struggle to get through. I'm not sure what to do next. No Dr has been able to help. I'm worried I have a persistent embedded uti & the bacteria is not showing, doctor won't prescribe more cipro which is the only thing that ever helped. in addition, I just turned 50 so my hormones may be a factor. Any ideas?

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      Caeolyn T 4 months ago

      Marciazhat

      Ibuprofen is perfectly fine. My urologist said I could take 2 three times. I took 4 (800mg) and then 2 or 3 for the rest of the day. They have 800mg ibuprofen, but it is only available by prescription. I told my urologist that I was going to do that and he said one can safely take ibuprofen everyday for two weeks. Two or three did not cut it for me - the pain was horrible and 800mg took the edge off. I would ask your doctor however as I am not a doctor! What helped me tremendously is the AZO pills.

      I had a bladder flare for the first time a few years ago and I recovered. It took months, but I did make a full recovery. I just had another flare up in November and I am just now feeling like I am healing. It was so hard to suffer from it again. I had forgotten how it ruins the quality of your life. This article was a life saver for me a few years ago and again this go around. Thanks Sherry for bringing hope to so many! ❤️

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      Sherry Hewins 4 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      As far as I know, Ibuprofen is not bad. I say, if it makes you feel better, do it. Perhaps some of my friends will chime in on this question.

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      marciazhat 4 months ago

      Thanks for such an informative post. I have the usual symptoms minus pain upon urination. Testing by the urologist has ruled out anything "bad" but there was blood in the urine (not visible) and so I was sent to the gyno for HRT as I am of that age. So far HRT (which I do NOT want to be on) is not helping but I'm glad because I want to discontinue it. So back to the urologist I go and have been on Myrbetric for a week now. I read that it can take over 4 weeks to work and no, the Dr didn't tell me that, I had to find that out on my own. He also gave me samples for 2 weeks only and no script so I'll have to pay to find out if it is working. I have been on what I thought was a good diet for a few weeks now but see that the homemade lentil soup is probably what is hurting right me now. I will adjust my diet but do notice that ibuprofen definitely helps. And here is my question. Is ibuprofen bad for the bladder? I'd hate to find out that what makes me feel better is really making me feel worse. Not sure that asking the doctor is so wise these days so maybe someone out there knows. I'm grumpy. But thanks again for such an informative post and the willingness to share it with us. xo

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      Natalie 4 months ago

      Ugh...Going through this now! Was told I had a UTI by BO 3 rounds of antibiotics, went to Urologist and she didn’t see anything. Having issue once more, and my urologist is very active in my health. The waiting (especially during a weekend) is hard. Thanks for the advice.

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      Carrie 5 months ago

      Thank you for your helpful information. I am hanging on to hope that my symptoms will go away with time as my urologist keeps telling me. I had a bad UTI 3 months ago the infection went away but lingering symptoms of bladder pressure and urethra discomfort also frequent urination decided to stay. I have had a full work up to rule out everything possible. Custom showed urethritis and inflammation at the bladder neck. I was put on low dose antibiotic for 3 months and toviaz for bladder control. I am 3 weeks in to this treatment plan In addition to diet change and taking bladder healing supplements. I am desperate to get my normal life back like it was before all this started. It has been very hard mentally and physically. I have had good days as if the symptoms were gone only to be followed by bad day to remind me they were still there. I will continue to pray this nightmare will all go away. I am other wise healthy. Any success stories would be great to hear. Thank you.

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      Jennifer 5 months ago

      Thanks, Sherry, I had no coffee today and feel quite a bit better. I think it was a perfect storm of circumstances - menopause and thinning bladder etc. tissue, infection and too much acidic food/drink. This forum is a godsend!

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      Sherry Hewins 5 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks for sharing your story Jennifer. I hope you have nipped the problem in the bud.

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      Jennifer 5 months ago

      Thank you! Just had a couple of bad bouts with urgency burning- the first preceded an actual UTI and the second happened with no bacteria present whatsoever a month later. Was drinking lemon water every morning and I've stopped that! Doctors office said my sample did contain some red blood cells, leukocytes and pus, so I know there is inflammation. Will give up even the once a morning coffee, chocolate and wine. For the second episode I'd had a small carbonated drink hours before and I sure won't do that ever again! I think doc will order an ultrasound just to check.

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      Anne 6 months ago

      I can’t thank you enough for this blog that helped me through the bladder pain that I suffered from since February. Before that, I had uti episodes that were treated with antibiotics and I suppose some ‘uti’ symptoms that were really bladder irritation. From your blog, I learnt that my urge to urinate and pain were due to acidic foods and an over sensitive bladder. Almost recovering from these symptoms, I had a flare up yesterday. Remembering that oatmeal may have helped before, I had a bowl this morning and am feeling back to normal. Hope this tip helps anyone looking for additional support. Thanks again!

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      Luise Smith 6 months ago

      I'm new here...want to add my experience. Had what seemed like a mild uti a month ago, got Bactrim. It started to slightly help by 5th day (of 5 day Rx). Went back to doc he said no infection. Had the pelvic pain, urethral pain, back pain. Spent 3 weeks pretty much hostage in my house with hot water bottles. Took uva ursi and marshmallow root, magnesium, no coffee,tea, chocolate, gallons of water. Back to doc, he insisted no infection and that I should go ahead and have coffee. I asked what to do about the pain, he says "no infection", like if he keeps saying it, that it won't hurt any more! I can go max 2 hours without feeling like I absolutely must pee. And I'm going away to work in a very remote area for 4 months....I do have another 5 days of antibiotic if I need it, and will take my supplements with me. The hardest part is feeling almost suicidal as the pain just doesn't go away! It can lessen, but is always there. I guess I'm on the road to recovery as a couple times I felt like I had some energy, but during all this I was exhausted and would fall asleep in my chair like my old grandfather. It does help to hear that others have gone through it. It doesn't help that I only have one kidney (living donor) and worry that there is actually an infection which will go into the kidney. My next step is physio. I take a bit of baking soda when it gets really burny feeling. It's soo awful when your doctor shrugs this off. I did get him to send away for a lab culture though, rather than just the office test. Waiting to hear. Thanks to others for posting their experiences, it helps!

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      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks so much for your input! There is so much still to be learned about these symptoms. It is good that we who have them can help one another.

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      yiashnee white 7 months ago

      I just wanted to start off by thanking you for your blog about this subject. I experienced what I assume is a bladder spasm ad irritable bladder for about 3 weeks and I was emotionally drained (and of course in so much pain), and this blog was the only thing that made me feel supported. I have had recurrent utis for 5 years (I am 23) and this time it wouldnt go.. and then i realised it was potentially IC . I have seen a urologist but I found the main thing that worked for me is an ultra clean diet, and the supplements that are mentioned on this blog. Another thing i would like to suggest is cranio-sacral osteopathy. I am an osteopath and I received treatment on my pelvic floor muscles, bladder, cranium and sacrum as my bladder was sort of hanging (in basic terms) and my pelvic floor was overworked and tight. This helped so so so much. The osteopath also worked on my sympathetic nervous system by manipulating my thoracic spine as this becomes overworked and can change the way our bladder and other organs function. So please please see an osteopath if you are suffering. Definitely as if they are cranio-sacral based with some structural imput. Again, thanks so much for the support and to everyone who comments!

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      cw/me 7 months ago

      Maria, I am happy to hear my input has helped you. My main symptom was excruciating pain in the vulvar region which lasted at least 7 months, waxing and waning in intensity, until about the end of the 8th month it was bearable.

      Before that point, not a day went by when I wasn't in extraordinary pain from the overwhelming burning sensation. As you already know, everyone is different in terms of their symptoms. For me, frequency was not the main issue. I did not need to pee very frequently, except in the beginning, but there were days when I had more urgency. For at least the first few months, I was peeing more than usual and getting up at night to pee. I forget how long that lasted, but probably several months.

      The healing process is also non-linear, which means you aren't necessarily going to feel a little better every day until everything is healed. There will be ups and downs. And you will get impatient being unable to eat and drink what you want and will fall off the wagon here and there, which will provoke symptoms that make it seem like you are not moving in a direction of healing, which isn't the case.

      Feeling better meant I could get through at least a couple hours each day without pain, and then very gradually, entire days and then weeks and then to a point where I don't even think about it until there's a slight tingling from something I ate, which still does happen. It is actually happening right now as I tried to re-introduce NutraSweet and find my bladder wants nothing to do with it.

      It was probably a year before I went days or a few weeks without any pain. But the most disabling pain took about eight months to subside. I knew I was getting better when the pain lessened and I was able to introduce foods I couldn't eat before.

      Today, I am doing much better but my bladder has been slightly impaired and I don't know if that is reversible. I have read it can take up to three years, maybe more, for a bladder irritation to fully heal. I never used to feel a strong, sudden urge to pee after drinking coffee, for example, and many times it feels like my bladder needs to empty out more after I pee, but I don't strain and just wait for a little more to come out when it wants to. I was never that way before. I think this is also a factor of age and being in late perimenopause.

      I hope this is also useful info to you. Four months seems like an eternity when you are in such discomfort, but in terms of healing your bladder, it's still very early days. So keep doing what you are doing, watching what you eat for now and doing your best to control flares. And above all, don't stress that you are not getting better. Not only is that likely to be untrue, but stress makes everything worse.

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      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Maria, I think your experience is very typical. Perhaps I made my journey seem too simple. I definitely had my setbacks.

      Even though I describe myself as being healed now, I think I still visit the bathroom more than the average person. I think my bladder is just a little shrunk and a little damaged.

      So, you may end up with a new normal, but as long as your general direction is toward getting better, I think you can get to a comfortable place. Unfortunately, it is a slow process.

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      Maria 7 months ago

      Sherry, Your 2 cents is ALWAYS welcome. :) I shoudn't really be complaining about one every 1.5 hours but its a long way from my normal and I'm still having flare-ups where I do pee more often accompanied by the burning/pressure. I wonder if the road to healing should have so much of this two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. I thought Id feel progressively better as its been almost 4 months and still having bad days and even my good days are peeing every hour and a half. It sounds like your road to getting better was more straightforward. You cut out the acidic foods and things got better. I know everyone is different though..

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      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Maria, I know you didn't address your question to me, but I thought I'd put my 2 cent in. Peeing only once every hour and a half would have seemed like heaven to me when I was at my worst. I was struggling to wait even 10 minutes.

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      Maria 7 months ago

      cw/me - question for you about what 'feeling better' actually felt like. I ask because I'm almost 4 months into this bladder irritation and even on days I'm not in pain, I'm still peeing every 1.5 hours during the day and about 3-4 times at night. So I'm just questioning if I'm really getting better. I guess what I'm asking is how did you know you were getting better? As for me I'm still having small flares as I try new foods and like I said, even on 'good' days I'm still peeing frequently, though there is no pain/pressure. (I'm really going to slow down and use your method of introducing things after 2 weeks of mini amounts. I think I've been impatient and not doing that has been the cause of some flares that could have been avoided. Like you, the acidic food list is no help. I react to things that aren't acidic, it's kind of random like you said). Anyway, did you still have frequency as you started to get better? When did the frequency start to go away? Thanks again--reading about your experience on this thread has helped me more than you know.

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      Lu-T 7 months ago

      Heres my story....had abdominal pain , groin pain, pelvic pain for almost 3 months...went for a Ct Scan yesterday and thank God it showed nothing..no cancer no tumors,nothing. But I still have the pain. Has anyone experienced this?

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      Lu-T 7 months ago

      cw/me Thanks for your thoughts... GP thinks it may be something else so he will probably order a CT Scan. Right now I'm up in the air. He said he never heard of bladder pain lasting as long as I have had it. Please keep me in your prayers. I will keep you in mine.

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      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Kay Dee - I'm so glad you got help from your urologist, and that have found your way to healing.

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      cw/me 7 months ago

      Hi Lu-T, I also had that groin pain more on one side of the groin than the other which varied from stronger tingling/burning to dull tingling, which was always there and stayed for many months. As I continue to add different foods I've avoided for a year because of my bladder, it periodically comes back but is faint and nowhere near as bothersome.

      It's a great idea to get checked out and alleviate your fears, as all those thoughts of what if it's something serious eventually get to you. I went through all of that. I couldn't even walk for the first several weeks because my back was in such terrible shape and my legs were numb. The inflammation was irritating an existing back problem. That went away after several weeks; however, everyone is different so do not get into the thinking that someone else was better in this many weeks, so why am I still suffering.

      I've also experienced abdominal bloating but that has been a problem since I went into perimenopause so I don't know if it's truly related. Everything you're describing sounds like the familiar symptoms of lingering bladder inflammation. Just keep your dr. in the loop and continue to be careful about what you eat and drink. Dr's are often clueless about bladder inflammation. You probably need relaxation and reassurance more than any other treatment. I know what you are feeling and thought this was how I was going to feel for the rest of my life. When I get flareups now and again they are very minor. It has been almost 17 months for me and I do still feel some effects triggered by certain foods. I hope to keep improving and am thrilled that I'm nothing like the pain-riddled mess I was last year. It takes time so hang in there!

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      Kay Dee 7 months ago

      Today is Halloween and my trouble started on Memorial Day weekend and I finally feel better. My GP was no help so I went to a urologist after the first week. He was a huge help. What helped the most was not eating anything acidic (I ate lots of chicken and baked potatoes), drinking warm water with baking soda, and a combo of glucosamine chondroitin and calcium citrate w/ vitamin D (taken together). I was craving something sweet, so I ate fruit loops, bad idea.

      It takes time. Be patient and don't give in to temptation until you're completely healed. Then introduce the most important thing to you first and slowly. I started with half a "clean" multi vitamin. Not brave enough to start vitamin C yet. I have one cup of low acid decaf in the morning, I've tried wine several times with different results, and I eat most everything like before except cured meat. Although I try to avoid chemicals in my food now. I also try really hard to reduce stress. I was a crying mess after reading posts of people who never recovered. I told my husband that I could never go on vacation or out to eat or have any kind of life away from my potty. Anyway, the stress didn't help. For me it's a trigger. You will feel better. It will take time. I realized that I had been having simptoms for years, mostly when I had to much coffee. (road trips) The most important thing I learned was that I have to be in control of what goes in my body because it's my responsibility and I have to deal with the aftermath.

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      Lu-T 7 months ago

      I'm going to my GP on Wednesday because back pain is really bad today. I'm wondering if I have a Kidney Infection . My problem started out as an infection. I have been testing it myself. Maybe my dr will send it out to lab. I wish there were answers to all this. At this point I just need relief. I haven't gotten any relief from the Bladder Q I have been taking. I'm getting upset at this point. Thanks

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      Lu-T 7 months ago

      Thank You all for be patient with my questions.. Is groin pain part of all this? I'm 2 and 1/2 months dealing with this problem...Right now my Bladder pain is minimal.. I haven't even been complaining about it. Just a little sore. Pain in right side of groin is like a tingling feeling. My lower back and sometimes upper back is the worse. Will the back pain go away when the bladder heals. Am I expecting too much too soon.? Thank You All Again and I wish you all a speedy recovery! PS Checked My urine this morning and No infection.

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      Lu-T 7 months ago

      Had anyone experienced Bloating in the abdomen?

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      Sherry Hewins 8 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Several people have mentioned the subject of hip pain. I think this is a good time to remind people that, while symptoms may seem related, sometimes they stem from a different issue.

      I have pain that I would have described as hip pain, but it stems from my sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs down your leg from the spine, many people experience the pain in their hip. Sciatic nerve pain is common and it can be caused by anything that puts pressure on that nerve.

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      Melisa 8 months ago

      Lu-T, I do have pelvic pain but it is not as severe as my bladder pain, it is more of pressure in that area and sometimes burning. Prelief has also helped me feel a bit better, I take it with most meals. I don't have back pain, but bad hip pain. Have they done a kidney scan to make sure you don't have kidney stones? I had someone teach our to me on another site who had all the same symptoms and the docs missed her kidney stones on the scan and then months later she passed a huge stone. I don't know but it could be worth mentioning. Also, has your doc tested for ureaplasma bacteria? It doesn't show up on a normal urine culture but it causes the same symptoms. Best of luck, keep us posted!

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      Savannah Moss 8 months ago

      Marshmallow root gelcaps helps my bladder pain during a flare up. And progesterone cream helps a lot too. I put a little progesterone cream on my stomach when I'm on my cycle. My bladder flares up due to hormone fluctuations.

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      cw/me 8 months ago

      Maria, some other things I did to help heal was drink a gallon of water a day to make sure my bladder was well flushed out; I also found that vigorous walking alleviated the pain and discomfort of urethral burning temporarily; I introduced different foods back into my diet one at a time, allowing about two weeks before deciding if I was able to tolerate them or not and kept a food journal to figure out what might trigger a reaction. A confusing process in the beginning, until you are able to see a pattern after consuming certain foods and discovering the timeframes in which they may cause a reaction. I took a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement 3x daily to coat the bladder lining, which takes at least 3-6 months to take effect. Besides that, I couldn't really do much else but wait for the damaged lining to repair itself.

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      Sherry Hewins 8 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Maria, I didn't know what triggered the flares at the time, but I was completely ignorant about all of this. I imagine I was doing everything wrong, just living my carefree life.

      I think the last one I had was due to consuming large quantities of chocolate on a daily basis. It was the holiday season, and it seemed to be everywhere.

      Then of course, when I had symptoms, I would go for the cranberry juice. I think it just made everything worse. Plus, I wouldn't give up my coffee habit, and the constant straining to empty my bladder got my muscles all tense.

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      Maria 8 months ago

      cw/me-- Thank you so much for the encouragement. It really does help to talk to other people who have gone through the exact same thing. That is amazing about the ice cream and the nuts! Congratulations! I hope to feel as good as you do one day soon. Btw, I use D-Mannose as well, its been helpful I agree.

      Right now Ive identified gluten, dairy and sugar as irritants and so I've cut those out, but still experience flares at times w/o being able to identify the specific cause which is frustrating. Can I ask you what else you did to heal?

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      Maria 8 months ago

      Thanks for answering Sherry. Sounds like we experienced similar starts to our bladder issues. I have actually seen a urologist and she recommended Tagamet but it didnt seem to help and gave me insomnia. I've got an appointment for a pelvic floor physical therapist in November. For now I'm trying to get over this with just diet and some supplements, some of which you recommended. Thank you so much for all the info.

      One last question-- you said you had a few flares that lasted several months each. Do you remember what triggered the flares?

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      cw/me 8 months ago

      Maria, three months is really not a long time for healing an inflamed bladder. This process can take up to three years, according to a Harvard study I once read. Be sure you are eating enough high quality protein like chicken, eggs, turkey and even fish, with any sodium/salt carefully rinsed off. I never imagined I would be able to eat nuts or ice cream again and I recently spent a couple of days binging on peanut butter and a pint of ice cream which I rarely eat, and except for a faint tingling sensation, these foods which might've landed me in the ER some months ago did not cause any lasting discomfort at all. Lu-T I did try a TENS machine from Omicron and I don't think it did much for me, but maybe I thought I felt better for a couple of minutes after use. My saviours for mild tingling sensations I occasionally experience have been d-mannose powder and .50mg Xanax as needed. Trust that you will eventually come through this. It is extremely upsetting to believe you will never again be able to eat what you want and might be in pain forever. The far greater likelihood is...you simply need time to heal and you will come out of this just fine!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Can I take a Multi Vitamin everyday? And is it ok to fry food? Thank You!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Maria.. I had an infection 9 weeks ago and was treated with Macrobid and had a terrible reaction to it. And was told by the doctor that the infection was probably gone. From then on I had bladder pain and pelvic and urethra and back pain. Right now I'm feeling better as far as the bladder pain but not 100%. Pelvic pain on right side has calmed down but not gone. Back pain is better but not 100%. I'm taking supplements that are suggested on here for about 3 1/2 weeks. Not sure if its them helping me or the bladder starting to heal. I firmly believe that my reaction to Macrobid caused this. Some people can tolerate Macrobid and others cannot. I looked up some reviews on this medication and some are scary. Hope you feel better soon!

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      Sherry Hewins 8 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Maria, I would say three months is quite common, and not really a long time when it comes to this condition. The bladder is slow to heal. I know it's a long time to you, when your are going through it.

      You say you are managing the frequency and urgency. That would be progress for a lot of people. Are you practicing relaxing the pelvic floor muscles? That is really important.

      I had symptoms that came and went for a long time, and I didn't worry too much about them until they got really bad and didn't go away.

      I went to the doctor, and he just assumed it was a bladder infection and gave me antibiotics without testing.

      I came back a few weeks later, having finished the antibiotics, but the symptoms were no better. At that time, he did a urinalysis and said there were no bacteria. So, I don't really know if I had an infection either. I'd had them in the past, and that's common in people who have these symptoms. Repeated infections weaken the lining of the bladder.

      Have you been to the doctor about this? There are medicines you can take to help with the symptoms. Some people have good results from antihistamines or antidepressants. Sometimes physical therapy is recommended. If you haven't seen a urologist yet, perhaps you should.

      Here is some further reading for you.

      https://www.ichelp.org/diagnosis-treatment/treatme...

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      Maria 8 months ago

      Just checking in again. Its been nearly 3 months since my initial flare-up which might or might not have been caused by a UTI. (I never left a urine sample and just self-treated with Macrobid which was a big mistake since now I dont know why this whole bladder problem started. Could have been a UTI, or there could have been no bacteria and just a bad reaction to Macrobid. I'll never know since I never left a sample!). Anyway, right now I"m learning to manage the frequency and urgency symptoms but they are still there even after going on a strict diet of mainly veggies, brown rice, chicken no fruit and just water to drink for the last 3 months. I'll have a few days where my symptoms recede, but the urgency seems to return often for no reason I can see (meaning I havent added a new food or supplement and still experiencing irritation/flares). So now its just a waiting game and I wonder if I am truly on the road to healing or not. Sherry --does this sound within the 'normal' realm of healing in your experience? I just feel like nearly 3 months is a long time and I should be seeing more progress at this point. Also, was wondering how your bladder symptoms started to begin with-- did you actually have a UTI starting out or did the irritation come out of nowhere? ( From your story it sounds like you never had a UTI but just wanted to clarify, since my bladder irritation seems to have come out of nowhere as well)

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      Katie 8 months ago

      Yes,i am experiencing the same thing residual imflammation after uti for almost a month now

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Melisa Are you having pelvic pain? My pelvic pain is mild but kind of a pinching feeling. It seems all these symptoms are the same. Hopefully its just time that will heal us!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Thank You Sherry and Melisa.. My Hip pain and Back pain is the worse of all this.

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      Sherry Hewins 8 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Lu-T - It is definitely a gradual process.

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Sorry for more questions.. Do the symptoms go gradually or all at once? Do you start to feel better even though symptoms are still there? Thanks for any feedback!

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      Melisa 8 months ago

      Yes!! Lu-T! I have incredible hip pain!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Does anyone have hip pain or side pain? Has anyone had any success with doctors? Thanks

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Melisa Glad your feeling better.. hopefully you will be completely well soon!

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      Melisa 8 months ago

      Hi Lu-T,

      I'm doing pretty good, as far as pain goes. The antihistamine prescribed to me helped greatly, and I'm continuing with the tips Sherry suggested. The AZO bladder pain OTC med definitely helps with the urgency! I'm still kind of annoyed that the urologist was so quick to call it IC.. they don't seem familiar with bladder irritation after an infection. I'm only 24, so I'm hoping this irritation goes away.. I'm frustrated with my doctor but I'm happy I'm feeling a little better!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      I was curious if anyone ever used a Tens Machine to help with their pain?

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      Melisa.. How are you doing? I am in the same situation. Diagnosed with an infection from the middle of August. Pain hasn't gone away. Still have back and pelvic pain. I am keeping an acid free diet and on bladder supplements similar to what's suggested on here. In my opinion it seems to be a waiting game and hopefully it will happen. I wish you well and good health! Louise

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      Melisa 8 months ago

      Hi all, just wanted you update everyone on my experience. I had an appointment with a urologist on Tuesday. She was very caring and actually very knowledgeable but seemed to think I was a textbook case of IC.. I asked if my bac infection back in May could've caused it, or if it could be residual inflammation and she said maybe but basically said this is IC.. which frustrated me.. she did prescribe me an antihistamine called atatrix and I felt relief immediately. I also started taking azo bladder pain relief and that also helps.. I'm very torn.. while I'm glad the meds help, I'm also bummed the urologist was so fast to diagnose me with IC..

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      cw/me Thanks again! It seems things are starting to calm down for me. Still having some soreness and mild back pain. But nothing like I started out with. I'm watching my diet and taking d'mannose and bladder q (which has a lot of what is suggested on this site in it) I'm actually sleeping better also, which I did not do for awhile. Like you this all started out with taking Macrobid and having a bad reaction to it. Your help is very much appreciated!

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      cw/me 8 months ago

      Yes Lu-T, back pain is very normal with bladder inflammation because the same nerves that bring pain sensation to your bladder also affect the spine. I have bad back issues in the first place, and once I was well enough after the UTI that initially damaged my bladder, I went to a spine surgeon who confirmed the reason I was in more pain was probably from the bladder inflammation as there is a connection in the nerve pathways. I also saw a urogynocologist, not a urologist. The urogynocologist was frankly not helpful, nor was my primary physician. I was stunned at how little experience either of them had with lingering bladder inflammation. I simply did my own exhaustive research and cured myself. I wouldn't suggest anyone else do this unless they at least first speak to a primary or specialist and rule out the less likely chances of a more serious condition. The urogyno merely tested my bladder capacity, assessed my pelvic floor muscles, which by the way she said were weak, and it is tense pelvic floor muscles that can often contribute to the problem of bladder pain. She gave me a script to see a physical therapist which I didn't use as I thought it had nothing whatsoever to do with my problem. I recommend you continue to get routine urine cultures about once a month as long as you continue to have symptoms. Sometimes it is impossible to distinguish between an infection and irritation, and if an infection exists, that should be treated right away. But antibiotics may do worse damage, so I would suggest first consulting a doctor as I did to let them know if antibiotics is worsening symptoms, then discontinue them and begin several doses of d-mannose and a gallon of water a day when experiencing a flareup. The body has an amazing capacity to heal itself, though when it comes to bladders, it can take a fairly long time, so hang in there!

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      Lu-T 8 months ago

      cw/me Thank you so much for your advise...this has been going on for 6 weeks now.. Lately its a little better. I am taking d mannose also. And just started on Bladder Q.The macrobid made me very sick while taking it. I am also having some back pain with all this. I was wondering if you experienced any other symptoms while going through this. Did you see a urologist? I'm not ready to go that route yet. Thanks Again!

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      cw/me 8 months ago

      Lu-T- yes it is Very possible that Macrobid inflamed your bladder and is causing you more pain. This has been my experience twice with two different UTIs and it is no coincidence because each time after two or three days on it, severe bladder pain worse than the UTI started to kick in. The second time, I took only 3 doses, told my dr. it inflamed my bladder and I then stuck to d-mannose powder, taking 1 tsp twice a day for a couple weeks as well as Natrol glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM complex. The 2nd time I was in pain about a week or two, but the first incident I suffered for eight or nine months. Everyone is going to be different. Give the supplements a couple of months. I now only take glucosamine about 1x a day. I personally believe the d-mannose supplement I use has given great relief. I take it whenever I feel a tingly feeling that is an alert sign of bladder irritation, as well as 1 tsp a day as a maintenance dose. Bladders take a while to heal and I hardly ever feel bothered anymore, but it flares up slightly on occasion, and I've yet to try spicy foods after 15 months from the first UTI that caused the inflammation. Good luck, and get well soon!

    • profile image

      Lu-T 9 months ago

      Hi Can someone tell me what Brand of Glucosamine Chondroitin their using and How many milligrams.? And if you have had any success. Thank You!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 9 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Lu-T - It is common to have some lingering irritation after an infection. That usually resolves on its own, but you can help the process by not eating irritating foods,

    • profile image

      Lu-T 9 months ago

      Thank You for your advice. I had a bladder infection 6 weeks ago and was put om Macrobid ,I was only able to finish 5 full days of the medication because I got very sick from it. The doctor said 5 days should be enough and I no longer have an infection. But I still have pain in the bladder area and pelvic and lower back area. Could this medication have caused my bladder inflammation? Can antibiotics damage the bladder? Will my bladder heal eventually?

    • profile image

      Sarah 9 months ago

      Hi beachk1,

      If you are still checking this site--the next time I peed I tested my urine again and the level of leukocytes had gone way down, so I didn't end up contacting the doctor about it. I kept testing and the level of leukocytes would fluctuate somewhat with my diet so I figured it was just weird lingering irritation.

      I did end up talking with my OB/GYN about the ongoing problem (I don't have any pain! Just sliiight constant urgency) when I was in for a checkup, and she just told me that I should come back to the doctor if it started to negatively affect my life but wasn't very concerned...

      At this point it's been about 5 months of this mild urgency for me. I'm not perfect with the diet but do my best to stick to mild foods and water and I think it's getting better, but it still fluctuates a bit. In fact I thought I might be almost better since it's been so mild over the past few days but tonight it feels worse again. I agree that trying not to tense your muscles makes a huge difference! Anyway, I really miss coffee. Best of luck to you and everyone else going through this.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
      Author

      Sherry Hewins 9 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Wow Liz, I'm glad you went to the doctor. Did he say you had a bladder infection? I've never heard of such bad bleeding from that. Did he do a vaginal exam? Do you have a primary care doctor? Stay on top of this one.

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