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Bladder infections
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Bladder infections

Does anyone know if bladder infections can go away on their own?  I believe I've had a low-level one for days.  I hate that I have to go to the doctor once again.  This makes the third of fourth this year that I've had a bladder infection, errrrgggggghhhhh  (you don't hear perturbed in my voice, do you?).    

Deb
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There are some home treatments but they are minimally effective.  Some of those are lots of fluids, cranberries (juice or the berry themselves), and I can remember the last one.  I would go in to the doctor though because if a UTI is left untreated it can get into the kidneys and cause more permanent damage.
Tahiri
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I've put a call in the doctor and keeping my fingers crossed that he'll just call in a prescription at the pharmacy (if not, I'm getting an appointment).  Thanks for warning me about damage to the kidneys if this infection doesn't go away--I have forgotten about that.  I'm glad I posted this question!

Thanks,
Deb
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I had a low grade bladder infection for years, and my kidney function is reduced.  Drinking lots of water helps flush out the sysrem.

What is more of a concern is why you are getting so many infections.  If you are not voiding completely this may result in retained urine, which breeds infection.

When you urinate and have finished wait a few minutes before getting up, often a little more will come out, as the bladder empties the remaining urine.  This technique called Double Emptying is the first stage in ensuring good bladder health.

If the problem persists, it is worth getting a urodynamic study done, or at the very least a simple bladder scan.  The scan is straightforward, you go to the nurse, ensuring they have the scan equipement, empty your bladder, and immediately after the nurse smears some electro conductive gel on your bladder area on the skin and holds a hand held device over it.  It will show if there is any residual urine and how much.

Urodynamics is a bit more complex, you pee into a special toilet which measures your rate and quantity of flow, then have a catherter inserted with electrodes to test the health of the bladder muslces, various other tests are done for leakage problems etc.

Then there is a cystoscopy which can be flexible and done with you awake, or if they need to look more carefully or take  a biopsy done under general anaesthetics with a hard cystoscope.  But this will only show structural damage or tumours, the only evidence of chronic infection will be the bladder will appear inflamed.

I would start at the bottom and work up (no pun intended).  Try the plenty of water and double emptying technique, if that doesn't work and you need antibiotics yet, also ask for a bladder scan, if that shows retention get the urodynamic study done, and then only on advice the cystoscopy.

But don't leave infections to fester, they will cause long term damage.  It may be ultimately you are put on a low dose antibiotic to be taken every day for a minimum of three to six months, eg. 100mg per night.  I took that for a year.  Downside is now my body is resistant to it and with an infection I have to take much stronger antibiotics.  But in its time it did clear up a lot of chronic problems.

Bear in mind I am at the moderately extreme end of the scale, having now to mostly self-catheterize to void. This is not common and chances are you have much less in the way of problems.  But at the worst, there is always cathetirization, for me it has prevented me from going into kidney failure and having to run to the hospital every time my bladder is too full.

Simpe question, complex answer!  Didn't mean to launch into all that :)

wish
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Deb,
Everyone has nailed this advice for you... lots of water may help marginally but you really want to be sure that the infection is gone and not just lurking in your bladder.  I'm just coming off a major UTI that I didn't even know I had.  Retetion is a big problem and I am now in the good company of wish with doing self-catherization.  I figure that is much better than losing my kidneys!  Good luck in getting this cleared up.

Lulu
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Basically yes, but no.  The symptoms of a UTI may subside and you may feel better, but it is likely that the bacteria will show up anyway when you check the urine.  Also, an infection may quiet down, but still be causing damage - as mentioned above.  So you should never just rely on the old, "I feel better, so it must be gone."  I can't tell you how many people I cared for over the years - especially those with neurologic involvement in their urinary systems - who ended up with chronic renal damage or renal failure due to untreated, longstanding UTIs.

Get it checked and it even should be checked from time to time after treatment - even without symptoms.  Us folk don't always get the symptoms we're supposed to!

Quix
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You guys all know that usually you can just call the doc's office and have an order for a UA and Culture if needed sent to the lab.  then you can drop by the lab at your convenience.  Once you have a hisotry of repeated infections your doc will usually do this and you don't of the hassle of an appointment and waiting.

Quix
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Thanks for the advice.  I've noticed I do have trouble emptying my bladder & the opposite trouble of leakage.  I don't know how one can have both problems at the same time, but somehow I managed.  I'm not feeling well, now, and may even have a fever.  I'm glad I got a hold of the nurse at the doctor's office.  She called back right away and said a prescription was called in--I just picked up a prescription at the pharmacy.  Thank goodness--not a minute too soon!

Wish, I'm going to try the double emptying, thing.  I'm getting desperate as to not to have this problem again!  Hopefully, this does it for me and I don't get these infections again.  Boy, I sure would hate to have my kidneys ruined.  I can't believe I'd be so cavalier about things!

Thanks again,
Deb
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Deb,
Can  I suggest that once you complete your antibiotics and are sure the infection is gone, you go see a urologist and have a bladder scan done to check you for retention?  My followup last week was a real surprise to me that the retention was a major problem. I have issues with frequency, urgency, hesitation and leakage.... in other words, everything!  funny how it works that way.  
Stay well, Lulu
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Remember that urinating is an extremely complex process.  From the filling of the bladder --> the person acknowledging the need --> the tightening of the external sphincter -> heading for the bathroom --> voluntarily relaxing the sphincter when the time is ready --> sending the signal for the bladder to contract which causes the big bladder "detrusor" muscle to push the urine out.

That sequence can go wrong in soooo many ways so that you can have leaking and yet have retention, you can have frequency yet not be able to let the urine go, and any combination.

If the sensation to the overfull bladder is not intact, the brain does not get the signal that you have to go.

The bladder detrusor can spasm and push urine out when you are not ready.

The external sphincter may not relax when you tell it to and you may have "hesitancy" or it may spasm and relax repeatedly so you start and stop.

The sphincter may lose your voluntary control and let urine leak before you are ready.

The sphincter may relax just fine, but then the detrusor muscle stops contracting and the bladder doesn't empty enough causing retention.

Also remember that the stool in the rectal vault may press against the bladder causing urgency and frequency because of the pressure.

Conversely the stool (especially if constipated and not realizing it) may press against the neck of the bladder above the sphincter and not allow the urine to pass causing hesitancy and/or retention.

The sphincter may not have any tone at all and the urine may leak out as it arrives in the bladder.

Read the above and realize that, in MS, any combination of the above may happen at different times so you can pee too often, not pee enough, leak a lot of the time, and not be able to pee at all.  What a conundrum!

I am planning an epic discourse explaining all of this.  It just hasn't bubbled to the surface yet.

Quix
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Just to clarify if you have retention this can be misinterpreted as leakage.  What happens is as your bladder fails to empty it just dribbles towards the end of voiding as the pressure is reduced, and this dribbling can go on endlessly.  Oten the temptation is to then just get up thinking your done but the bladder is still trying to empty, hence the leakage.  

Urgency is a major symptom of cystitis.

Hestitation is a form of retention, it is a matter of degree - if you have a slow stream which takes ages to start and ages to finish it is a form of retention.  It can come on and off, eg. on some ocassions you void normally, and on others dribble away, for want of a better word.

Again, at the extreme end of the scale, my urge to void bears just about no relation to how full my bladder is.  I have days where I am constantly rushing to the toilet, catheterizing, feeling I cannot hold on any longer, but my bladder is just about empty.  Other times I have no urge at all to go and just a bit of a tummy ache, catheterize as a matter of routine, and void about twice the holding capacity of the bladder.  The nerve signal is clearly just not sending the right messages to my brain.  Worse yet I do on ocassion entirely lose continence, with such a powerful urge to void there is no time to get to the bathroom and all goes at once.  Thankfully this is still rare, and always associated with my periods, so I am wearing protection anyway and at home.  

Just launching into my own woes here, not much use but got it off my chest.  Thanks.  

Should you ultimately go down the route of self-catherization, this will be something which will ultimately transform your life for the better.  Family don't understand why I do it.  But from my side, suddenly I have been freed from the endless cycle of infection - still get them but less - having to turn up as an emergency in hospital with a bladder about to burst, and knowing that I am in control of my voiding.  For a few minutes fiddling around a few times a day, it gave me a lot of my life back.  The catheters and cleaning products are small enough to fit in any bag.  I am in awe of whoever invented these fabulous things.  Only worry was one ocassion where I lost strength and coordination in my hands, you need good dexterity.

Okay, enough, this is your post.

get better soon

wish
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Lots of good information here--I'll have to reread when I'm not taking pain medicine (tad bit loopy from the Darvocet but feeling muuuuuccccchhh better).

I'm thankful for my friends on this forum.  Hugs, Deb
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Great post and responses.  This has helped to explain some of what I am experiencing.  I'm moving the bathroom issues up to top of my list and will visit yet another specialist.  Really useful info.  Thank you everyone.  
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I have managed thus far to evade the UTI's so far, but for how long who knows.

Since '01 I have lost the ability to increase the stream spead by flexing the muscle that Quix is mentioning (I think), so it just kind of comes out of its own volition and gravity.   I definitely don't empty and leak afterwards too.   All of a sudden about 6 months ago, urinary urgency came from out of nowhere and has stayed like an unwelcome house guest.   So, the clock's surely a'tickin'.

I have had 3 prostate infections from the netherworld though!    I told the doc "I haven't been laying down, I promise!"

Cipro is good stuff when you need it.   106 degree temps get old pretty quick!

Ricky Ricardo
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I can urnite but it is slow starting and picks up and empties out
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went to dr he said urine was ok...but why the slowness
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hi MaryKarnes, welcome to the forum here.  I think you will find lots of useful information.  You have posted on an old thread - you might want to start a new one with your question and someone will be abnle to help you.

You might also want to read the health pages about bladders and incontinence  - there is tons of information there too.  

Welcome again and I hope to see you around.

be well,
Lulu
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This was an incredibly timely post for me!  I've had repeated UTIs--each one getting progressively worse.  I thought I'd broken the cycle, not having had one in 1 1/2 years.  But on our 15 hour cross country drive on the 23rd, about half way through I oculd feel one coming on.  By the time we arrived at our destination, we had to head straight to the ER.  Luckily they were not busy and dx an early kidney infection.  They offered to keep me over night for IV antibiotics, but given the coming holiday, I just went the oral route.  Also, luckily, they gave me 10 days so as to make sure it doesn't come back before I get home.

I had noticed what felt like spasms and incomplete emptying in the week or two leading up to the infection.  I thought I was imagining it, but I guess not.  I think I need to see a doctor for this (what kind??) but ugh--one more appt!  

Stephanie
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