Recurrent E. coli infections.

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I'm 42 years old, and I came down with a UTI 5 months ago. All the symptoms - burning, urgency, frequency etc. I have had uti before and knew what to expect. Got a culture done and it came back with E. coli growth. I was visiting India at this time and they gave me Norfloxacin for 5 days. I was ok for 10 days after that and I came back to the US, where I live. The right next day I came down again with severe symptoms of pain, urgency and frequency. I wanted to try cranberry juice to see if I could beat it. I didn't want to take more antibiotics. I drank gallons of water and unsweetened cranberry juice and felt a bit better. But after 5 days I was not getting completely over it so I went to the urgent care. They did a dipstick test and told me I had great number of WBCs in my urine, and sent it off to culture. The culture came back as " no growth". But my symptoms continued. Then a week after that I went to regular physician. They again did a dipstick test, and told me I had an infection. The culture came back for E. coli growth of 25,000-50,000. I was given Macrobid twice a day for 5 days. I felt better for a couple of weeks. My symptoms were back again.This time I tried taking D- Mannose. I felt better. But I didn't keep up with it. I kept getting symptoms on and off for 3 months. I didn't go to the doctor in fear of antibiotics again. I got urine analysis test strips from online that checks for 10 different things and started checking my urine regularly. It always showed WBCs in it, but no bacteria. Everything else was negative. But the urine was always acidic. Also it used to smell weird. And looked cloudy sometimes. I tried drinking more water.

But 3 weeks ago I had a really bad burning with urination and when I checked the testing strip it showed up bright pink for nitrites in it. I knew I had an infection. I still hesitated to go to the doctor. I was also going through some very stressful times with family health issues and so I ignored my own problems. But then I decided it was time to go see the doctor. I got an appt with a uro- gynecologist last week. At the doctor's place they took the urine to be sent to culture. They also did a bladder scanner to check if I retained any urine after voiding. That was fine as I didn't retain a lot. Then the doctor did a pelvic exam and said no problem there. He told me I need a cystoscopy and a renal ultrasound. Meanwhile culture came back as E. coli growth, AGAIN!!! I'm now given 10 days of Cefdinir. I was told to take Macrobid at first, but I had some nausea with it the first time when I took it 3 months back. So they agreed to try Cefdinir.

Now, I was reading a lot of posts on recurrent Utis and how many women are suffering the same. I came across something called Esbl E. coli which is supsupposedly resistant to all antibiotics and is deadly in the end. I was wondering if many of us whose infections don't go away has this particular E. coli that is taken hold of our bodies. If any of you ladies have ever heard of this please share your thoughts. And how do we get it checked. Any information shared would do good to so many of us who are suffering from this painful affliction.

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  • Posted

    Hi Lak,

    I just replied to your other post and wondered why it was so brief. Now I see you've written the full story!

    Have they told you it actually is esbl e.coli?  I think they would take it very seriously if it was.  E.coli is notoriously hard to shift from the bladder as it forms colonies on the walls and protects itself with 'biofilm' which few antibiotics can penetrate.  The D-mannose you took has been shown to be one of the few things that will shift it so it's a shame you didn't keep up with it.  Drinking cranberry juice prevents it from clinging to the walls in the first place but once it's there you need D-mannose - regularly. 

    Hopefully the cefdinir will work for you.  I see you have taken Norfloxacin already so please don't let them give you any other fluoroquinolone e.g. Ciprofloxacin (or any other -floxacin!).  You may have felt ok on the Norfloxacin but it will have set you up for problems if you take any of the others.  Some people have severe reactions after just one course while others are fine for two or more, but eventually the damage they do to your body will get you.  The FDA announced about this last July. 

    If they say you'll die without it, then maybe give it a go but please do refuse it if it's not a life or death situation.  See the fluoroquinolone discussions on here if you want to find out more.

    I think you know you've been a bit foolish to ignore the signs for so long but understand that other problems are more important at the time.  Make sure you finish this course of ABx and also start taking the D-mannose regularly.  Drink plenty of water, keep off coffee for a bit as it's an irritant.  Re-read my warnings about FQs and above all, take care of yourself!

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    • Posted

      Hi Miriam,

      Thank you so much for your reply. The latest culture report only listed the growth as E. coli and not anything else. If it was esbl, then do you know if they report it as esbl E. coli?

      Yes, it was very foolish of me to have ignored my problems for so long. I had few good days in between and I made the assumption that if it was a UTI then there was no chance that it will let me have some good days without any pain or frequency. I still don't understand how a UTI can go on and off like that.

      Do you know if I can take d mannose when I'm taking the antibiotics? Or, should I start them after I'm finished with the abx.

      Thanks again for your timely reply.

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    • Posted

      Also, I have now understood the dangers of fluroquinolines. I was always given Cipro for most of my previous UTIs. My UTIs started when I was 24. But they were never recurrent in a short span like this.

      Also I forgot to mention that my periods seem to trigger them. I get them either at the beginning, or at the end of my periods. That's the pattern I noticed these last few months.

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    • Posted

      I'm not really an expert but I would say there shouldn't be a problem with taking D-mannose along with an antibiotic.  They do different jobs so it should be fine. 

      I think they would certainly tell you if your e.coli was esbl as it's very dangerous and they would want to make sure you don't spread it about!  You're most probably worrying for no reason there.

      The link with your periods could be to do with acidity levels changing or just the hormonal changes.  Again, I'm not an expert.  Someone else may come along with an answer, or maybe look at the discussions already on here as that question may have been answered already.

      Take Care.

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Miriam. I have a cystoscopy scheduled this week on Thursday. I will ask the doctor about the period link, and also about the esbl. Ordering D Mannose right away.
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