Monday, June 25, 2007

Music loud and women warm, I been kicked around since I was born.

You probably know that I'm kind of a hippie, right? I am. So it will come as no surprise to you that the reappearance of my UTI from a few weeks ago has inspired an herbal onslaught, though last night all I could think about was getting some gotdamn antibiotics. Why, you wonder, am I telling you any of this, when I could be regaling you with hilarious nephew tales and rants about sexism and advertising and housekeeping (never fear; those things will come later). Oversharing is what blogging is all about, my friends, and also I want to tell you what I have learned, because I know most of you are women, which means most of you will get a UTI at some point in your life.

When that day comes, you will find that you would almost rather die than pee because your peehole is on fire. But you have to pee SO BAD and then when you go 5 PALTRY DRIPS come out. If you are lucky like me this feeling will come on close to bedtime so that you cannot get medical attention without paying emergency room/urgent care fees, and you have a huge deductible anyway so nothing will be covered.

If you DO seek medical attention, you will be told things you already know, such as:
1. Drink lots of water.
2. Pee after sex.
3. Wipe front to back.
4. Wash your junk, but not with soap, and don't use "feminine products" that are a crock anyway.

If you are LUCKY, your medical professional will also tell you:
1. Avoid spermicides, which irritate basically everything.
2. If you're using a diaphragm, you may want to try a different BC method. Diaphragms can press against the urethra and prevent the bladder from emptying completely, thereby providing an idea breeding ground for bacteria.
(I must stress that no one ever told me this stuff; I had to find out for myself, the hard way.)

This is all sound advice. Here is some more.
1. You may be advised to drink cranberry juice. Do not. The stuff that's easiest to get is full of sugar, and bacteria just love that.

2. You can also take cranberry pills, which is preferable to drinking a bunch of natural cranberry juice anyway. Anecdotal evidence, and I am not going to cite any although I will give you some of my own, suggests that cranberry supplements are good for prevention but not perhaps for treatment.

The anecdote for my evidence goes like this: when I started feeling the ominous UTI feeling, both a few weeks ago and last night, I took a handful of cranberry pills and drank a pile of water. Shortly thereafter, my pee became so acidic that my urethra melted and I peed it out. Not really, but what I'm trying to tell you is that things suddenly got much, much worse, even in conjunction with phenazopyridine hydrochloride, the OTC analgesic that's always prescribed with antibiotics for UTIs. I do believe the cranberry pills f-ed me the f up.

3. In light of this discovery, and annoyed that the antibiotics probably hadn't gotten rid of my UTI in the first place, I read a bunch of things on the interwebs and decided to give myself another day of hippie self-care before going to the clinic, and today is that day. Self-care items include:
-Baking soda.
-Water, and lots of it.
-Uva Ursi.
-Marshmallow infusion.
-General immune boosters (garlic, echinacea/goldenseal, good food).

4. I decided to alkalinize my system. I've had three cups of water with a half teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in it. This beverage tastes about as bad as you might expect, but the peehole burning has ceased, so huzzah. I've also been eating too much sugar lately, and generally being lazy about food prep, so I bought some kale and some asparagus (both allegedly good for the bladder) and other stuff and now I am wallowing in whole food delights.

5. I also read a bunch of stuff--even digging into university online science indexes and shit--about D-Mannose, a simple sugar that binds to the sticky-fingered bacteria in your bladder, enabling you to pee them out. Ta-DAAAAA! It's sold as a supplement now and though the websites selling it often look like quacky informercials, the evidence supporting its efficacy seems legit.

6. Uva ursi (or bearberry) is also endorsed fairly universally for treating bladder complaints--but if your pee is too acidic, the herb will not be effective in getting rid of bacteria. Can I get another huzzah for baking soda?

7. Marshmallow is supposed to soothe the urinary tract. I'm doing a cold infusion (a wad in cold water over 8-12 hours), so it's not ready yet, but I'm sure it will be gross.

I mean marsh mallow the herb, not marshmallow the sugary gelatin pillow.

8. I am very grateful to live in a big metro area where these things are all readily available. I spent 50 friggin American on supplements (including some I was just replenishing--I don't know where all my damn vitamins are) today at Whole Paycheck, but it turns out I could've gone to any of my local co-ops and gotten the same supplements. I took the D-Mannose. I took the Uva ursi. I'm finna drank the marshmallow. I feel a tad listless, but that's probably because it was 87 degrees today. I feel miles better than I did last night.

9. I am not suggesting that you avoid medical attention. Burny pee ain't no joke. Your local Planned Parenthood, Minute Clinic, or other clinic can diagnose and treat a UTI very quickly. Make sure you get your urine cultured (you know, high class) so that you are diagnosed properly, and GO TO THE DOCTOR if you have kidney pain or a high fever or barfing.

10. Alls I'm saying is, antibiotics kill all the friendly bacteria in your body, sometimes leading to secondary infections like the yeasty beastie, and antibiotics may not knock out the infection you have (see above re: my peehole). I will keep you posted on my hippie remedies.

So there you have it. More public service for the ladies.

Another piece of public service: two year old boys are inappropriate. From his apparently restrictive yet arousing carseat, on the way home from church no less, Jude wailed "My penis is hard and I need to touch it NOWWWWWW."


  1. Thanks for all the info - as a cautionary tale, I had the same, sad needing-to-pee experience last summer in Lawrence, WI, bychance. Because it was Sunday and my insurance is the same way, I waited to go to the Dr. and took the lovely cranberry pills. By Tuesday morning, I had a f-ing KIDNEY infection, my body was going toxic and I thought I was going to die. By that time, the emergency room, vicodin, and a very sweet boyfriend were the only things that kept me alive. Not fun. Next time, I'll try every single thing on your list in order to avoid that horribleness.

    And - sad for Jude. Church does that for some people, I guess. Good luck with banishing the UTI
    Your friend, no-more-bloody scalp

  2. HILARIOUS (esp. the reference to "yeastie beastie"). And super useful to boot. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Probiotics are also good...

  4. I recently heard a guy on the bus say the very same sentence Jude said, only possibly in a louder voice. What a wonderful world...

    Thanks for the UTI info, sister.


  5. All good info. Just to add one more thing, avoid spermicides. It took years for a doctor to mention that to me and it made a big difference.

  6. Oh yes! And you just reminded me of another thing to add to the list!

  7. Good job at sharing this great info! You and I could be friends (if you could find yourself hanging out with a sincerely-faithful Christian Mom who thinks premarital sex and cursing are best avoided! LOL) Your post made me laugh even though I cringed at some of the things.

    Thanks for getting the good news out there about nutritional sugars (glyconutrients). The world needs to know about them!