At the age of five or six, Bella knew there was something different about her. Her bladder often hurt and she could not control the urgent need to race to the toilet frequently. This led to 'accidents', unsympathetic teachers, teasing kids and doctors who misunderstood the cause and the severity of her condition. Her unrelenting urinary symptoms had shaped her entire life. In her early 20s, her symptoms had become markedly worse. Newly married and with the encouragement and support of her husband, she flew to the United Kingdom to attend a chronic UTI clinic. To her relief, she was diagnosed and treated for a UTI that had plagued her for her entire life. After five months of constant antibiotic treatment, Bella cannot believe how much her symptoms have reduced and how good she feels for the first time. Now that she is receiving a treatment designed specifically for her condition, she knows she will be fully cured in time. She is looking forward to living a normal life and she is excited that some day she and her husband will start a family—something she feared might never happen. Read Bella's story here.
At just 21, Emma failed to fully respond to a course of antibiotics for a UTI. Once her treatment was finished, her symptoms returned. Negative tests eventually led her to being diagnosed with an incurable urinary condition 'interstitial cystitis', years of daily pain and the devastating loss of her baby boy at 21 weeks' gestation. Through the support of a grief counsellor, Emma gained the courage to advocate for her own health and she started to question her diagnosis. Now believing she had been misdiagnosed a decade ago, she urged her doctors to consider the possibility she could be suffering a chronic, embedded urinary tract infection (UTI). After further research, her doctors agreed and began treating her infection. Within months, her symptoms started to ease and she was pregnant again! Emma shares her bittersweet chronic UTI story here with the sincere hope it helps others like her.
Dr Nicky Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow at University of South Australia and The Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, where he works on developing nanomedicines to treat infections that have become resistant to traditional antimicrobial therapies. Among other concerning and challenging chronic bacterial infections, Dr Thomas' team has an interest in improving the delivery and efficacy of antibiotics in people suffering chronic urinary tract infections (UTI).
Carrie had only ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) once before. When she was 40, her second UTI refused to budge and her life soon became a revolving door of doctors and ER visits. Suffering terrible bladder and urethral pain and becoming increasingly unwell, she battled to hold herself together and manage her day-to-day life with three small children. Carrie knew her original infection had never fully cleared and it had become an infection like no other. She researched until came across a different form of testing and a doctor in the United States who was prepared to see past the negative culture tests and treat her for a chronic, embedded UTI. She is now close to being symptom-free and is back to living life as a happy, busy wife and mother. Read how Carrie fought her way back to good health.
Naomi is a young Canadian woman who experienced her first UTI at the age of 19. Following typical antibiotic treatment, she was left with vague UTI symptoms that became an unwelcome daily companion. Within the following year, her symptoms gradually escalated into bi-monthly acute UTI attacks. Naomi's doctor found an antibiotic solution that quickly brought her infections under control, but she was unsure how to stop the recurrent UTIs from striking at random and dominating her life. While being treated by a popular Calgary acupuncturist for unrelated back pain, the practitioner suggested acupuncture might help her recurrent UTIs as well. Naomi, now aged 29, felt she had nothing to lose and started acupuncture treatment targeting her urinary tract in January 2019. She reports she has not had an acute UTI, or required antibiotics, in almost a year. You can read more about Naomi's acupuncture experience here.
Elle suffered chronic pelvic pain. By the time she was 25, investigations left her with diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stage III endometriosis, general anxiety disorder and interstitial cystitis (IC). Even though she had never noticed bladder symptoms during this time, she was treated daily with Elmiron. Two years into her treatment, like a bolt from the blue she woke to crippling, stabbing bladder pain, abdominal pain, bladder burning and frequent, urgent urination. These symptoms never left and she had nowhere to turn. Since she was never convinced of her original IC diagnosis, she started to research other possibilities. Being in Canada, she was able to access a more sophisticated urine test and a practitioner who has a history of successfully treating patients with low grade, chronic bladder infections. After eight months of treatment targeting her infection, she says she is well on her way to being healed. You can read more of Elle’s story here.
In 2008 America went to the doctor for a urinary tract infection (UTI). She was treated, but her infection came back after each course of treatment. This went on for several months. Her confused doctor referred her to a urologist, where she was diagnosed at the first appointment with interstitial cystitis (IC). For five years she was treated with a cocktail of medication to help manage her symptoms, but this did little more than take the edge of her pain and caused woeful side effects. America chanced upon information about a UTI specialist in the United Kingdom who specifically treats people like her who have been diagnosed with urinary syndromes and recurrent UTIs. America decided she had nothing to lose and set off across the Atlantic for a consultation. With the approval of her new doctor, she stopped her IC medication and started her new treatment. Ten months in, she claims to feel the best she has in 10 years. She still has some symptoms, but only rarely notices them. After a decade of pain, despair and depression, fighting off symptoms and dealing with significant medication side-effects, she now feels she can refocus on her work, her relationship with her husband and children and her future. America's thrilled to have her life back on track.
At the age of 28, Angie has suffered post-coital urinary tract infections (UTIs) for her entire 20s. Following an investigative cystoscopy to find the cause, her situation took a dramatic turn for the worse. She went from suffering UTI symptoms only after sex, to suffering them constantly. Since dipsticks and cultures no longer showed the infection, she was petrified the diagnosis of an 'incurable urinary syndrome' was looming. Angie begged for a referral to a specialist UTI clinic in London for a second opinion where she was swiftly diagnosed with a chronic bladder infection. After five years of antibiotic treatment, Angie's life has much improved from her desperate earlier years, but her embedded infection remains stubborn and difficult to fully shift. Find out more about Angie's journey.
Áine started experiencing recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) at the age of 12. As she grew older, her recurrent UTIs became more frequent. She always responded to antibiotic treatment, but sometimes she would need a repeat course to fully clear her symptoms. In her early 30s, she came down with UTI that didn't clear up with the usual treatment. After a year of suffering persistent and painful UTI symptoms, she was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC) and advised to try and manage her symptoms through diet changes. Another year on, Áine discovered her diagnosis had been wrong and was diagnosed with a chronic UTI and endometriosis. After being prescribed appropriate antibiotic treatment targeting her embedded infection, and having a laparoscopic excision of the endometriosis, she fully recovered in 12 months.
Mark’s bladder problems began when he was only four. By the time he was a young adult, an anatomical cause had been identified and surgically corrected, resulting in a new lifestyle of daily self-catherisation. This is when the constant UTIs began. For the next 14 years, Mark suffered intermittent and back-to-back UTIs, some testing positive, others not. He was treated with combinations of short-course and low-dose antibiotics, but his infection returned within days of completing each course. In his late 30s, Mark’s infection spread and he knew more of the same short-course, low-dose antibiotic treatments would never release him from the ongoing cycle of pain and suffering. He knew it was time to search for a doctor who was prepared to treat his embedded UTI differently. Read more about Mark’s incredible journey.