UTI related to menstrual cycle/contraception?

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Please be advised that this discussion will be rather long, but I have some interesting symptoms that I would like to discuss with anyone who can relate or simply has an input. 

I've grown up with urinary tract infections my whole life but never really had a SERIOUS issue. Always cure with antibiotics (Keflex, Trimethoprim never worked). 

This year I started a new relationship in January, and ended up getting the contraceptive implant in my arm in February. Before this, there were no issues and sex was more frequent BEFORE getting the implant. Please keep that in mind.

I started getting weird symptoms in February-March that felt like the beginning of urinary tract infections. With my history, most doctors just gave me the antibiotics and sent me on my way. 

However in April I had such intense UTI like pain it scared me so much and cultures were coming back negative with no indication of anything causing them. This obviously scared me as my doctor has told me about interstitial cystitis and it was the last thing that I wanted. It scared me so much. Eventually after three weeks the intermittent pain flares passed and I was able to go back to work. I saw a specialist who found no symptoms of interstitial cystitis when I went in to see him and actually informed me that although a urine sample may have bacteria in it, the sample can still give a negative result as there may not be enough bacteria to classify it as an infection. As a result he gave me a low dose of keflex to take after intercourse. During this intermittent pain, my period lasted for 10 days!

My next period after this was perfectly normal and exactly 28 days after, which is very normal for me. I've always had a relatively perfect cycle. 

Recently, last Monday, I had intercourse but forgot to go to the bathroom after. As someone who is experienced with UTI's I'm ashamed I let myself just fall asleep. I also forgot to take the antibiotic. 

I went to the doctor on the Thursday when the symptoms started to pick up. He did a dip test and my urine came up with white blood cells. He sent it off for analysis and gave me trimethoprim even though I said it never worked. And of course, on Saturday, the symptoms got so bad I had to rush back to the doctor only to find that the sample I gave on Thursday showed up with 'no significant growth'. 

I did another sample and I had to demand that this doctor dip test it - which found white blood cells were still present. This concerned me. I also understand that white blood cells also show up with interstitial cystitis. Freaking out, I demanded Keflex as I was not convinced there was no infection. I was given 500mg 3x a day. Keep in mind this doctor I was suspicious about. She wasn't going to send this new sample off for testing, and even left the lid off it for a prolonged period of time which as a Zoology graduate, I know is a big NO NO with any biological sample. 

Of course, within 24 hours of taking the first Keflex antibiotic my symptoms began to subside and I've felt very comfortable ever since. I've had no influx of pain like I had experienced. 

Yesterday, I just got my period again with nasty cramps 2 weeks after the end of the last one, which is not normal. As I said I have always had a perfect 28 day cycle with no cramps.

None of this, including the irregular periods, ever happened before i got the contraceptive implant

From what I understand, if it was an interstitial cystitis flare the antibiotics would not have made a difference at all as there is no bug to treat. I have not yet been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis as it is being investigated. 

Taking into consideration the information I have given you, I was wondering what everyone thought of my experience? Has anyone else experienced a correlation between UTI or interstitial cystitis flares and contraception and/or menstrural cycles? 

I would be very interested to hear any opinions.  

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  • Posted

    What was the result of the white blood cells on the dipstick?  By that, I mean was it 'trace", +1, +2, etc?

    I would ask the doctor to do a urinalysis that included a Microscopic exam of the urine to see what the white blood cell count is.  That would indicate whether there is a true infection or not.

    I'm not educated much on interstitial cystitis, but from what I've read it is not bacteria related and antibiotics wouldn't help it.

    I was just telling another member on private mail about these cultures.  If the bacteria count is less than 100,000 cfu, they consider it negative.  I don't know what 'no signficant growth' means; what do they consider significant?  Keep in mind that the more diluted the urine, the less bacteria will show up.  Try to provide a sample that is very concentrated.  Also, if you are on an antibiotic (even just one pill) and then have a culture done, it won't be accurate.

    I can't comment on the contraception or menstrual cycles as I've not had either for a very long time.  I tend to think the relationship between them and the UTI is coincidence unless the contraception weakens the immune system allowing a UTI to start.

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    • Posted

      Hi Marilee, 

      Thank you for your input. 

      The white blood cell count was 33. I believe significant bacterial growth involves a number of colonies above 100,000/ml for it to be deemed positive for infection. Between 10,000 and 100,000 I believe is unknown and needs further testing. 

      My samples were very very diluted. I had already had plenty of water.  

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  • Posted

    Hi, Danielle.  Sorry you are going through this. I just want to add to Marilee's post. 

    Nothing in the body is discrete, I mean that it's all connected.  The birth control you are on affects the balance of hormones n your body.  Those, in turn, affect your urogenital system, including the bacterial balance.

    Our bodies all contain good and bad bacteria.  Sometimes the amount of "bad" bacteria begins to override the good and infections develop.  Taking antibiotics helps clear the body of the excess bad bacteria, but not all of it.  

    I suggest you start taking a women's probiotic that contains cultures to bolster the good bacteria in your body.  That might help.  xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda, 

      Thank you for your input. 

      I have had many uti's in my life and not once have I ever taken a probiotic with the antibiotic. I believe that is a big mistake on my part and could have quite possibly led to my strong susceptibility to UTI's my whole life. This time I am currently taking a probiotic as well smile 

      I believe you are right in your statement about contraceptive techniques like the pill and implant. 

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    • Posted

      Glad you're taking a probiotic.  Please make sure you are taking one that is specifically for women--and also that it is properly coated or encapsulated so that what you're taking survives the acid in your stomach.  

      Most otc probiotics are made only for the GI tract.  Best of luck to you! 

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