Bladder Issues and Me
My Journey from Interstitial Cystitis and Bladder Infections to Healing
For most of my life, my bladder felt perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I had no idea the world of bladder pain and re-occurring infections existed for girls and women. One day in the summer of 2012, during a particularly stressful turn of events in my life and the life of my family, the undeniable world of bladder pain came into sharp focus.
All of a sudden, like a fiery little stick of burning poking up into me, I had pain in my urethra. Peeing hurt! Every time! I felt overwhelmed and fearful of all the changes happening, and this new pain only added to the drama.
So began a three year journey into how and why pervasive urethra and bladder pain and infections, sometimes called Interstitial Cystitis, (especially when no bacteria are detected and the pain persists), get started and stay; AND, how to heal.
What is IT, anyway? At first I did not even know what IT was. My Girl Parts (GPts) hurt SO bad I went to a regular medical doctor to try to figure out what in the world was happening. For me, the fact that I visited a regular medical doctor at an emergency day clinic shows how miserable I was, considering my high-level commitment to natural health.
The practitioner didn't find a high bacteria count, but gave me an antibiotic anyway. I knew the dangers of antibiotic use, especially when unwarranted, but it HURT and I wanted the pain to GO AWAY RIGHT AWAY! So, I took the recommended dosages, along with pro-biotics to counteract the killing of ALL the bad and good bacteria in my gut by the antibiotic. The antibiotic did not work one iota. The pain persisted.
By this time, the pain had worked it's way slowly up my bladder until I felt a continual feeling of fullness in my bladder and had an urgency to pee every two seconds, it seemed. Then, I could only squeeze a couple of drops out of my bladder, of all things. All the while my urethra hurt. This was downright annoying! I just wanted it to go away.
Turning to Natural Remedies
I turned to a natural Chiropractic/nutrition related practitioner. He immediately saw my mental distress from how my life was falling apart and related it to what was going on in my body. He adjusted me with chiropractic using his own unique method, and tested me energetically, working to find the underlying cause. He gave me Standard Process supplements that tested strong with my body.
This Practitioner also had a serious conversation with me, giving strict advice as far as diet. No sugar. No carbs whatsoever. Period. They turn to sugar and feed the 'bad' guys like viruses, bacteria, and parasites that like to reside in our bodies.
My mind was conflicted. Like many of us, I dislike total deprivation. I already knew exactly this information, but was still eating some corn chips, a few bites of Gluten Free cake or cookie, one or two pieces of regular chocolate, sugar sweetened yogurt, half a slice of GF bread in a day. I just wanted a little.
However, I wanted to get better, too! THIS was just too painful! I knew staying on antibiotics continually would harm my body in the long run. They were not working anyway. So, the strict diet won.
Becoming My Own Expert
I began to research bladder infections on the internet and to learn about Interstitial Cystitis and how women and girls are more prone to suffering with bladder problems because of the closed in anatomy of their Girl Parts. See article Here.
The bladder is quite sterile and set apart from the rest of the body, so most bacteria that cause bladder infections are not thought to be caused from bacteria entering from inside the body.
Most bladder infections are caused by migrating bacteria from our own bowel movements. The fecal bacteria migrate to the urethra, then go right up into the bladder. A healthy bladder can take this bacteria and whoosh it right back down and out in our pee.
However, unhealthy tissue can allow inflammation to start inside the mucous lining of the bladder. Bacteria begin to get a foothold in the lining. They make bio-film sheaths to live underneath, shielding themselves from any onslaught of antibiotic we might throw at them. We as women end up with frequent urge to pee, pain in the urethra, and inflammation in the lining of the bladder.
Once I understood the mechanism with which the bacteria were migrating into my bladder, I was able to develop a multi-faceted plan to protect myself and help my bladder heal. I also realized that my urethra had most likely been damaged, probably during the birth of my five children. In addition, I had a habit of being rough with toilet paper, grinding it into my GPts to make sure for sure I was dry there. This habit can damage the urethra over years.
Link to High Dose Progesterone Cream
I worked hard to change the dis-ease state in my bladder, staying on the Foundational Low Sugar diet, and experimenting with supplements. A turning point came two years after the start of the bladder issues. Two VERY long years, I might add.
I had seen a Functional Medicine Medical Doctor a few months before the onset of the urinary problems. He had me do a saliva test, and based on the results, put me on hormonal creams that were made specifically for my body at a Compounding Pharmacy. I had been on this program the entire time I had the infections and pain.
After enduring all of this bladder pain for two long years, I ended up going to a new Functional Medicine Doctor to have my prescriptions for the hormonal creams renewed. She had me take a new saliva test. Unbelievably, she found that I had been on a DOUBLE strength Progesterone cream from the previous doctor's prescription! It was DANGEROUSLY high!
I felt the creams had helped me with hormonal stablity and did not mentally connect their use to the urinary issues. I was concerned that I would crash on a reduced strength prescription. I wanted to keep the old Progesterone prescription. Thankfully, the Docor refused. I had no choice but to take the reduced prescription.
Strangely, over the next few months, I noticed that my bladder symptoms were definitely improving! Only, I still did not related the improvements to the reduced Progesterone Cream until six months later.
One night, still dealing with the bladder issues, although somewhat reduced, and fearful that the infections and pain would return full blown at any time, I began talking to God. I had a strong sense that I was to search the internet again. This time, I went far into the back pages about bladder problems.
To my incredible surprise, I found a link to Progesterone, Interstitial Cystitis, severe bladder and urethra problems, and continual bladder infections, all information hidden on the back recesses of the internet! Entire groups of women have been hurt, some apparently permanently, by high doses of Progesterone.
At this point, I began to incrementally cut down on the amount of the Progesterone cream I was using. I started to see even more healing in my bladder. Over a few months, I got down to a 20% inflamation/pain level as compared to the previously horrible 100% level.
Once again while praying in the night, I felt directed to go to the internet. Again, I found a new protocol in one little section of a web based group forum on bladder issues. That protocol was the final key to helping my bladder fully heal, and it worked immediately. Thank God! You will find that protocol in my Emergency Help for Bladder Issues article in the Front Line Supplements here.
None of this experimenting, learning, and healing process came easy. Three years is a LONG time to be having pain issues in one's pelvis and GPts. By the time these bladder problems were resolved, I had cried many tears over how bad it hurt and how frustrating it was not to find answers. I had cried out to God over and over, asking Him to heal and give me ideas. I pretty much became my own expert on how pervasively plaguing bladder problems are for girls and women. In addition, I realized that I had two things going on; a tendency to Interstitial Cystitis, and an injured, inflamed urethra that allowed bacteria up into my bladder, causing infections
I now walk in peace with my bladder---with some habitual help from me. See my Bladder Care Protocol article here.