Urinary Tract Infections
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Urinary Tract Infections
Hello! I have a friend who is about 12 weeks pregnant and is
struggling with chronic UTIs. Before she got pregnant, she was
on a prophylactic dose of antibiotics to prevent UTIs because she
gets them so easily. Now that she is pregnant, she has already
gotten a UTI. When she went to the doctor, they were concerned
that she has become antibiotic resistant and needed a higher dose
to treat the infection. They said it should be fine for the
baby, but she is not so sure. She doesn't want to continue
taking high doses of meds, but if she does not, she could get a
dangerous kidney infection. Has anyone had a similar experience,
either with UTIs during pregnancy or needing to take high doses
of antibiotics while pregnant? Thanks!
This is advice both for the 5 year old and the pregnant woman
experiencing UTI's. I had a long history of chronic UTI's
starting at age 2, and was well familiar with the UTI,
antibiotics, yeast, UTI, (then menses when that started) and UTI
again, cycle. What finally broke it for me was dandelion root.
The easiest way to take it for a child or a busy person is
tincture in a bit of hot water (that evaporates the alcohol in
the tincture), for the adult a decoction (1 tsp. herb to cup
water simmered for 20 minutes) is also useful (too odd tasting
for a child). It disinfects the tract. The UTI's come from not
fully voiding so guiding the child to push at the end of the pee
or wait a minute and try some more might help. I found in
pregnancy that leaning forward at the end of the pee helped.
Chickweed is a very mild tasting tea that is a great way to keep
them from re-occuring, dandelion best for when you have one, but
the great thing is that they are both tonic herbs meaning no
toxic dose, safe for child and pregnant woman. Feel free to
contact me if you want book recomendations. You can buy these
herbs at Lhasa Karnac, Whole Foods, etc.
Hi, I responded to another posting about UTIs, where I mentioned
that I experienced a lot of UTIs throughout my life. I was
especially nervous about getting one during pregnancy, so I was
very careful after having sex (peed before and after, and used
non-allergenic/fragrance-free soap to clean after as well). I
also cut out any lubricant, because that also can cause UTIs for
someone who is susceptible. In addition, I really upped the
amount of cranberry supplement that I was taking and avoided
sugar. Good luck, and try and stay off the antibiotics!
Good advice from a lot of folks, but I've gotta add my own, and
I've had UTI's chronically for most of my 47 years of life:
1. Don't take any herbal supplements until you consult a
certified herbal M.D. (like Chinese Medicine Doctor). Many are
not safe during pregnancy.
2. UTI's are not always caused by not emptying the bladder
completely -- though some are. In the case that this might be
problem, it is likely caused by scar tissue at the point where
the urethra meets the bladder and it is very hard to empty the
bladder if this is the case. Advice already given, rock forward
and push HARD to expel all the urine you can.
3. Wash yourself every single time you defecate, no matter
whether you wipe up, down or sideways. Residual fecal matter is
a likelihood no matter how you wipe.
4. Some of us (like me) are so long-waisted that we cannot wipe
from behind like we're supposed to. See #3.
5. Drink pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, or take cranberry
capsules every single day. It helps.
6. Drink tons and tons of water, and be sure to pee as soon as
you feel the need. This is very important; urine stagnates and
the longer you hold it, the more likely it is to harbor
bacteria. Yes, it's sterile until it's expelled... unless you
hold it too long AND you already have some bacteria in your
bladder, in which case your urine is NOT sterile any longer. the
longer you hold this bacterial urine, the more likely you are to
have a true UTI, and not just urethral irritation ...
7. Which you will have if you use scented soaps, commercial
lubricants, etcetera. Anything that goes anywhere near your
urethra needs to be a) clean and b) unscented.
8. Probiotics. These helps keep your entire system in balance.
The body is holistic; if your gut is in balance, the rest of
your body is going to be more in balance as well.
9. Stay away from sugars, refined wheat and other refined
starches. All these do is develop sugars and yeast. Yeast
infections (even low grade ones) can cause urinary tract
10. Sex... well, I have a host of info about that, but will
refrain from specifics here. If you want more, email me and I'll
get into it.
Need any additional advice? Have any questions? Feel free to
email me. I'm a pro on this particular matter. Good luck. I had
a UTI free pregnancy.
Okay. I moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast about a year
and a half ago, and this may sound crazy, but my system really
didn't like the cross-country move. Suddenly I am lactose
intolerant, have hayfever, can't tolerate mayonnaise (and you
kookypantses put it on EVERYTHING!).
Worst of all is the recurrent UTIs (bladder infections) I've been
getting since my move. I've had my bf checked to see if he is
passing them back to me, but he's fine. I changed all my
underwear, use hyperallegenic detergent, take cranberry capsules,
drink a ton of water, and have ''clean'' sex habits (if you catch
my drift), but they kept coming back until my doctor put me on
perma-antibiotics. Now I take a Septra every time I have sex in
the week after my period (when I tend to get them, because of my
hormone levels according to my doctor).
So far, so good: that seems to be keeping the UTI-fairy away.
But now I'm trying to get pregnant, and the doctor and my
pharmacist have both said a recurrent UTI could make it so my
body won't hold a pregnancy. I'm not sure, but I think I had a
''chemical pregnancy'' (early miscarriage) last month. (I'm
charting. I'm also hyper. I've only been trying a few months.)
Anywho, so my question is twofold: Any of you guys dealt with
weirdly recurrent UTIs? What was the cause, what made them go away?
And have you had to deal with them while trying to get pregnant
or -- eugh! -- during pregnancy?
Don't want to feel the burn!
I have suffered UTIs in the past, and they suck! Usually, I
found that I was under a lot of stress, my body Ph seemed to be
acidic.. More rest and taking probiotics from health food stores
- and in some yogurts helped me. I cannot comment about the
trying to get prego aspect of your post. Good luck!
hate UTIs too
You'll get better responses about UTIs from other people, but as
far as general issues with fertility go, I highly recommend
acupuncture. Getting the needles in your skin, but also the
herbal concoctions acupuncturists can offer. I've seen a lot of
people's fertility signs improve immensely from Chinese medicine,
including my own. I wouldn't be surprised if an acupuncturist
could help deal with the UTIs and get you off of the antibiotics
too, which I assume is part of where they'd start.
--pregnant CA kookypants
Gynecologists know next to nothing about the urinary tract. Go
to a urologist and read up on Interstitial Cystitis. Many women
with IC are put on lots of antibiotics for a long time before
being properly diagnosed. I was one of them. Fortunately, there
are drugs to help with the pain and very good dietary changes you
can make (avoiding acidic food, ie cranberry juice, coffee,
alcohol) to help control symptoms. Again, you may not have IC,
but it's worth looking into. UCSF has an excellent Urology
Oh I do so feel your pain. I've had to battle UTI's since I was
about 5 years old -- 40 years ago! There are times in my life
when they are more recurrent than others. In particular, around
my period, having too much sex (is that possible?), going
through stress... and every single time I go away on vacation.
It's always worse the farther I go from home.
Anyhow, it seeks like moving has really stressed your system and
obviously you need to get back in balance. Continue with the
cranberry capsules, and also try the following: 100% pomegranite
juice. It's amazing stuff, better than cranberry for UTI's.
Odwalla sells it, calling it PomeGrand. It's expensive, but Mid-
East markets also sell it much cheaper.
Get some very good probiotics and take them religiously. Get
advice from the folks at Elephant Pharm about which probiotic
may be best for you.
Fish oils - Omega 3's. Take daily.
My last bit of advice is risky, but it works for me. During the
first 2 -3 days of a ''bout'', I take a lot of pyridium (avail.
over the counter) and try to combat the infection myself. I've
developed severe allergies to sulfa meds (like Septra) which are
the drug of choice for UTI's and now only Ciprofloxacin works,
and I do not like taking it at all. If I take care of myself
diligently, while taking pyridium to combat the pain, I can
usually flush out the infection w/o antibiotics. This may not be
wise for you, but it works for me. I usually end up on Cipro
only twice a year now, and I used to have to take
prophylacticly. As for the pregnancy issue, I did get UTI's
during my pregnancy, but refused antibiotics and managed the
UTI's on my own. It was painful and difficult, but I managed it.
I have never heard that UTI's can cause spontaneous abortion,
but perhaps that's so. I'd be more concerned about the
antibiotics effects more so than the UTI's.
Poor you. I've been dealing with UTI's for 40 years now,
starting when I was 5. There is one newish blessing for those of
us with this affliction: Pyridium, now sold over the counter.
This marvelous medication numbs the bladder and urethra, while
alos dying the urine bright orange and gives me respite enough
to try to combat the infections on my own. Here's what I do:
100% Pomegranite juice -- Odwalla has a pure juice at $10.00
quart. Yikes! Middle East markets sell it for around $5.00
quart. Pom juice is supposedly better than 100% cranberry and I
have had wonderful results.
Cranberry caps: You're already doing this, so continue.
Avoid all spicy foods, oily foods, any food with anything that
could irritate any mucous lining. Bland, bland, bland... it
Probiotics: go to Elephant Pharmacy and ask for advice on the
best you can buy and then use it religiously.
For the record, I get UTI's within 2 days of arriving at any
vacation destination, and the further I am from home (like
Europe or Asia) the worse they are. At this point, I can travel
only as far as Hawaii and not suffer a UTI. I know it's weird,
but it's true. I take pyridium with me everywhere, and tons of
it when I travel as you never know when/where you might need it.
When I have an bout, I double my proactive measures and start
with the pyridium. I can usually knock them out within 2 - 3
days. Since I'm now deathly allergic to sulfa meds (like
Septra), the best antibiotic I can use is Cipro, which I hate.
When I was pregnant, I refused all antibiotics and self-treated
for at least 4 days until I sought medical attention. I am NOT
RECOMMENDING THIS. I am only telling you that I've had success
aggressively treating my UTI's naturally. And I only do this
using pyridium b/c I can at least function a tiny bit with this
level of pain management.
AS for pregancy issues, I've never heard that UTI's prohibited
successful pregnancy and I've never ever had a problem with that
and personally think it's B.S. I think that the antibiotics
you've been taking are far more likely causing your system to
reject a pregnancy. But that's just me and my subjective opinion
I, like you had lots of UTI. Always ended up taking antibiotics
for it then it would go away. They stopped when i realized i
was allergic to wheat/gluten. if i stray and eat some
consistantly for a week i have a UTI. So now i don't. My son is
2 years olds and i had no UTI or no issues realted to that when
i was pregnant. It seems to me you should try to figure out why
you have them before you get pregnant. most of the time there
is an explanation and you can solve the problem. Tha way you
won't have to deal with a difficult pregnancy.
Has anyone found any effective treatment for recurrent urinary
tract infections other than antibiotics? I know about preventing
them through practicing good hygiene, peeing before and after
sex, and using lube. I'm looking for things that work in
treating them aside from drinking tons of water, avoiding
caffeine, and drinking cranberry juice. Over the last year and a
half, I've had probably about 8 UTIs, and while I've practiced
all the above (more or less), I'd like to know if there's
anything else out there that works. Thanks
Hi! I know exactly what you are going through. I used to have
this all the time and saw a specialist finally. After doing all
the routines you described, what finally made the difference was
taking a low dose antibiotic after having sex. I can't remember
what it was anymore but I think it might have been some type of
pennicilin and I did't get them anymore. One of the things that
actually had been suggested to me was that some partners are
more likely to contribute to UTIs because of the friction or fit
and my then boyfriend and I broke up and now with my husband its
not a problem so I stopped taking the antibiotic. Not
recommending breaking up though, just an interesting aside. I
know how horrible they are and am sure any doc can recommend the
Been there, thankfully over that
In addition to what you are doing: parsley, tonic water and
there are cranberry pills you can buy at whole foods instead of
having to drink a lot of juice if you prefer. I went to Dr.
Weil's site and he also suggested cotton underwear, no
pantyhose (unless crotch is cut out or is cotton), using mild
detergents and be sure to urinate frequently when you have the
urge.Drink the right fluids P Frequent fluid intake, especially
of plain water, increases urination, which may prevent
irritation to the bladder. It is also best to avoid alcohol
and coffee. Estrogen vaginal cream for post-menopausal women P
Post-menopausal women have lower levels of estrogen. Some
research suggests that estrogen may help increase the number of
beneficial bacteria that help fight infections. Good luck.
Years ago I used a very small dose of septra after intercourse,
as preventative measure. But then I stopped using a diaphragm
and switched to a cervical cap and was for the most part UTI
free. Also, I think Cranactin (available at Whole Foods) is a
good alternative to cranberry juice. Good luck.
Used to have UTIs all the time.
Have you tried taking cranberry extract tablets? If I think we may be having sex I
take a tablet and then after we have sex I take a tablet. I keep the bottle in the
bathroom because of this. Also have you suggested to your partner that he wash up
also? I have had horrid UTI problems in the past. I've managed to keep it down to
about 2 a year.
D-mannose, a simple sugar, is reccommended by Dr. Jonathan V. Wright for chronic
UTIs. It is not available in stores but you can call his Tahoma Clinic
(Washington State) or check the web.
Hi -- well, my daughter has had this problem. And you've noted
most of the treatments. There are a couple of others, however:
There are cranberry ''pills'' if you can't stand cranberry juice
(also make sure you're not drinking super sweatened cranberry
juice -- counterproductive); she was told to stop drinking *all*
carbonated drinks and though difficult for a young adult, this
helped a lot; no baths; only all cotton underwear. Also, there
are some herbal treatments and acupunture treatments you might
try but you'd need to speak to someone else about these. In
general, we found that when she was doing ALL of the recommended
things, she could keep infections at bay -- but honestly, it is
tough. Sometimes, a low dose of antibiotics seemed so much
I find that Uva Ursi helps me to treat UTI infections. It is
available in tablet form or as a tincture. I prefer the tincture
as it seems more effective. Unfortunately you will need to
continue drinking lots of water.
Hi - I used to have LOTS of UTIs until I figured out that I was
extremely sensitive to lubricant. Once I stopped using
lubricant I never had another UTI again. I would definitely see
if that's your situation - sounds exactly like what I went
I have found that if I feel one coming on, I dose with dried
cranberry caplets, and it really works for me. I used to get
them all of the time and this seems to help ward them off.
What's your birth control method? When I was using a diaphragm, I
also had several UTIs per year. But when we stared using other
methods, the UTIs went away.
I know that you asked about non-antibiotic treatment of UTIs but
I thought I would share my story in case it is helpful. In my
twenties I had UTIs many times a year for years also, treated
with Sulfa and other antibiotic drugs without success as well as
through use of various holistic methods (sugar-free cranberry
juice etc.). Finally I went to my husband's urologist and he
told me that the infection had gone into the neck of the bladder
(where it bends a little) and had been driven by inadequate
antibiotic treatment below the surface skin layers into a deeper
level where conventional drug therapy would not eradicate it.
He put me on a drug called Keflex for a long time (at least 6
weeks I think), and that was it! No More UTIs! I may have had
one since in the last 20 years but if so I don't remember it.
Another thing to check is whether you are being treated for the
wrong infection. Have you been tested for Chlamydia and other
infections beyond the commonplace? If your doctors are not
testing you to see exactly what you have and are just treating
you by rote with sulfa drugs (e.g., Bactrim) which do not work
for the infection you have, then that would be another reason
the UTIs recurred. Good luck and best wishes.
A former sufferer of UTIs
I recommend you pick up a copy of ''You Don't Have to Live With
Cystitis'' by Larrain Gillespie. This book is the best one out
there for helping figure out why you are getting recurrent
bladder infections and how to treat them. Usually people assume
it is related to using a diaphragm and things like that. She
found sometimes it is related to things you wouldn't expect were
connected - like back injuries. Her treatment advice goes beyond
cranberry juice as well. I also think you should be evaluated for
interstitial cystitis which is a chronic bladder disease.
A urologist would be your best bet, personally I have had better
luck with female urologists. I don't have a local recommendation
because I have found I can manage my bladder problems with
acupuncture. There is also a homeopathic I like made by BHI
called Uri-Control or Bladder (I think they are in the process of
changing the name). Elephant Pharmacy in N. Berkeley carries it.
I had my baby 7 months ago, and for about a month now I've had
what feels like a mild bladder infection (feels like I have to pee
all of the time, my bladder feels very tender), but there is no
active infection. I just went to see a urologist, who said that
it most likely is an inflamation caused by irritation of the rear
vaginal wall during intercourse (over a month ago!). Has anyone
heard of this and/or experienced it? Did it go away? Did
anything help? How did you avoid it happening again? Pre-baby I
did get a non-infection bladder infection once but it went away
fairly quickly. And, while sex while nursing has been painful,
I'd still rather not swear off it forever for fear of reigniting a
(pretty uncomfortable) bladder inflamation. Any advice?
You have probably already thought of this, but I thought I would mention it
in case. If you are using a diaphragm and spermicide as a method of birth
control, it could be causing or exacerbating the problem you are having.
Diaphragms, even when properly fitted, can pinch the neck of the bladder and
cause inflammation and pain--even infections. Hope this helps.
this page was last updated: Sep 22, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network