5:40 pm - 07/18/2007

Sex and Bladder Infections

Here's the stats:

Using Levlen BC
Does not use latex condoms as they irritate her skin and urethra more, has not tried polyurethane condoms
Wears only cotton panties
Goes to the bathroom and washes immediately after sex with antibacterial soap
Washes her hands and makes her partner wash his hands before sex with antibacterial soap
Uses KY Silk lube with her partner and toys
Washes her vibrator before and after a session with antibacterial soap
Drinks lots of water and cranberry juice every day


So here's the bit. I get bladder infections CONSTANTLY. The one I'm experiencing now that I'm going to an Urgent Care center for tomorrow will be my fifth or sixth this year, which is WAY WAY over anything normal and healthy. Last year was not much different. I'm going to get a reference to a urologist to see if anything else is wrong with me because I'm at my wit's end. Now, I never get these outside of sex or masturbation. They will flare up literally in the next day after I do anything with my partner or alone, hands, PIV, toys...all cause terrible URIs that I get a 14 day course of antibiotics for(A course that has a few times not been long enough to take care of the problem). I thought the ridiculous regiments I go through to keep bacteria away from my vagina and thusly my urethra would've helped by now, but they've done practically nothing. It's painful, it sucks, and given that I have had TWO kidney infections thanks to these(Thankfully they were a few years apart), I'd welcome any help or advice anyone could give me. I'm willing to try anything because at the rate that I'm going not only will most antibiotics be useless if I get seriously ill someday, but I'm afraid(And my doctor is too) that I may be scarring my bladder and kidneys with all these infections. The infections have usually been moderate with burning sensation, needing to pee, general discomfort, and bacteria+white blood cells in my urine. The ones that have not been moderate have been severe, with visible blood in my urine and the 'peeing razor blades' sensation.

The only thing I know I haven't tried yet is to pick up an extremely thick, long-lasting lube and that what I'm using now may be too cheap.

Please, advice anyone? :{
peaceolgy 18th-Jul-2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
When you go to the doctor and they culture your urine, does it come back postive?

sakarataryn 18th-Jul-2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
I don't know that they've done anything beyond the standard test to look for the white blood cells and other things in the urine. Is this a gram test(Such as gram positive or negative bacteria) that I should ask for tomorrow?
jennifer0246 18th-Jul-2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
So they're only doing a urinalysis? They should absolutely be doing a urine culture. And yes, it's time to see a urologist.
peaceolgy 19th-Jul-2007 01:34 am (UTC)
You should definitely get a urine culture. I say this because I was having constant "UTI's" for years but the cultures never came back positive. I found out I have a bladder disease called Interstitial Cystitis. It acts much like a common UTI but doesn't have anything to do with bateria.

So, definitely ask for a urine culture to make sure your treating the right thing! IC isn't all that common, so I wouldn't to much about it :).

Feel better!
sakarataryn 18th-Jul-2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
I don't clean the vagina itself, I know that soap in there is a major no-no. I use the soap between the folds of my labia and right over the top of my vagina opening where my urethra is.
lizziey 18th-Jul-2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
Could it be too much antibacterial soap in the urethra? I know when I was little I would get UTI's and Bladder infections from something as simple as a Shampoo-bubble-bath. :(
aliaswho 18th-Jul-2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
That, too, seems a bit off to me. I don't use any soap in the area usually and have only had a couple UTIs/yeast infections in my life. Have you tried using a very mild soap? I've been using Ivory recently and have had no problems yet. Antibacterial just sounds a little harsh for the area, but if you don't think that's the problem then keep on doing as you do :)

Good luck to you!
humofyourvoice 18th-Jul-2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
IAWTC. As soon as I saw that the OP washed with antibacterial soap, I suspected that it was the culprit!
sakarataryn 19th-Jul-2007 12:43 am (UTC)
I do trust the responses I've gotten that antibacterial is likely too harsh and that I should go mild. If you don't mind me asking, what exactly is harsh about soaps like Dial as opposed to the Dove and Ivory soaps?
aliaswho 20th-Jul-2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure. It could have something to do with the amount of fragrance in the soaps (the more, the worse). Antibacterial soaps I think tend to kill all bacteria, both good and bad, while a milder soap might just help with basic dirt removal. Again, I'm just speculating, but that's my best guess.
firesorceress 18th-Jul-2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I definitly wouldn't use anti-bacterial soap anywhere even close to the vagina, cause that's just going to kill all the good bacteria. If you feel you must absolutely use something to wash down there, I would recommend Summer's Eve Feminine Wash, it's soap free, and you can get the kind for sensitive skin. But even that you're not supposed to let go up inside the vagina. That's probably your problem right there.
I had one when I was 12 that turned into a kidney infection, and the doctor told me bubble baths can do it, and not wiping from front to back can do it, cause any bacteria from your bum hole that gets in your vag can immediately cause one.
firesorceress 18th-Jul-2007 11:00 pm (UTC)
Also, I'd say try taking cranberry capsules daily cause that'll give you probably a higher dosage of the good stuff in cranberries without the sugar, avoid sugar because that can feed UTI's is what the doc told me, and try using a type of soap that is meant for sex toys on your toys instead of antibacterial soap.
sakarataryn 19th-Jul-2007 12:42 am (UTC)
The vibrator I use (Sadly, my only toy) is the Lady Luster vibe on goodvibes.com and is a hard, waterproof plastic. What's different about soap for toys as opposed to an antibacterial? Pardon my curiosity. :3 I only thought you needed the soap specifically made for sex toys when you had toys made from silicone or similar materials.
firesorceress 19th-Jul-2007 01:34 am (UTC)
If it's waterproof plastic then you're probably fine as long as all the soap is rinsed off, my understanding is that there are some toys that regular soap can degrade or get soaked into, and then when you put it up there, it can leak out of the surface of the toy. I'm not sure what they do with the soap specially made for toys, but yeah, I'm no pro, and I actually don't own any toys...lol... I've just heard a bit about them :-)
queensugar 18th-Jul-2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
The vagina does, but the vulva surrounding the entrance to the urethra, which is outside the vulva, doesn't necessarily -- though urine can push harmful bacteria out of the urethra (which is why many health care professionals advise urinating after sex).

To the OP -- there are definitely women out there who are at a much higher risk for contracting UTIs, even when taking all sorts of precautions to prevent them. There have been women in my life, and in VP, who contract a UTI after most instances of vaginal intercourse.

For these women, doctors often prescribe regular doses of preventative antibiotics, to be taken after sexual activity. While I know regular antibiotic use is generally frowned upon, this does seem to be a regular and medically approved course of treatment in some cases.

So at this point, I'd advise talking to your doctor about preventative antibiotics. The only other things I can think of would be to ensure that your partner washes his penis as well prior to penetrative intercourse, though since that doesn't seem to help in the case of the vibrator, it may not help with a penis.

Good luck.
queensugar 18th-Jul-2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
Er, outside the vagina.. :)
ktnzgtklws 18th-Jul-2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
You really seem quite thourough!
There are only a few things I can think to recommend, as your system seems pretty good.
First, try switching lubes. KY is pretty crummy anyway, and with the glycerine in it, it can basically act as food for bacteria. This is normally something you pay attention to when someone has problems with BV, but perhaps in your case it's UTI bacteria. (I really like Wet. It used to be only found at adult stores, but I know I saw it in Walgreens the other day.)
Second, do NOT use antibacterial stuff. It's too harsh for the vagina. On your toys, ok, but make sure you rinse VERY well. Same goes for your hands. Even so, I'd try something much more gentle, like Ivory, Dove, or I use Jason Aloe Vera satin body wash. Even then, remember that the vagina itself will self-rinse, all you need to do is let bubbles run down and clean the vulva of any goo.
Thirdly, don't drink cranberry juice! Too much sugar, which can leak in to your urine, and act as food for the bacteria. Most all formulations don't have enough of the actual cranberry in them to be effective, anyway. I would switch to pills, if I were you!
And as long as we're on the case of good vs. bad bacteria, have you tried pro-biotics? This is usually recommended for yeast infections, but the little buggers help out a lot. Just because you've been on antibiotics for so long makes me question the status of your good vs. bad bacteria. You can simply eat a yogurt a day, or buy pills at any health food store (get the ones that are in the refrigerator case, otherwise they're probably dead and no good.)
Last but not least, your partner may actually be the carrier of the bacteria, and re-infects you every time you have sex. If you have any reason to suspect this, try sex with condoms. The pulyurethane ones aren't bad at all, and the lambskin ones are, while expensive, not bad either.
Sorry for the essay! >_<
I really hope this helps, I know how horrid UTI's can be. And PLEASE, go see a urologist, you are way past due!
sakarataryn 19th-Jul-2007 12:40 am (UTC)
I really appreciate the essay! It's very helpful and is giving me some direction that my doctor obviously can't. :3

I've been trying very hard to figure out what new lube to buy, but I'm thinking about simply buying a sampler pack of them from goodvibes.com or a similar company. I do have dove in the house, I'll try that for awhile and put away the antibacterial for my after-work body wash(I work for a taxidermist which is one of the reasons it's in my shower)and keep it away from my genitals.

I had no idea that the sugar in the juices could make things worse. o_O; Will pharmacies and the like have cranberry pills?

While not on purpose, I do eat yogurt every other day as a morning breakfast routine. Any excuse for more yogurt is fine with me. X3

As for the condoms I'm still looking for polyurethane ones, would a big pharmacy(Such as Walgreens) have those too? If not I can make note to buy them over the internet. I was considering condoms again if only because it would prevent even just the salt and dead skin cells from him getting into me. Do polyurethane or lambskin condoms have things to keep in mind like latex ones do? (Such as no silicone or anything like that...)
ktnzgtklws 19th-Jul-2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Well, I'm glad that I could help you. :-)
Any pharmacy or GNC type store should have cranberry pills. Just look for them in with the other herbal pills.
Walgreens carries both the lambskin and the polyurethane condoms, although an internet website would probably have them for a lot cheaper. That is the downside to non-latex condoms, they're a lot more expensive! :-( The nice things about polyurethane and lambskin is that you can use any type of lube. Oil based, water based, silicone based, it all works fine. Lambskin, IMHO, feels better, but they are EXPENSIVE. They only protect against pregnancy, not STD's, as well. The polyurethane ones don't have conclusive studies to say that they protect against anything, but the preliminary studies done show that they protect against everything.
The sample pack of lube is a great idea. Just try and avoid anything that has glycerine in it, as that tends to be what triggers most people. :-)
archangelbeth 19th-Jul-2007 03:04 am (UTC)
Would the lambskin be effective against transmitting bacteria? They're not "approved" for STI/STD prevention, I know. (They are much tougher than latex, though, I've heard. It's one reason we used them -- no breaks ever in over 10 years...)
ktnzgtklws 19th-Jul-2007 05:14 am (UTC)
I'm not sure, to be honest...
They're fine for pregnancy prevention, but not STD.
I would think that they've been sterilized, however, so that they would offer at least some margin of protection?
archangelbeth 19th-Jul-2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Probably better than nothing, true, but I would try the polyurethane as well if the Naturalambs didn't seem to stop the problem -- the polyurethane would seem more likely to stop any swapping of bacteria, etc.

As a side note to the OP: my grocery store carries Naturalamb brand...
laughing_dreams 19th-Jul-2007 04:50 am (UTC)
i have no idea if this is your issue or not but....i will tell my story anyway because well it kinda applies
i got a horrible kidney infection when i was 18
i had great insurance and was referred to a urologist because something about it seemed funky(possible passing of a kidney stone they thought)
then they starting doing scans and saw some sort of shadow by my kidney
tbey could not tell if it was a stone blocking the calyx (the area where the kidney drains) or a growth
turned out it was a type of a growth called a caliceal diverticulum which is basically a sac over the drainage area that was catching all the nasty poisonous stuff my kidney was trying to drain out then dumping it back into my kidney
i ended up having constant uti's while they were trying to diagnose my issue
unluckily i am allergic to sulfa drugs and always had to take cipro for them
you definitely should get to that urologist so they can look at deeper causes such as a possible growth on the kidney or as the above poster suggested IC
leyo 19th-Jul-2007 10:31 am (UTC)
I'm in a similar situation to you, and unfortunately I haven't found a solution yet. :(

Anyway, if you haven't had this done already when you see a urologist you might get sent to have a renal ultrasound to check for any kidney problems. You've said you eat yoghurt anyway, but I read about a Swedish study which found that women who eat a lot of cheese and yoghurt experience less UTIs. Maybe up the yoghurt intake? Are you eating the kind of yoghurt with live bacteria in it? It should say on the label. I think the idea is to increase the amount of good bacteria in your system vs. infection-causing bacteria.

If you're getting these infections even with clean hands/toys/penis then I suppose that suggests the bacteria are coming from your vulva/vagina. Have you tried going to the bathroom before sex as well as after? My doc recommended that to me.

I'm not sure if that's of any help. I really feel for you! :( I know it can put a serious dampener on your sex life.
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