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Bladder Spasm and UTI Symptoms Not Caused by Bacteria: What Worked for Me

Updated on July 14, 2017
Sherry Hewins profile image

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

Woman in pain
Woman in pain | Source

I Have to Pee all the Time, But I Don't Have an Infection

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 such as 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.

Bladder Spasm

The urologist I went to called my problem "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.

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.

The Symptoms of Bladder Spasm

The most common symptoms of bladder spasm are:

  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Urethral burning
  • Pelvic pain

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, 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 at 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.

Bladder First Aid

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

  • 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 10 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.
  • Take a Hot Bath - I found a 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.
  • Don't Strain When You Urinate - You've probably been straining to empty every drop when you urinate; try not to do that, it's making things worse. The muscles in that area are all tense, and the nerves are overstimulated. You need to calm them down

Baking Soda
Baking Soda

Stop Drinking Cranberry Juice!

Do not drink cranberry juice or other fruit juice! it 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 Acidic Food and Drink

  • Immediately stop consuming all carbonated drinks, alcohol and coffee.
  • Do not eat any chocolate.
  • Drink plenty of plain water, but do not force yourself to drink gallons. Simply drink a glass whenever you think about it.

I give a more comprehensive list of "trigger foods" toward the end of this article.

What To Avoid: 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 Can Have

I used to 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 other options are Marshmallow Root, Chamomile or Catnip tea. 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.

Source

What's Wrong with Me? Could It Be Interstitial Cystitis?

The answer to that question is maybe, but maybe not.

If you are researching these symptoms on the Internet, or talking to your doctor, you may have heard of interstitial cystitis (IC). It is a chronic inflammation of the lining of the bladder.

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 and no other cause can be found for it, then it may be interstitial cystitis.

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.

IC is a chronic condition. Just because you have urinary symptoms without bacteria does not mean that you have IC. It is a possibility, but many people, especially women, have these symptoms yet they recover completely.

Seeing 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 he will want to do is a cystoscopy, for 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 away. 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 interstitial cystitis forums I found online, 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, 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. Here, I've tried to condense the information that helped me 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 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 below 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 it 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?"

Common Food Triggers

Spicy foods are one of the triggers that may cause your symptoms to worsen.
Spicy foods are one of the triggers that may cause your symptoms to worsen.

Foods to Avoid for Bladder Spasm or IC

  • 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

What to Eat

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

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 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 this helps prevent vulvodynia, an associated condition which 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, Chondroitin 200 mg, just because it doesn'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.

This Is Based on My Personal Experience

I am not a medical professional. I only want to share 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 to me, there are many things that can cause the same symptoms, and the cause of bladder pain can be hard to diagnose. What worked for me may not work for you. If it doesn't, don't give up; keep trying until you find something that does.

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.

Some Seasonal Advice

It is December 21 when I am writing this, and I am seeing a spike in visits to this page. That is making me recall the time when I had my very worst flair. It was Christmas time, and the office I work at was full of tasty treats. I love chocolate, and I was not able to resist the lure. If you are suffering right now, and you are eating a lot of chocolate, please stop!

I know it's hard, but nothing is worth that kind of suffering. Give yourself a gift for Christmas. The gift of healing!

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 20 hours ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Michelle - Having pelvic surgery is traumatic. I think it is not uncommon to have bladder symptoms in the aftermath. Women who have tubal ligation or hysterectomy will often have such symptoms also. It is possible that your bladder was "nicked" during the procedure. Usually, that will go away as you heal.

      I know it's hard to tolerate right now, and all you can think of is how to make it feel better fast. I wish there was a magic pill I could give you to make it all better.

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      Michelle Kukkuk 25 hours ago

      Hi Sherry ,

      I just stumble upon your page after nights of searching want can be wrong.

      I had a laparoscopy to remove a cysct 2 weeks ago and ever since my operation my bladder is in trauma! The pain is excatly what you say and its like stabbing knifes that goes into my bladder. And its not a UTI ive been to the doctor and he confirmed not UTI and maybe its a bladder spasm and i must drink Uripas.. and that so does not work! Thank you for insight and help!! I will defenitly start with everything! I just hope this will go away soon.. people talking about months and im at week 2 and feel like im dying.. i had no problem before operation with my bladder had 1 UTI when i was in school thats it! Im 33 now! And after opertion its like this! Feel that the gynae made a mess with me!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 2 days ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Carolina

      Yes, I'm sorry but Vitamin C is very irritating. Be sure to read your labels.

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      Carolina 4 days ago

      Thanks Sherry, that makes sense. I bought the supplements you used last night and am introducing them day by day. I did notice the glucosamine chondritin I bought contains vitamin C... should I stay away from that? Thank you so much for your help!

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

      Carolina, I think that is a common thing for the symptoms to come and go. If your bladder is already irritated it reacts more readily to foods. If your bladder is healthy, it can handle any food. Also, food is not the only factor. Tense muscles and overstimulated nerves also play a part.

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      Carolina 4 days ago

      Also, has anyone tried Accupuncture? I read in some place so that it was helpful in healing the bladder

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      Carolina 4 days ago

      Thank you so much for this article! It has truly given me hope! I tested positive for a bacteria called Ureaplasma U. back in May, which is a controversial and tricky bacteria. It basically causes the symptoms of a UTI and the bacteria lives and grows in the bladder/urinary tract. After two rounds of antibiotics, I cleared the bacteria but my symptoms were still present. I was convinced that it was still there, but my doctor did every test imaginable and nope all clear. She never mentioned that irritation after an infection was a thing! I scheduled an appointment to see the urologist in a few weeks but in the meantime I will try you're suggestions. The most frustrating part of all this is that my symptom starts come and go. Two weeks symptom free, and then it will come back. I was eating the same during the time the symptoms were gone so I and curious as to why, but I definitely know that coffee and win every irritates my bladder like no other. Did anyone else have relief for a few weeks and then symptoms return? It's like I can tell that my bladder is irritated, I don't know how to explain it.

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      Sherry Hewins 5 days ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Ashley - I have had a couple of flares since I wrote this article, but none as bad as what I had before. It has been a couple of years since I had any flares at all, and I eat whatever I want. So, I consider myself completely well.

      When I was having my major problems I was going through menopause, so perhaps there is a hormonal component to it. People often ask how long it took to get better, and I wish I had taken notes at the time instead of having to rely on my memory.

      As for adding things back, I would start out adding one new food a week at the beginning. Better to start out cautiously. Once you've added a few items without having setbacks, you could increase to every three days.

      Here's a pretty good list of foods, I would start out eating only from the "safe" list, and cautiously adding things from the "try it" list. http://www.ic-diet.com/pdf/What-Can-I-Eat.pdf

      Once you feel like you're well on your way to recovery, you could relax a little about the artificial flavors and preservatives. I like to keep them to a minimum anyway.

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      Ashley 7 days ago

      Hi sherry, I've looked at this page multiple times over the last year and a half or so. I've had these episodes as you've had but they would go away after 4 weeks or so without me doing anything. But then pop up again. I recently went to a urogynecologst who found inflammation in my bladder but she hesitated to call it IC. I'm now trying to do the diet to see what bothers it, if anything. I'm wondering if your flares ever returned? I'm only 29 and worried this will be a lifelong issue. Also, how did you reintroduce foods, especially ones like preservatives or artificial flavors. Did you use the three day approach to introduce those foods back in? Thanks so much, this page has been so informative and comforting and gives me a little hope that maybe this won't be a lifelong thing for me. I've had it off and on the last yeR and a half or so and been pregnant and had a child during that time.

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      Erika Keamy 8 days ago

      As a past UTI sufferer, I just wanted to share a helpful treatment option for UTIs I just learned about that apparently has been used in Europe, and came onto the Canadian market in 2015. It's called Preferred Nutrition UTI Drops. It is an all natural alternative to antibiotics and is very effective, perhaps even more effective than D-Mannose, as it acts as an antiseptic to bacteria. Hope it gives to relief to those of you suffering..

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      Sarah 8 days ago

      Hi again, 8 weeks ago I posted that I was going on the low acid diet after a month of slight but persistent urgency and frequency symptoms that started after contracting 2 UTIs in a row this spring. While changing my diet did seem like it was helping for the first few weeks and my symptoms became very mild, I fell off the diet wagon while doing a ton of traveling this past month and the symptoms came back fullll force (no pain, just the mild constant urgency), so even though I was taking Prelief before eating and drinking all the time, it didn't seem to work. I've been taking glucosamine, calcium citrate and probiotics for about a month and recently started taking d-mannose pills and corn silk as well (obviously I'm pretty much trying anything and hoping something works at this point haha). I got at-home UTI test strips that show I've got a lot of leukocytes (but no nitrites) so I'll be contacting my doctor again tomorrow to ask whether that could mean I have some type of infection again, even though she figured the symptoms were just lingering irritation before... ugh. Anyway, just wanted to reiterate your point about changing your diet back to normal too soon being a big mistake :( even with the Prelief pills. I think I've definitely set myself back, although I'm still not sure exactly how long I should stick to the diet for. Thanks again for all the insight, hoping to be better soon now that I'm back on track with the diet. Best of luck to everyone else currently on this road trying to figure out which foods are okay!

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      Sherry Hewins 9 days ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      No worries Maria. I hope you're feeling better.

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      MARIA 10 days ago

      sorry, Sherry, I mispelled your name in that last post. :)

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      Maria 11 days ago

      cw/me -- Thank you for your helpful advice. I have eliminated peanut butter so now I'm down to very few foods I can eat ( I tried green peas yesterday but that caused me to flare), so Im just going to make sure I get plenty of protein and slowly introduce other foods over the next few weeks. My diet now includes chicken, eggs and whole wheat sprouted bread and brown rice. Sheri and others have recommended veggies as well but I'm a little scared to try them at the moment due to the flare up after the plain green peas last night. I have also started 400 mg of Tagamet once a day which my urogynecologist wants me to try for a month. She says it works in 40% of patients with bladder issues. I'm not really a fan of medication so I'm in two minds about this, but I guess Ill try and see if it goes well. Anyone else tried it?

      Incidentally I'm also taking 2 tsp per day of D-Manose plus the other supplements Sheri has listed above.

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      Maria 12 days ago

      Thanks for the advice Sheri. Ive started to vary my diet a bit more. The peanut butter may have actually been irritating me, who knows? Anyway I had another question for you. I know you said you suffered for months because you didnt give up some acidic things right away like coffee, etc. But once you DID start eating the right foods, how long did it take you to recover? (I ask because I personally have eliminated all acidic/trigger foods a couple weeks ago and still don't feel anywhere near normal with flares that still happen every other day or so for some unknown reason. Its only been a few weeks but I need to start seeing a light at the end of this tunnel so hearing how long it took you to feel good again would really help). Thank you again.

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      cw/me 2 weeks ago

      Maria, the concept of "less irritating foods" should not be dictated by our assumptions, but rather, the reactions from our bladder. Foods that are absolutely harmless for one person may create tremendous pain and suffering in another.

      I discovered that nuts of any kind can create a burning effect in the bladder which might be obvious immediately or take a few weeks to accumulate in the bladder lining before causing trouble. For the time being, I suggest eliminating peanut and other nut butters and see how you are doing in 1-2 weeks. If feeling better, try going back on miniscule amounts such as a 1tsp once a day for several weeks, and gradually increase from there. Don't add any other food, supplement, drug or beverage during this testing phase to better pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.

      I recently learned that my last UTI, which luckily was very small, cleared after about 4 doses of Macrobid, and then I was forced to quit due to dramatic increase in urethral burning. As soon as I quit I began taking d-mannose powder in a dose of 1sp twice a day, which I am taking am and pm. So far I am doing much better than I was, but as I learned I have high cortisol levels, which can by a process of a chain reaction eventually make one susceptible to infections like this, I needed to get rid of all forms of sugar and NutraSweet and switch to Stevia. Unfortunately, even its absolutely purest form in tiny amounts it causes bladder discomfort. I wanted to bring this up because even things that sound absolutely harmless in the smallest doses may still be substances your bladder hates.

      You should treat every food you ingest as a sort of a science experiment and it soon will get a lot easier to determine which food, supplements and beverages agree with you and which do not. I strongly disagree with advice I've seen on IC sites that say if you do okay with a food one day, try increasing amounts the following. Wrong! That can spell trouble for your body because certain chemicals may cause a reaction in your bladder right away, and others could take days or weeks to build up. So you want to always take the least amount of a food that you can and see how you react after 1 or 2 weeks, and slowly increase from there. I hope this is somewhat helpful. It is a very long and tedious process but ultimately worth the effort. Best of luck to you getting through this as painlessly as possible.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image
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      Sherry Hewins 2 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Maria, two weeks is a short time for these symptoms. I know it doesn't seem that way to you though. Repeat bladder infections can weaken the lining of your bladder, making it harder to heal. I would recommend eating a more varied diet including rice, vegetables, meats, dairy, and less bread and peanut butter. Not that I think the bread and peanut butter are necessarily to blame, but you really shouldn't rely too much on eating the same foods all of the time.

      Bladder symptoms like the ones you are experiencing often seem to surface without any obvious reason. I hope you are feeling better soon.

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      MARIA 2 weeks ago

      I followed all your great tips last october when i had a UTI and then subsequent bladder irritation which went away after I started eating non-irritating foods. Now 2 weeks ago I started having the same symptoms and have altered my diet back to the bland IC friendly diet and its not going away this time. The only thing I can think that may be bothering my bladder is maybe the bread im eating since its what i eat teh most of. Its the Eureka 'Saa-Wheat' variety. Ive been eating about 5 slices a day since I started feeling bladder symptoms so maybe that's the culprit. Today Im switching to Ezekial sprouted whole wheat to see if that helps. I mean I cant think of anything else thats causing this flare-up since Ive only been eating scrambled eggs, and peanut butter sandwiches and plain chicken breast. Im just baffled as to why my symptoms are not resolving as quickly as they did last time. ugh, so so uncomfortable and frustraing.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Christine07 - Decaffeinated coffee is no better than the regular stuff. There are some low-acid coffees that you might want to try, but I would recommend waiting until you are feeling better, and even then proceed with caution. I know it's hard, coffee was the hardest thing for me to give up.

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      Christine07 3 weeks ago

      I've been following this thread for a couple of weeks now. It is a great relief to read my exact symptoms from other women. As I sit here now I am fighting the urge to go back to the toilet again, at least until my bladder is actually full! My original UTI was all the way back in December 2016, and I got over that, but then the annoying symptoms started. A shooting pain in the urethra after urinating, sometimes like a needle, other times an intense kind of itch. The feeling of fullness in the bladder when sitting that seems to reduce when standing up. Feeling ok when going to bed, but as soon as I lie down, feeling that I've got to go again. I find alkalising sachets (Ural) help and I'm always taking Ethical Nutrients UT support tablets ( these are Australian brands). I read about D- mannose and have just started taking that so hoping it may help. Couldn't find it in stores here so ordered from USA. I also purchased probiotics and UVA Ursi, but haven't tried the latter yet as I'm a bit concerned about possible side effects.

      I'm post-menopausal and have had two UTIs in the last 5 years. Both times they were accompanied by menstrual symptoms, although there was no actual period, so seems to have been a last hoorah from my ovaries! (I hope it's the last anyway). The previous UTI gave me the same symptoms, but not quite so painful and not for so long. I've been strict on my diet for the last couple of weeks to see if that helps. No black tea, no coffee and no chocolate, fruit or yoghurt. It hasn't been too bad actually. I rarely drink so that was no problem. I'm wondering whether it's okay to have an occasional decaffeinated coffee or is that still a no-no?

      Anyway, I'm hanging in there, I shed the occasional tears, then try to relax my way out of it. I work with high school students in classrooms, so have to put on a brave face and get on with it. (Jumbo pads help here - can't keep dashing to the loo every half hour!) I keep telling myself it WILL get better - it did before, so it will again. As Dolly Parton sang, "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..."

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Sally, I do drink on occasion. Mostly beer. I waited a long time though. I wouldn't recommend introducing that right away. I think the biggest mistake most people make is trying to go back to their regular diet too soon. It sounds like you are doing well, don't be too impatient.

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      Shelby 4 weeks ago

      Sherry, yes I was semi relieved but also kinda bummed because I really want an answer. But I think I'm starting to realize there is no easy answer here. He did refill my Toviaz and so far today I am doing well, however I am still having vaginal burning which feels different from the urethral burning, I think it's from the Toviaz because it drys you out (dry mouth, constipation etc). I'm just hoping I can get this under control so it doesn't develop into a chronic problem, as I am just 26 and forever with this seems unfathomable. I really appreciate all of your support and responses!

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      Sally 4 weeks ago

      Hi, I was wondering if you were able to drink alcohol and how long it took you until you were able to. I have done this diet and received very good results. How long should I wait until I introduce alchol? I had a bad uti, followed by these symtoms. And I was wondering how long you thought it would be until i could eat a normal diet. If I stick to the diet I have no symptoms at all, but if I have too much acid I get this pressure on my bladder. No urgency anymore but I used to get some

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jollene Bea - When I first started experiencing these symptoms, I didn't relate it to what I was eating. Even after I learned about the low acid diet, I was resistant to changing my eating habits. It's hard, and not fun!

      I wanted a medical solution. I wanted a pill, or even surgery. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be an option. Yes bladder issues are difficult to diagnose and treat.

      I hope you find your solution.

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      Jollene Bea 4 weeks ago

      I actually had one day where I ate acidic foods to see if my symptoms would worsen and I felt fine so I guess I just assumed food and drinks dont affect my bladder issue. I will definitely try eliminating acid food and drinks. Im really hoping I recover, who knew bladder issues were so difficult to deal with :/ Thank you for the reply

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jollene Bea- I'm wondering how you have determined that food and drinks are not a factor. Have you tried eliminating acidic food and drink? Results are not usually immediate.

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      Jollene Bea 4 weeks ago

      Hey, Ive been suffering for 6 months and cannot see a urologist for another few months. My bladder issues are essentially as follows:

      Dysuria during period

      urethral burning

      urinary ugency

      inconsistent pressure on bladder

      and hesitancy

      I was feeling better the last few days but then I noticed my urine was cloudy (Its not anymore) so I got a little scared and my symptoms seem to be back to how they were before. Do you think the chances of me having IC are high? I just wanted to get some input since It will be a while before I can see a specialist. Thank you. Also food and drinks actually dont seem to worsen my symptoms

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Shelby- I'm glad to hear that your doctor is supportive of dietary changes. I bet you are kind of relieved that he didn't want to do the scope, huh?

      I did OK with Cheerios, Special K and Rice Chex. For hot cereal, Malt-0-meal, cream of wheat, some people have a problem with oatmeal, I did not.

      Here is a good site to check out that may give you some food tips.

      http://www.ic-diet.com/IC-diet-food-list.html

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      Shelby 4 weeks ago

      Hi everyone, I thought I would give an update. The doctor decide do not to scope me today as he wants me to try diet first. He says if in 3-4 weeks it's not better he will do the cystoscopy. He also gave me Toviaz to help in the meantime. I'm writing to see if you guys have any recommendations on safe cereals to eat? Everything I'm reading says most are safe as longn as they don't have the "bad ingredients" but they don't state what they are. Any help would be appreciated. As I stated before I have been in pain for a month now and I just am really hoping for some relief! Thank!

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Shelby - Chocolate is at the top of my list of things you should avoid. That and coffee are my worst offenders. Those bars probably have nuts and other thing in them you may be sensitive to also. The first things to suspect are the things you eat every day. That's what you were eating when you started having these problems.

      You can't casually follow the IC diet and expect results, you need to get serious about it. Once you get better you will be able to add those foods back again gradually.

      I now drink coffee and eat chocolate occasionally, and in small amounts. It is not as appealing to me now that I know how much it hurt me.

      You should be eating mostly pretty bland foods, meat vegetables and grains. You might try taking Prelief before meals.

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      Shelby 4 weeks ago

      Sherry, thank you! I have tried the baking soda and did not notice any relief. I do get relief when I soak in a hot bath but it's right back within an hour. I have not made any major changes with my food (mostly because I have been an a cruise and had to eat what was available) but I have cut out sodas and don't drink alcohol. I guess I will try to make more food changes now to see if it helps. I will try to use your post as a reference. I have tried to stay away from spicy foods though. Also I eat protein bars regularly because my job doesn't give me much time to eat as I'm always on the go. The only flavor I like is chocolate. It is mostly protein but do you think I should cut those too? Thanks again for your help

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Shelby, I'm so sorry. Don't get too discouraged about the cystoscopy. Maybe they can help you. As I've said before, people who get better often don't come back to tell their story. Have you tried any of the dietary changes? If the Toviaz gives you symptomatic relief, maybe you can get a refill, and change your eating while you are on it, so you don't have to suffer while your bladder starts healing. A month with these symptoms is really short-term. I know it's not much comfort now, but odds are good that you will recover completely.

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      Shelby 4 weeks ago

      Hi all, I have too been suffering for almost a month now and am hoping for some advice. All of a sudden about a month ago I was having som burning and urgency immediately thought I had a uti and went to the urgent care. They gave me an antibiotic and after 5 days still wasn't better. They gave me another antibiotic and that didn't work either. I went back and had an ultrasound on my bladder which showed nothing and saw a urologist who said (without any examination) that he thought it was urethritis and gave me Toviaz to help reduce the urgency because I was going on a cruise and miserable. After I ran out of Toviaz all symptoms returned (and didn't completely go away while on it). I am so miserable and at the point of tears most of the day just from the frustration. I know my husband is suffering as well. I am scheduled to have a cystoscopy tomorrow but I am a little discouraged after reading these posts that most of you have been through the same thing and have no answers. I'm just not sure what to do anymore.

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      cw/me 4 weeks ago

      Kim and all, I know that anti-depressants have been prescribed as a means of bladder pain relief. No one knows how that works but apparently some people have been successful with it. It is a matter of trial and error. I didn't want to go that route, but I had been on .50mg of Xanax a day for anxiety, and after a short trial and error period, realized that it stops the abdominal pain of a bladder spasm before it proceeds on to the urethral burning stage, which is the course it usually follows for me. When I get the urethral burning, which is modest now compared to what it was after my first UTI recovery, the Xanax can stop it within an hour or so and give me lasting relief. So that could be an option for you to look into. But remember that everyone reacts differently and it is a process trying to figure out what is going to work for you. Also very important, you must remember that foods that are on any so-called "good list" may be foods that your bladder rejects. I'd always thought getting rid of caffeine, acidic foods and never drinking alcohol meant healing from the long lasting inflammation after a damaging UTI would be a breeze. Wrong. After some extensive research I learned certain amino acid combinations present in foods that otherwise seem harmless can actually adhere to the bladder lining and ultimately break down to a corrosive acid that causes the pain. Some of my favorites were on that list - bananas, nuts, yogurt, and other foods one might never suspect as culprits in causing bladder pain. I am pleased to report that since my latest brief round of Macrobid, which I needed to get off of after only four doses thanks to the insufferable burning pain it caused, has begun to clear much faster than the first bout of severe inflammation it caused that lead to eight months of excruciating pain and the inability to eat a wide variety of foods. Now, only about one week after ending the Macrobid, I am doing okay with coffee, a little yogurt, and pretty much all of the other foods I admitted back into my diet after the initial 9 months of deprivation with the first UTI. The only thing I've been seriously wounded by has been aspartame, also on the list of trigger foods with nuts and bananas because it's comprised of certain amino acids that break down to a substance that is corrosive to the bladder lining. The safest foods for me so far - and I need a lot more protein due to the skin damage I suffered from 8 months of eating hardly anything - are white meat fresh caught albacore tuna, organic turkey breast with zero additives, 2% large curd cottage cheese, most varieties of sliced cheese that are real and not proceed with a bunch of additives - anything else I couldn't handle because of the acidity which also aggravated gastritis issues. I stick with veggies like spinach and legumes such as chick peas (but not lentils yet), steamed veggies, especially cauliflower, yellow squash, red, yellow and orange bell peppers ( avoid green), brown rice, whole grain breads and waffles without additives or soy products, and yogurt that does not contain citric acid. I now drink about 1/2 gallon of water a day, down from one gallon, which is enough to flush out my system, along with a tsp of d-mannose powder twice a day. That d-manose seems to comfort my bladder more than anything I've tried so far. It is intended to prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder lining, without the need to drink acidic cranberry juice to obtain the benefits. Even if you do not have or never had a UTI, this may prove a good preventative measure and certainly is harmless to try. I also take glucosamine and chondroitin 2x a day. My dr. was clueless when I called him in horrible pain after the fourth dose of Macrobid and asked ME how I would treat it, and I gave him my outline as above. He should pay me! LOL.

      Yes, it is true that the bladder and colon appear to "communicate" with each other, so when one is suffering it triggers the other. IBS commonly flares up when the bladder pain peaks.

      Anyway, keep plugging away to figure out what works for you. I think bladders are generally resilient despite the fact that they can take ages to heal. Months to perhaps three years, according to one Harvard study I read. The average doctor is terribly uninformed, and even the urogynocologist I went to was of little use. So I ended up finding effective treatments on my own. Good luck to you and remember that IC is considered rather uncommon, and even those with it will eventually enter remission at a rate of about 50%. Learn everything that you can and read what has helped other sufferers in online forums like these, but take these as guidelines only, because your bladder alone knows what is best for you.

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      Sherry Hewins 4 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Lynn - Thanks so much for coming to offer your advice to Kim. I know that many who have visited this page have had that exact experience that she described. If only medical science could come up with a good solution for us. Until that happens, I guess the best we can do is learn from trial and error, and share what works for us with others.

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      Lynne 5 weeks ago

      Just read Kim's story and my heart is breaking for her. I know some of how she is feeling as I'm going through this as well right now too. Just want to offer two suggestions that seem to work for me. An herb called Cornsilk has been amazing at relaxing the spasming and urgency that I get. Also, I see a naturopath who tried a new treatment using ozone to help calm the irritation in the urethra and bladder. The jury is still out on this one. We tried it yesterday and things are much better today, so I'm hopeful. The other thing that seemed to help is a reflexology technique performed by the chiropractor I was seeing a few years ago. He simply pressed on three key spots along my spinal chord to trigger/stimulate the nerve pathways. He explained that the nerve pathways are like garden hoses and sometimes they get squeezed and they don't work as well - that is my very layman's version of what he said. It seemed to help but I'm thinking now, it's something that needs a reboot once in awhile, as my symptoms have started to flare up worse than they've been for years now. Good luck and I hope you find relief soon. L

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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Kim, I know how miserable and frustrated you feel; it is very hard to bear. Definitely do call the urologist; what have you got to lose? Have you tried a cold compress against your urethra? That can give some temporary relief and might help you calm down and rest. I'm sorry there's not more I can do to help you. I am praying that you will feel better very soon.

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      Kim 5 weeks ago

      Hi - I wrote 4 weeks ago and here I am again....still not better. In fact, it's worse now. Eliminating the "bad" foods, taking the baking soda & hot baths did seem to help as the urgency was lessening. Maybe I began eating some of the bad foods too soon. Or maybe it was using the ab crunch machines at the gym (read online that this also can irriate a sensitive bladder), but the urgency got really bad again last week & 2 nights ago awoke with urethra pain. The pain came intermittently, several seconds apart, but by morning it was non-stop. With it was horrible urgency to the point I put on a pad cuz it feels like I'll wet myself. Was a basket case at work by the afternoon - thankfully my only co-worker is on vacation this week, so I'm alone in the office. Got very teary and my anxiety kicked in high gear. Found some prescrip strength urinary pain relievers doc gave me a couple of years ago in the cupboard (akin to AZO) and took 2. It helped greatly. Felt okay yesterday until the pills wore off. Took another 2 last night, but the effect didn't last nearly as long as the first time. Pain/urgency very bad again this morning-took another 2 pills. Am so ready to call the urologist at this point, though I loathe having to go, but at my wits end with this. Feel like I have no life cuz I must be near a bathroom at all times and the urgency/leaking are so very bad. The stress of this is causing my IBS to flare up. Which in turn is probably not helping the bladder/urethra issue. Read other forums where these 2 things can be related as the nerve endings in there are all connected. Don't understand why all of a sudden the urethra pain started - didn't have this before and this whole bladder/urgency issue has been ongoing now since June 4th. I'm coming unglued and know that doesn't help, but can't control the anxiety - even the lexapro isn't helping right now. Been over an hour since I took the pain pills & they haven't kicked in at all this time. Typing this thru tears - locked the office door so no one comes in. Need to calm myself down, but it's so hard. How long can I endure this?

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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Naomi, Yes, absolutely you should tell a parent about this, and go to the doctor. Most likely, you have a UTI that can be treated with antibiotics. After that you will probably be fine.

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      Rachel 5 weeks ago

      Sherry, thank you for your kind words, and cw/me... thank you for your input! The thing is... I don't think that I even ever had a UTI since all my urine cultures have tested negatives..., but perhaps I had some minor irritation that was exacerbated by the nitrofurantoin, and maybe that irritation coincided with taking the azithromycin for my other problem. I've been off both antibiotics for almost two weeks now, though, and haven't seen any improvement in my symptoms. I'm seeing a urogynocologist tomorrow and will definitely bring up the possibility of a bad reaction to either the antibiotic or to stopping my birth control pill. Again, thanks so much...

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      Naomi 5 weeks ago

      I'm a 16 year old girl and yesterday I started to feel some of these symptoms. I've started to feel the urge to pee around every ten minutes and when I'm not peeing I just have this really uncomfortable feeling. However when I do pee I get this sort of spasm in my pelvis that is really painful for just a few seconds.

      I'm not quite sure what to do? Should I tell someone about this? Should I see my doctor? Is there anything I can just fix myself?

      Thank you x

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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Cece - when my urologist told me I had bladder spam, my only symptom was extreme frequency and urgency. Like I was going to the bathroom every ten minutes, and in between I could barely stand it.

      As you said though, it varied. If I was on a long car ride, I could hold it for a couple of hours. If I was busy and distracted I could too. Distraction is great, if you can find something to take your mind off of it.

      The urethra is very sensitive, I think the nerves just get really overstimulated. Yes, that can really drive you up the wall. Use an ice pack for that, it has somewhat of a numbing effect. That, and try to relax all those muscles around it. Everything around that area gets so tense and overstimulated.

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      Cece 5 weeks ago

      This is an amazing article, thank you so much for writing such comforting advice.

      I'm 28 and in April this year I got my first ever UTI. I had never once had an issue with my bladder before this. The bacteria was Enterococcus. Twice I was given antibiotics it wasn't sensitive to. Once the correct type but not for long enough, and a hellish week of Nitrofurantoin that it was sensitive to but just plain didn't work. Eventually a two week course of something else cleared the bacteria.

      Every few days I was phoning my GP, pleading for some relief. I genuinely thought I was going insane, I even phoned the Samaritans in a complete crisis. I last took antibiotics a month ago. 4/5 urine cultures all clear. Ultrasounds, scans, extensive blood work all clear too.

      I have been going out of my mind thinking that the infection hasn't actually cleared, or that I'm reinfected, have IC, other horrible things, you name it. I am still at my wits end but comforted by this.

      Why do doctors seem to discount the fact that severe inflammation after a UTI is possible - this one page is testament to it!

      I had been trying to follow the IC diet, but truth be told I have been a bit rubbish. I will make a real conscious effort to start tomorrow. Although I already don't drink coffee or alcohol, I do have one tea in the morning!

      I couldn't find this already asked - I am taking Cranberry supplements as advised by the GP to try to prevent another infection. Is this as irritating as the juice?

      Can anyone also explain bladder spasms to me please? From other things I have read, the bladder spasming seems to be the urge to need to go, but I seem to be getting spasms in my urethra, almost like electric shocks that go right through me. I have also had hellish pelvic and lower back pain through all of this. Frequency, urgency, and pain when my bladder is full.

      My frequency is very interchangeable. There was a day recently where I was busy and it had been 7 hours! Then days like today where (not so busy) and I need to go almost every hour/2 hours. I also feel worse in the morning and during the day, then evening and night time symptoms normally feel better. I'm not sure if that's because I become a bit more relaxed.

      Anyway, sorry for the essay, it feels good to get that all off my chest though :)

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      MSL 5 weeks ago

      Thank you for all the great information. I am currently struggling with a month of various antibiotics that have still yet to cure my UTI. Along the way I have managed to irritate my bladder and definitely have a sore pelvis. Very frustrating. I want to mention that I tried D-Mannose. The claims are wildly optimistic and it did not help me at all. Too bad. I am planning to try a little baking soda. At this point I am still hoping for an antibiotic that will work. Macrobid and Cipro barely kept it at bay but never cured me. By the way, I have yet to notice any direct correlations to any foods. Thanks again.

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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      cw/me Thanks for coming back to add your wisdom.

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      cw/me 5 weeks ago

      for Rachel - you may be reacting to Macrobid. In my case, after two UTI's, my illness followed the same trajectory. Infection went away but pain became extreme after staying on the antibiotic for one week last year. The pain lasted eight months and I still had not completely recovered from it when another UTI was diagnosed last week. I took the Macrobid four times, and after the fourth dose 2 days later, was in excruciating pain, knowing immediately the Macrobid was causing inflammation, NOT the UTI because after a couple of days on antiobiotic, your UTI symptoms typically get better, rather than worse. I called the dr. to say I was stopping Macrobid and he agreed, and I'm finally getting relief again. For people like me with sudden chronic bladder inflammation, antibiotics can absolutely cause more inflammation and make the pain worse. Unfortunately, all the dr's I've spoken to are absolutely clueless about inflammation of the bladder and patients are simply left to find their own solutions.

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      Sherry Hewins 5 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Rachel - I'm so sorry you are having these awful symptoms. You are in good company. You have read my best advice in the article. Use my first aid tips, and then look at your diet. What did you eat when you felt better? What did you eat when you felt worse. I'm sorry, but there is no magic bullet for this, and changing what you eat and drink is essential. If you need more input than this, read through the comments. Plenty here speak with the voice of experience.

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      Rachel 6 weeks ago

      Hi everyone, I am a 21 year old female experiencing some bad urinary tract and/or bladder symptoms. If anybody could provide some insight as to what may be causing my symptoms, I would be so grateful. I have been in awful discomfort and really want to obtain some relief...

      For the past year, I was dealing with monthly recurring oral lesions that I had seen countless doctors about. On May 28th, I decided to stop taking my birth control pill (Trinessa 28) to see if this had any effect on my problem. Finally, on May 31st, a test I had done came back positive for both Bartonella bacteria (a tick borne bacteria) and staph infection. My doctor put me on azithromycin 500mg daily for 30 days to treat me. Meanwhile, he also put me on 50,000 IU Vitamin D once a week as my blood work indicated I was quite Vitamin D deficient.

      On June 7, however, I started feeling symptoms of what I thought was a UTI. Frequency, burning in the urethra (but NOT during the actual urination), and a constant feeling of needing to go. I have had a few UTIs in the past and was sure I was experiencing one again. I saw my primary care physician on Friday, June 9th, and she prescribed me Macrobid twice daily for a week prior to obtaining my urine culture results, because she didn't want me to suffer through the weekend if it was a UTI. On Sunday, I actually had some pretty intense but brief pain in my right back and side under my ribcage which subsided. By Monday, my symptoms were worse and my doctor ordered an ultrasound to check for stones - but I couldn't get an appointment until that Friday. Monday night I was in such bad discomfort that I went to the ER. At the ER, I had a urine culture, kidney related blood work and CBC, bladder scan, kidney ultrasound, and pelvic exam. Everything came back normal, but I was treated for Diflucan for yeast 'just in case'. They took a vaginal culture too, which ended up coming back normal. They sent me home to follow up with a gynecologist and urologist.

      I saw my gynecologist that Wednesday, and she said my ovaries felt fine and my exam seemed normal with no sign of yeast. She also looked at my vaginal mucous under a microscope. She gave me 5 days worth of Uribel and sent me to a urologist.

      By Saturday night (June 17th), my symptoms seemed to spontaneously heal after a rough afternoon. I noticed afterwards that I was still waking up earlier than I normally would every morning to urinate, but this was certainly bearable. I still went to the urologist on the next Monday, and he sent me home and told me to return if my symptoms returned. I was so happy, until June 31st when the symptoms did return.

      I went back to my urologist and he ordered a CT scan stat, which I had done on July 7th, and came back negative for anything irregular, including stones. He says the next step is a cystoscopy.

      At this point I really want to figure out what's wrong. I've done a lot of research and have made a few hypotheses... could stopping the birth control pill have caused me to get interstitial cystitis (FYI; just for my period on July 5th since stopping the pill)? I've seen some posts online that indicate some people have maybe made this connection. I've also seen that Vitamin D toxicity can cause some of my symptoms, but I don't think I took enough to experience toxicity. Could this just be some sort of reaction to the azithromycin course?

      I've noticed that my symptoms are usually less severe in the morning and early afternoon, but by late afternoon/early evening I sometimes am urinating every 20 minutes. Later at night usually isn't as bad either. This second time around has been better in terms of waking up at night to go, but I still wake up 2 or 3 times a night (which is not a big deal at all compared to what I deal with during the day). If anyone had any insight, I would be so thankful...

      An overview of dates:

      STOPPED TRINESSA: May 28 - took for 3 years, no sexual activity since stopping

      AZITHROMYCIN: May 31-June 29

      VITAMIN D: May 31, June 8, 15, 22, and 29 - stopped for now

      SYMPTOMS: June 7-17 and June 31-present

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      Misar 6 weeks ago

      I suffered almost nonstop for 4 months this January after having a UTI that came back. I took a long antibiotic dose and it came back a week later and 3 antibiotics later I noticed the urethral discomfort. I blame and still blame the antibiotics messing up my gut, urinalysis from general, gyno and uro came clear. I did get a scan on my kidneys and they found a tiny stone. After messing with diet I have discovered that oxalate rich foods mess me up in a couple of hours. I have 100% gotten rid of chocolate which has made a world of difference. Large amounts of spinach and nuts will set me back too and unfortunately blueberry's have been spiking symptoms. I have also resorted to taking probiotics with specific oxalate eating strains.

      I just recently got a flare and I am trying to figure out what caused it, but doing my diet has left me in a much much bearable state for the last two months.

      Soda also bothers me.

      When it was at its worst I was prescribed elavil which helped me sleep, for a while it was so bad that I could only sleep every other night because I was exhausted from not sleeping the night before. I did stop elavil two months ago so I know it was not that that gave me the two glorious months of no uncomfortable urethra.

      My current flare is not nearly as bad as the beginning. I do sometimes wonder of this oxalate thing is causing tiny sand in my kidneys that is abrasive. The ultrasound would not have caught anything like that. If I do not pee for long amounts of time (if I forget to hydrate myself for a few hours) it hurts less. Also being constipated makes it twice as miserable.

      Anyway I figured I would share this because I spent an absurd amount of hours when I couldn't sleep googling my symptoms and going through forums trying anything anyone said would help (cranberry, d mannose, probiotics, vitamin d, milk thistle, meditation, diet elimination, etc.) But in the end it was focusing on my body and writing down basically a crime report (antibiotics!) The symptoms when they disappeared or lessened what did I eat that did not flare them, etc. I feel better in the mornings worse if I don't sleep a lot. Get a notebook or write it in your calendar how you feel every day, if you suspect something food wise eliminate it and eat strictly things you ate on days when you felt better and nothing changed. If you start narrowing down on a culprit (my first was chocolate) see roughly how many hours after you start feeling weird. I also noticed that If I drink a lot of water with my meals I am less likely to flare.

      It is still a nightmare, and I am not healed yet but I feel so much better than I did 6 months ago where I was just in excruciating discomfort.

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      cw/me 6 weeks ago

      Okay, I'm now back on Macrobid and this UTI and inflammation nightmare is happening all over again. I ordered a supplement called d-mannose, the key ingredient in cranberry juice that research suggests can prevent UTI's. I bought the powder form, which delivers the benefits of cranberry juice without the acidity. D-mannose is supposedly helpful in preventing UTI's by flushing bacteria out of the bladder. Anyone ever tried this with good results? thanks

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      Sherry Hewins 6 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I hope they help too laurafhl. It's so frustrating how long it takes to inch your way through the medical system, and then your appointment finally comes and it's postponed!

      If you need more suggestions, read through the comments. Their is lots of good advice here.

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      laurafhl 6 weeks ago

      I started getting UTI's on a fairly regular basis around 4 years ago. In the last 6 months I have had 4 UTI's that were positive from urinalysis. I have also had blood in my urine (1+) for at least three of these years even without infection.. I just finished a round of antibiotics about a week ago, they did a test to see which would be the best. I was fine until today.. The same urgency is back and the discomfort when I pee.. Like last time I am peeing every hour or two. I don't look forward to tonight when I know I will be up and down all night. I'm very frustrated. Had an appointment with Urologist on the 29 of last month but she had to reschedule because of emergency surgery.. Been delayed now until the 8th of August.. I absolutely hate the thought of calling my regular doctor once again so say that the symptoms are back after only a week without antibiotics.. Just needed to vent.. I'm going to try some of your suggestions.. Hope they help!!

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      cw/me 6 weeks ago

      Hey, I'm checking in after several months to say that I've been so much better with only occasional flareups of abdominal pain and tingling, triggered by the new foods or supplements I'm always adding in after a year of recovery from post UTI bladder inflammation. So the other day I got a routine urine culture and was horrified to hear that I now have another "small" UTI, which is what caused my 9 months of bladder pain hell in the first place. That plus the antibiotic Macrobid caused pain that was extremely severe because it horribly inflamed my bladder. I can't imagine ever going through something like that again. The dr. said just leave it alone if it is not causing symptoms, which is really hard to gauge because I always have at least mild symptoms of inflammation which I've now had for a year, that are progressively improving. In the last six months, I've added a number of different foods extremely cautiously, one at a time, and feel almost normal.

      This news has been a big blow. I will refill the Rx for Macrobid and wait and see if it clears up because it is supposedly a small UTI; but these can grow rapidly in no time. I am in permenopause and this is my second one in about a year after a lifetime not getting them, which is unfortunately common. For all of you in permenopause who are going through this, it can reoccur regardless of the precautions you might be taking against it, as I've already learned.

      The first thing I'm doing is getting right back on the 64 ounce of water a day to hopefully flush the bacteria out, and get the Rx filled and just keep it in the house if it becomes obvious the discomfort I am feeling is actually a UTI and not merely bladder inflammation. It's a terrible place to be in, since if I decide to take the medicine I could easily be causing a lot of extreme pain from added inflammation that the antibiotics cause, yet if it is a UTI, the bacteria can be fast at work growing and destroying the bladder lining I just spent a year trying to recover.

      Let me also say that not eating isn't an option. For eight months I hardy ate anything and I lost about 10 lbs and all the elasticity in my arms about 5 months after the infection, leaving deep creasing and wrinkling and sagging arms which some plastic surgeons said was due to the rapid weight loss and my age, 52, the skin couldn't recoil. It was actually trying to feed off itself to get the nutrients and protein needed. The problem is so severe I need to work out every day and eat very high protein, yet it will likely require plastic surgery to tighten both arms. So my advice is if this should happen to you, try to eat as much high protein food as this seems well tolerated. I was a vegetarian for many years and recently began eating tuna fish packed in water and am now probably going to start eating turkey, so if heaven forbid this terrible disease attacks my body again, I can protect my skin from getting any worse.

      IMO, Sherry is right in that taking an antibiotic can worsen symptoms; however, if you have an infection causing symptoms it can quickly damage your bladder so there is no choice other than to take the full course. After that I recommend a urine culture about a month later and periodic cultures after that to ensure that the UTI has not returned. And water, water, water every. Nothing acidic and never drink cranberry juice. Some seemingly harmless foods like bananas, yougurt, walnuts that I used to eat every day contain blends of amino acids are known to damage the lining of an already compromised bladder, something I learned the hard way. Everyone is going to be different so cautious experimentation, one new food (or supplement) at a time given at least 1-2 weeks to clear as "safe", is my suggestion.

      Best wishes to all; I hope you understand you are not alone, and this nightmare not only can be managed, for most people it can also be overcome. Some of us just need to be a little more vigilant when we know we are at a risk for recurring UTIs.

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      Sherry Hewins 7 weeks ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Antibiotics do worsen symptoms in some people. Sometimes a change to a different antibiotic can help. If your symptoms are worse since taking the medicine, consult you doctor. The main problem I had with antibiotics was just that it just didn't make it better, plus I got a yeast infection which didn't help things. I hope you feel better and are able to enjoy your holiday.

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      Amy 7 weeks ago

      Hi I've been suffering with irritable bladder and urethra for 3 months now and I saw a urologist who has put me on a strong course of antibiotics even though no infection is present. Did you say this worsened your symptoms? If so, in what way ?

      I'm due to go on holiday next week and I don't know what to do with these awful symptoms that won't go away :-(

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      nic 7 weeks ago

      Hi. Thank you Sherry for so much advice. I've suffered with IC/cystitis all my life. Had the camera inside and seen top urologist who found no medical cause. I do know that wine coffee stuff with msg in it makes me worse. I use cystopurin/baking soda/water/hot water bottle and hot baths/paracetomol and ibubrofen - funny enough antihistamines work too. But, I find I get so depressed with it. Right now I just feel that it is ruining my life. I took a xanax just now to hopefully make me sleep but sometimes i feel if it is there in the morning then i dont want to wake up :-(

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Katerina, Once your bladder is already irritated, it can be hard to tell what foods are irritating it. You could try eliminating the most common irritants for a few weeks and see if that helps. If that's too much for you, maybe you should try taking Prelief before meals. If that works, it would be a good clue that your symptoms are food-related.

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      Katerina 2 months ago

      Hi everyone. I am 19 years old and have had some sort of bladder pain since I was 15. At first it did seem to be UTIs but then recently in April I had symptoms lasting for weeks. I went to the ER 2-3 times in the course of 3 weeks and they kept giving me different antibiotics. I then went to a female np working in a urology department. After looking at my cultures from most of my visits to the ER throughout the years she found that many of those tests came back negative, no UTI. There was one case in April but once that cleared there were no more. She told me about IC and about general bladder spasms. Prior to this visit I had already known about IC due to my own research and began trying to correlate foods with my flare ups. Unfortunately, I still can't find anything food wise that causes the flare ups. They seem to be more random. Over the last week I began to notice something. I take Ritalin as needed for my ADD especially when I go to school since I cannot focus. This last week I began summer classes. I also began retaking (after a month of not using) the Ritalin. I also noticed that my flare ups became more frequent. I then realized during finals and tests I was taking Ritalin and that's when I had my surge. This round the spasms were so terrible that on the way home I peed my pants, I simply could not control it. For now I'm on Toviaz, a bladder spasm medication. I was on Detrol for a month but it was too expensive for me. The Toviaz (and Detrol) doesn't get rid of spasms and pain completely. I take it daily so it helps reduce the amount to 1 a week and when I do get a flare up I take the medicine and it tends to ease the pain to a more functional amount. Tomorrow I will be calling the np and updating her on this. Hopefully that is one of my triggers that I can remove. I will also be starting pelvic floor physical therapy and hope that it will help as well.

      Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice. I decided to share mine in case that helps anyone. I plan to update when I know more.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Megan, that sounds absolutely awful! I don't know if what you have is exactly what I experienced. Most of us haven't had it as children. Still, I understand your distress, and I am very pleased if you can find some help or encouragement here.

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      Megan 2 months ago

      Thank you SO MUCH for this article! I've been suffering since I was 5, now 24. They never gave me that scope he did a kidney scope and decided I was fine, switched docs they said over active bladder, their meds didn't help. Got ANOTHER doctor who said the meds the other doc had me on was for elderly people and suggested dialysis so I never went back, and still get them from time to time, nobody ever understands my pain! so I'm very grateful for your remedies and suggestions!

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Kim, I'm so glad my remedies helped you. Good luck with your recovery.

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      Kim 2 months ago

      Hi Sherry - Thanks so much for your valuable words of advice and experience! I started the baking soda last night and it wasn't as bad tasting as I expected. During the evening I wore a pad (keep them on hand for my 13 yr old niece) so I would feel more confident in trying to relax those muscles (in case of leakage). I also put a cold compress "down there" and fell asleep with it there. I woke about 6am and that horrible feeling wasn't there! It's back now, but not quite as severe. I had 2 whole waking hours this morning with relief. I took some more baking soda before breakfast and put the cold compresses in the fridge to be ready when I get home from work! The light at the end of this long tunnel is becoming visible. Thank you to everyone who posted their experiences. It means so much to know I am not alone in this because family and close friends I've shared this with have never had this problem and cannot understand.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Kim, I was in peri-menopause when my problems started, so I do not doubt that had something to do with it. However, just because you are now in menopause does not mean there are no further effect from your hormone fluctuations. As my urologist told me himself, these symptoms are common, and not easily understood. They can be caused by a variety of factors, making them hard to diagnose. As several people have pointed out in the comments section, bladder irritation can continue for weeks after a bladder infection is gone.

      I have given you my best advice as far as diet and supplements go. Also the importance of relaxing those muscles cannot be overstated. Take some baking soda and have a hot bath. Don't strain when you go to the bathroom. When you go to bed, take a cold compress to put between your legs. (I used some ice cubes wrapped up in a wet washcloth inside a zip-lock bag.

      I do understand the word torturous, and it is not too strong a word. I hope you are feeling better soon. You have many sister who have been down the same road.

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      Kim 2 months ago

      I'm so glad to hear others are experiencing what I am right now. About 3 weeks ago I noticed my urine was solid red. Went to urgent care and was told I had a UTI & was given Bactrim for 7 days. I had no other symptoms with this UTI - amazingly. Two days after finishing the bactrim, I had sudden flank pain and immediately thought it was a kidney stone (had one 2 years ago). The pain lasted about 3 hours, then suddenly stopped. My urine was red again. I went back to the urgent care and the culture showed I still had the UTI (e-coli bacteria) and was given cipro. Finished that med a week ago today. Well, 14 days ago (while still on the cipro) I awoke to that horrible feeling of urgency. Like I need to tinkle in the worst way NON-STOP! It won't go away. I had this years ago when I entered peri-menopause and like one other post I read, the ER doc gave me Xanax to calm me down because after 2 months I was literally losing it from being so miserable. I am now taking half a xanax tablet at night to calm myself enough to go to sleep and have gotten back on lexapro to help my anxiety level - which is thru the roof with this constant miserable feeling. I sit here at work trying not to cry - while running down the hall to the bathroom constantly. I will try the baking soda as soon as I get home today. I am desperate for this horrible feeling to STOP! I cannot live like this. When this occurred before I went to a urologist, who put me thru a ton of tests (including the cystoscopy - boy was that awful!) - all of which found NOTHING! They gave me lots of different pills to try, but nothing worked. It finally went away on its own after getting on the xanax and lexapro - my ob/gyn said it was probably perimenopausal related due to fluctuating hormones & chemical imbalance. Whatever. I'm 2 years post-menopausal now so this happening again must be related to the bad UTI I just had. My urine has been clear for a week now so the infection has to be gone. Just don't know why this torturous (and that is not an exaggeration!) urgency won't go away!!

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Shabba, The IC diet does not recommend vinegar, as it is acidic. I can't argue with success though, I'm glad you are feeling better.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I'm glad your symptoms are just mild. I think you will probably be feeling better in a couple of weeks.

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      Sarah 2 months ago

      Thank you so much for this helpful post! I'm 24 and had never had a UTI before unluckily contracting 2 in the span of a few weeks this spring. After the second, I have continuing symptoms (mild feeling of having to pee all the time) that have lasted for a month-ish at this point (but a couple weeks ago I got another test because I was worried which was negative, and my doctor said probably it's just irritation). I didn't know my coffee/chocolate habit was probably not helping me heal! Ugh! Really wish doctors would warn about this. Started the low acid diet and the glucosamine, really hoping this goes away soon or else I'll feel obligated to go to the doc yet again... This has given me such hope I was really getting worried it was a chronic thing! At the same time, in comparison to the pain and terrible symptoms some commenters are going through I'm realizing I'm so lucky it's just a mild problem and I can still sleep at night. Wow, my heart goes out to all of you. Thanks again!!

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      Shabba 2 months ago

      Hey guys. I was struggling with severe pain in bladder from burning urine. Passing the urine was the hardest thing. No pain killer would work. Even after taking antibiotics burning was back. I have medical background. I did all kind of urine cultures on my on urine. No bactetia i found. The only thing worked for me was apple cider vinegar. 2 table spoons in one glass of water. Half glass is right away and half throughout the day. Within 15 mins of taking half glass severe pain cramps in bladder would go away. Another thing I would like to share is which I found was that the burning is due to eating certain foods. For me specially lemon and oranges,green hot pepper and certain cheese would cause burning right away. Since I started avoiding these foods I rarely get burning. Funny thing is i was prescribed vitamin c in high concentration for my burning bladder which made it worst but helped me to find out the route cause. Best of luck guys. Forgot to mention I had many antibiotics from 5 days to 3 months consecutively. I been to 3 urologist had cysts copy done. No could find anything. Ooh yes I found on my own one bacteria (urea plasma urealyticum) in my urine, not detectable by any culture. Most of the Dr's don't know about it and urologist have different opinions. Some say it is okay if it is in bladder some think it can cause chronic bladder problem. 3 months antibiotic could not kill this bacteria. It is permanent resident in my bladder.

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      Wanda Owens 2 months ago

      WOW! Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I think I had a UTI in Dec. 2016...never had a UTI before in my life and I am 52 years old. They prescribed Cipro and after 2 weeks- still really didn't have relief. Went on D-manoose, Ulsi Urva and a whole slew of other things religiously. It seemed to go away for awhile, but would come back.

      I have Hashimotos Hypothyroidism, so I started a protocol for that 6 weeks ago. I noticed that my "UTI" symptoms have been flaring quite a bit...and it is all starting to make sense- the protocol has me drinking lemon juice (fresh squeezed) and I was adding a lemon to the smoothie I drink for breakfast every morning.

      I will be trying the baking soda as soon as I get home today. And I am so thankful that you posted. I want this madness to stop. For me it's only been 6 months...so I can only imagine what everyone else has been going through for years.

      Thank you again!!

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Sharon Ellenburg - I know all of this is very distressing, but if you have read back through any of the comments here you can see that inflammation after a UTI is very common. My best advice is all in the article. Follow the low acid diet, take some baking soda in water, take a hot bath and try to de-stress. A cold compress on the urethra can be soothing especially when your are trying to sleep.

      It will take time, but as long as you don't do anything to further irritate your bladder, I think you will be feeling better in a few weeks. I know that sounds like a long time to suffer, but it will get gradually better. At this point, I don't think you should worry about IC. This is a very short time to be having these problems, and many women have the same experience you are having, yet they recover completely.

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      Shavon Ellenburg 2 months ago

      This article and all the comments is very comforting to me and gives me hope. I am 31 years old with two boys. I work full times as well as being a mom and a wife. I am always active and enjoy playing outside with my boys. I have always been very healthy and rarely get sick.

      3 weeks ago I started having UTI symptoms -I had a prescription for Bactrim that was a refill from an ear infection I had..so I started taking that. By the next day I was in so much pain I ended up in the ER which I hadn't been to the ER in over 10 years. They tested my urine and the Dr told me I had a severe UTI.. I was given a rocephin shot and prescription for cipro. Nothing grew out on the culture bc the Dr said I had taken that bactrim and it killed some of the bacteria . After that prescription I went back to the Dr and I still had the infection and was put on Macrobid. 3 days later I was back in the ER with pain.. another urine test said I still had UTI. I was given another shot of rocephin and was told to finish the macrobid. 3 days later I started feeling nauseous and started vomiting .. I went to see my OBGYN bc my regular Dr couldn't see me for 2 weeks. He did a pelvic exam and other tests which was all normal. He said he thinks my bladder and urethra was very inflamed for the infection. My urine was normal but he went ahead and gave me another rocephin shot and put me on doxycycline in case there was still bacteria that the test didn't pick up. I also had blood present in my urine on every test. It's been 3 days since I was at my obgyn and I still have pain and feel like I have to pee all the time. I also feel as if I have menstrual cramps 24/7 which I'm guessing is the pelvic pain and it doesn't ever ease off. I am miserable. All I want to do is lay on the heating pad and sleep. I cry all the time bc I'm miserable and don't know what to do to feel better. I just want my normal life back before this UTI. This is hard on my husband and kids especially bc they want their fun Mom back. Could this just be that my bladder hasn't recovered from the UTI. Do you recommend anything to help with the pelvic pain and frequent urgency? I'm so desperate to feel better I'll try anything. I also have only been drinking water since this all started. Could this be IC or am I just recovering from this UTI? This was also the first time I've ever had a UTI .

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Than yo Erika Keamy. I hope that more doctors, and patients, will become aware of this problem. I'm sure it has caused untold and avoidable suffering.

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      Erika Keamy 2 months ago

      It's unfortunate, but many doctors don't seem to offer very helpful advice or even basic information when dealing with a UTI. When I was dealing with a UTI for the first time and saw several different doctors over the course of six weeks, not one of them explained that irritation that could linger for weeks after the infection, nor did any of them advise me to avoid caffeine, acidic foods, etc. It would have gone a long way to helping me recover from this awful ailment, and understand why I was still experiencing symptoms.

      In reading a number of forums where women complain of pain/urgency for several months after a UTI, I have to wonder if what they're consuming is preventing their bladder from properly healing.

      Thank you for this article and forum, Sherry! It's a wonderfully supportive place, and filled with helpful information for how to deal with UTIs and their aftermath.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Good luck to you Tigerz.

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      Tigerz 2 months ago

      Recent hysterectomy and the spasms after peeing are like an orgasm gone horribly horribly wrong. Has the same spasmodic urges but, holy heck, I want to stop the pee before it's o o o over so I don't get them. I'm going to follow the suggestions here and pray. First up, baking soda.

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I fully understand your anticipation. Hopefully, you have caught this in time to prevent it getting worse. Best of luck to you.

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      Heather 2 months ago

      Oh my gosh - I am SO relieved to have found this article and all your comments. I've just come off of 5 weeks of antibiotics - Nitrofurantoin for 2 weeks then Cipro for a week then back on Nitrofurantoin.... went to Urgent care and they gave me a shot of Rocephin. That was last Tuesday. Was referred to a URO/GYN and saw him on Thursday - he gave me pulled urine from my bladder via a tube and concluded the UTI was gone. He prescribed Myrbetrq 25mg for Bladder spasms and said I should have a cranberry supplement with 36mg PAC's daily. I have not had cronic UTI's. This is the first in years ... so not sure why I should take a supplement. Second - no one ever asked what I was drinking/eating. And I've been drinking ALOT of cranberry nector (tart) in club soda - alot! I tried D Manoose for 2 weeks, even setting my alarm at night (not that I needed it). So grateful to read all this - I'm now going to stop cranberry nectar and club soda and go with water ... so look forward to healing my bladder (who ever thought they would say that!!!)

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      Sherry Hewins 2 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      The most bothersome symptom for me was a constant, urgent need to pee. The baking soda helped with that.

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      Tina 2 months ago

      I have been suffering with none painfulnbladder spasms (what my doctor calls nocturia) for years now. I have been on many different medications and I find that they work for a short period of time but stop eventually. One question I have is about the baking soda. Did this work to stop the spasming? Or for a different symptom?

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      MK 3 months ago

      Thank you writing this article. My experience has been similar to yours. I even had the cystoscopy and the urologist found nothing. He gave me a prescription to stop bladder spasms and that did help. I believe that I have been helped most by reducing these acidic foods as you recommend. The discomfort had gone away for a couple months and has recently returned. I came back to your article and realize now that I need to back off of the offensive foods like coffee and chocolate. I am grateful for what you've shared!

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I am so happy for you KateGris. I hope this positive direction continues. Of course you're better off if you can avoid the caffeine, but I felt like it was the lesser of two evils at the time.

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Hi Hannah, I'm so glad you are finding your way. I went through a thing with vaginal infections, taking antibiotics for bacterial, then developing yeast infections and taking medicine for those. I finally had to just lay off the medicine and wait for things to regain their natural balance.

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      Hannah 3 months ago

      Hello again!

      Just wanted to give a little update on things since I originally posted 3 months ago. I will say shortly after I stopped eating tree nuts (almonds) and avocado and stuck strictly to the diet you used I felt much better...but never completely resolved. Shortly after my post they figured out I had a yeast infection with a strange resistant candida (candida krusei). We are still battling that and my doctor thinks this yeast is causing some, if not all, of my bladder symptoms. I have been through 5 courses of various antifungals and today finally it may be clear as he did not see anything on the wet prep, but, a final culture has not come back yet...I will say that has added a new component of complication to the diet.. Yeast likes alkaline environments so I may have been helping it along some by staying so alkaline but I have been afraid to change this as I don't want the bladder pain to come back. So I am going to try a yeast diet next which is still somewhat similar to the IC diet but with things such as lemon ect... I still have some bladder symptoms but most days its about 90% improved... Still hoping for a full recovery! I am partially posting this too to let others know there are other causes of cystitis and be sure its not something strange like a really bad yeast infection.. My symptoms weren't really even the typical itchiness. My thoughts and prayers are for all of us dealing with this frustrating problem! Keep pushing and digging and trying to figure out the root cause for you as an individual...

      I will touch base again when I have a full recovery and fungus free!!!

      Much thanks... "fungus amongus"

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      KateGris 3 months ago

      I am DRAMATICALLY better today. Almost back to normal. And I attribute my recovery to what I read here. I thought about taking caffeine pills, but even that worries me because caffeine is a diuretic. Figured it's better just to stay entirely away.

      I took another hot bath last night - both times just soaked in hot water with no soap/bubbles. Heavenly!

      Thank you again for your suggestions and dedication!

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      KateGris, I totally feel your pain with giving up the coffee. In fact, I started taking caffeine pills in order to give up the coffee. I'm not sure that's "Kosher" with the IC diet people, but I figured it was better than drinking the coffee, and I did start getting better. I figured, it was the acid I was trying to avoid, not the caffeine. Then you can wean yourself down gradually from the pills.

      I've had a few other people bring up the idea that lemons are really alkaline. I don't know, I'm not a scientist, but they are against the IC diet, so I didn't have them. Orange juice seemed to cause a definite bad reaction for me.

      d-mannose? I have not tried it, so I can't say.

      As far as the hot bath goes, I'm a fan. I think part of the theory against taking baths with a UTI is that bacteria may be in the water. So, I always use clean water. If you're so dirty it will pollute the water take a rinse first. Also, don't use soap or any additives, they may be irritating. If you need soap, take a shower first, then a soak.

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      KateGris 3 months ago

      Just took a bath for the first time in a decade! It was extremely soothing, and I may take another one before night is out. (Last bath was in a new house with garden tub - only to discover hot-water heater was not large enough to actually fill tub!)

      I am so grateful I found this post/comments. And Sherry, additionally grateful you have continued to respond to comments over the course of several years. This post is the balm I need in my time of trouble. I appear to be in early phases of bladder irritation post-UTI, so perhaps my experience can help others. And I'm hoping your solutions will get me to recovery soon.

      I haven't had a UTI for decades - since my 20s. (I'm now 53.) Three weeks ago, I developed UTI symptoms, primarily urinary urgency and frequency. Every time, I was able to void a small amount. Fortunately no burning or inability to void, until today. I have literally been spending days on toilet given the urgency and frequency.

      My first reactions 3 weeks ago were - 1) it will go away on its own and 2) I want to avoid antibiotics. I heard cranberry juice was disproven, so I didn't go there, at least at first. I tried drinking 80 oz. of water daily, and took a supplement, uva ursi. However, several days went by, Weekend #1 came, and urgency/frequency and discomfort remained. My friends, one of whom is an RN with her own bladder problems, warned me of the danger of a kidney infection. It reached the point where I couldn't take it anymore, and wound up in urgent care on a Sunday.

      After a urine sample, I was diagnosed with bladder infection and sent on my way with 3-day course of nitrofurantoin. By this point, I had added AZO for urinary pain relief, which helped.

      I fully expected it to get better within a few days. But the week went by, and then Weekend #2, with little relief. So last Monday, I reached out to my PCP, who prescribed Cipro. I also took another urinanalysis, although that was several days after I started Cipro and I don't know results. I read online that some people required multiple courses of antibiotics. So again, I fully expected to recover within a few days. I also received prescription-strength phenazopyridine. And I added unsweetened cranberry juice, because that's what everyone recommends and why not try it?

      And here it is, Weekend #3, my third weekend of agony in a row. I have been in decline since Thursday, and again expected the antibiotic course to work, and to start feeling better. I use iPhone stopwatch/lap timer to record time between voiding, and at times I am voiding as frequently as every two minutes!

      I was so desperate I skipped morning coffee yesterday to gauge impact. I've been a daily coffee drinker for decades. I drink 6 cups every morning - although it doesn't seem like that much to me because it's only 2.5 large mugs. It did not make a difference Saturday - in fact it was a miserable day and I was in 2-5-minutes-between-urination mode. Not to mention I had a mild headache by end of day.

      This morning, however, I was going 20-30 minutes between voiding, and recovery seemed possible. I'm a caffeine addict, and was worried about side effects of going cold turkey. Since I was feeling better, why not add coffee back in?

      Big mistake. After a good morning, urgency went back to every 2 minutes. I finally realized I may have a bladder irritation, not infection, and that's what led me to this blog. Thank God. First, it's helpful to know I'm not crazy. I've also learned after living with arthritis for 10 years: You have to find what works for you via trial and error. Western medicine, great as it is, can often lead to a spiral of drugs and treatments which don't resolve underlying issues. (After cortisone injections/year of chiropractic/knee surgery/physical therapy, etc. etc., I finally found what works best to keep arthritis pain at bay is a combination of monthly massages with cupping, weekly reformer Pilates and working out with a personal trainer 2/x week. Working out MORE means less pain - probably because muscles are stronger. After 10 years, for first time all pain gone! So it kills me that UTI has prevented me working out the past few days.)

      But perhaps coffee not a mistake in total, since it gave me concrete evidence coffee is a problem! Since finding post, I've had multiple courses of 1/4 tsp. of baking soda today. No immediate relief, unfortunately. And no more cranberry juice. Aside from the coffee, I also eat 1 oz. dark chocolate several times a week, and put balsamic vinegar on food almost every night. Sigh.

      But I am determined to follow your recommendations. However, have a few questions/comments:

      -- What about alkaline water? A friend already recommended it, so I'm going to stick with it since it seems to make sense.

      -- In reaching acidic foods, several foods which appear acid, such as lemons, are not metabolized that way by the body. Lemons/limes/grapefruit are in fact highly alkaline. However, cranberries are definitely acidic. Charts like this list alkaline foods: http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm. Thoughts?

      -- What about d-mannose? I'm considering adding that.

      Luckily I love milk (LOVE!), so it's no problem to drink more. And your morning vanilla milk is my middle-of-the-night "I can't sleep" drink. It won't have same kick as coffee, but will give it a try. Again, most generous thanks for the tips and support. I'm feeling better already - 20 minutes between pees! - and hoping I can get irritation down, learn by trial/error what works for me, and my life back to normal soon.

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks for adding to the discussion Erika Keamy. I think it will be comforting for others to know that lingering bladder irritation is not uncommon after a bladder infection.

      I would like to add that I think it's important to avoid irritating the bladder further during this sensitive time. It is important to let the bladder heal.

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      Erika Keamy 3 months ago

      I just wanted to throw in my two cents about my recent experience. I've had 3 UTIs in 7 years and took antibiotics to deal with the infection. All 3 times I experienced bladder irritation for about 3 weeks after finishing antibiotics, which was probably more annoying that the UTI itself. I coped with it by eating a bland diet, drinking nothing but water, and using a heating pad. Also helpful were the AZO pills to stop the feeling of urgency so I could function at work and get a good night's sleep. I know how awful it is to go through the "irritation phase", but it does eventually go away. The first time I went through this, I panicked because I was afraid that the infection wasn't going away. But from my experience, and what I've read about UTIs, it's quite normal to suffer from after-effects for a few weeks while the bladder completely heals.

      Good luck to everyone out there suffering with his awful ailment. You have my full sympathy!

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jennifer, I believe that advice to drink cranberry juice for these symptoms has caused a lot of unnecessary pain. And it's not just me. The IC forum recommends low acid, and so did my urologist.

      One of the books I read recommended the hot baths, and I found them to be wonderful. If what you've been doing hasn't worked, why not try something different?

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      Jennifer 3 months ago

      Thank you so much for answering me back so quickly. This is why I'm confused. I was told and read many times for my uti to drink cranberry juice and don't sit in a bath! I love baths and haven't had one in three years! I will try the cold compress. That's what I'm feeling now pressure, and irritation. I've learned to live with it but I'm tired of it and want to go to bed and sleep without interruption!

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jennifer, the Glucosamine and Chondroitin certainly seemed to help with my condition. I also highly recommend a relaxing, hot bath if that feels good to you.

      Also a cold compress on the vulva if that area is irritated, especially when trying to sleep, and pay attention to what kind of TP you use. I carry my own TP with me in case I have to use a public restroom.

      Read through all of the comments here. There is a lot of good advice.

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      Jennifer 3 months ago

      You are right about the kegel exercises, it aggravates and does make it worse. I will also stop the Cran RX. What about the glucosamine or the chondroitin? Would that help with the spasms, or take away the uncomfortable feeling in my private areas? It just feels good to talk to a woman, who has researched and found ways to heal yourself. I'm sick of antibiotics and the side effects, which linger for months. What's interesting is that I taught for 33 years and went to the bathroom once during school hours! I appreciate your advice.

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jennifer, I would stop the Cran Rx. Also, I found kegel exercises to aggravate my condition. My advice is to try to relax those muscles.

      The best thing I can tell you is to follow the low acid diet. Keep the diet very bland and low-acid until you start feeling better.

      When you start adding more foods, pay attention to how what you are eating affects your symptoms.

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      Jennifer 3 months ago

      I ran across this article when I typed in what to do for bladder spasms. I have OAB and current uti's. All started three years ago. I had never had a uti before and now I've had 12 in three years. OAB and uti's have similar symptoms. Plus I don't have the burning when urinating si I never know when I have one. I have been going to a Urologist for three years. Right now I am on myrbetriq and have been for three weeks. My problem is the frequency and spasms. The OAB pill hasn't seemed to kick in I'm up 3 to 4 times a night. I don't have IC , but I see the symptoms are also similar. I have been trying your baking soda remedy for two days and kegel exercises. I also was told to run a hormone cream on my urethra and vagina nightly. It's very frustrating running my urine down to Urologist to be cultured to find its negative. I don't want a uti, but when I have symptoms like low back pain, chills, frequency, and its negative I feel like what is causing those symptoms. I am also on a low dose of antibiotic every other day. I read where d-Mannos helps with uti's so I drink Cran RX daily. Your article really hit home. I read the other comments and it seems like you have really helped so many people. Do you have any advice for me?

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Jennifer. I see your post now.

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      Jennifer 3 months ago

      I am trying to send you a message but it won't let me.

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      Sherry Hewins 3 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I hope she gets some relief.

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      Sally Kirkland 3 months ago

      My 23 year old daughter has IC. It's so hard to watch her suffer. Thank you for giving hope.

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      Sherry Hewins 4 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      That's wonderful to hear cw/me. I really appreciate you coming back to update us on your progress, and I'm sure a lot of other people to too.

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      cw/me 4 months ago

      Hi all, popping in to say how much better I've been doing lately. Am now back to drinking my usual Kava low acid coffee, 2 cups a day without Javacid, etc., and I tried some white wine mixed with sparkling water which I thought surely would kill me, but I've been sipping away for four days now and...I'm okay!! I didn't even use acid reducer! I've recently added a few foods that I'd given up nine months ago, including organic yogurt and garden burgers that include both nuts and spices, two absolute no no's several months back. April 2nd will mark 10 months of my ordeal when I first got the UTI that started all of this. Was in horrific pain every day, mainly burning after peeing and for much of each day, for the first 5-6 months, then it slow began to fade away, and now when I eat an offending food the reaction tends to just be mild to moderate abdominal pain. I was drinking 64 oz of water every day, then a couple of months ago cut down to about 32, and now I just take a few sips whenever I am thirsty. I am about to start testing the biggest trigger foods and see what happens. One at a time, beginning with bananas, then nuts, then some soups and other prepared foods. I now feel confident I'll recover fully from this. I hope everyone will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel from their ordeal, too. I still take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements three times a day. Otherwise, no other treatment, however I do find that aerobic exercise alleviates occasional abdominal pain flareups.