Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are painful and make you feel terrible. If you’re prone to UTIs, you’ll know all too well how low you can become when you get one.
The danger if you get them frequently is to think that you can solve the problem on your own by simply drinking more water or cranberry juice and riding it out. Unless you’ve worked through one of my cystitis self help books to identify the cause of your UTIs and therefore know what will actually cure your infection, you’re putting yourself at risk.
Cherry Healey, a TV presenter who had been getting UTIs since she was 12, found out to her cost what can happen if you try to just power through rather than seeking help.
She’s opened up about her experiences 10 years ago, when instead of seeking medical assistance she ignored her UTI and tried to deal with it by taking painkillers and drinking more water.
Speaking to the Mirror, she explained that she’d been really busy at work and was preparing to be maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding.
“I left it far too long. I was mainlining painkillers and in a state, sweating and shaky, but I just carried on and went to the wedding as I didn’t want to let anyone down,” she said.
However, she collapsed at the wedding and her then-husband convinced her it was time to get help. She went to A&E on the Sunday and was admitted to hospital for five days.
Her UTI had spread to her kidneys, and as a result she’d suffered permanent kidney damage. “I hadn’t realised that could happen,” she admitted.
Ms Healey revealed that she’s “fastidious” about looking after herself now. “I know what to look out for – if I’ve been for a wee and it’s a bit shorter than normal that’s usually the first sign,” she explained.
She also told the newspaper that there’s a stigma attached to UTIs, with many people mistakenly thinking that women only get them after sex, one-night stands or because they are unhygienic.
“It turns out I’m really susceptible to them. I have learnt you can be as hygienic as you like and as fastidious about looking after yourself and you still get them, so the idea that women who get them are dirty is not true,” she asserted.
If, like Ms Healey, you’re also susceptible to UTIs, know that there is help at hand and you don’t have to suffer or constantly be taking antibiotics to stave off infections. Through my years of experience and research I’ve developed a deep understanding of UTIs, their causes and, more importantly for you, how to cure them yourself.
Although many people instantly equate UTIs to cystitis, this is in fact just one of the infections you could be suffering from. Cystitis affects your bladder, while urethritis affects your urethra. And then there are kidney infections which occur in these organs.
The NHS points out that, while the symptoms of these infections are often similar, there are some specific ones to look for that suggest a kidney infection. These include diarrhoea, feeling or being sick, a very high temperature or feeling hot or shivery, and pain in your sides or lower back. Seeking help is essential in these circumstances.