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Not another UTI?

Many of us have been there…urgency, frequency burning when you pee—if you haven’t, then I am jealous! So you take some Azo over the counter because of course it is Friday at 9pm and your doctor isn’t available until Monday morning, and no one is going to the ER on a Friday night for a UTI (hand to forehead). So you drink cranberry juice all weekend and pray it gets better—nope. So now it’s Monday morning, you call your doctor begging for antibiotics, but wait, they make come in for a urine sample—gahhh! Okay finally, you get some antibiotics. Whew, so much better. But wait, it isn’t better. You doctor calls you two days later and says your urine culture is normal, no infection, have a good day. And you are left still in pain…

Sound familiar? If it wasn’t an infection, what could it is? Well, it could be a few different things, but one such thing it could be is interstitial cystitis. . Inter-what? Interstitial cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder wall that mimics a UTI, though no infection. What the what?

The bladder wall can get quite irritated by the urine. The more acidic the urine, the more it can cause pain. But hang on, could your diet be the issues? When you eat, the GI tract absorbs the nutrients from the food; the body takes what it needs; then filters the rest out through the kidneys and excretes as urine. So by that model, the acidic foods you eat end up increasing the urine acidity.

Okay, acidic foods , so…

…yes you guessed it, all those things you love to eat—caffeine, chocolate (because of the caffeine), alcohol, acidic fruits like lemons and limes, tomatoes (yes, for all you biologist, tomatoes are fruits too) and tomato based products. Wow, well that is slightly defeating! Here is the example I give to my patients. Think of going to Olive Garden—sit down and have a glass of wine, have some salad with dressing (think vinegar), eat a red pasta (tomato) sauce based meal, with a cup of coffee and tiramisu for dessert. Mmmm, delicious—but whoa, super acidic.

I am not here to tell you to stop eating all things great! But what I am telling you is that what you are eating may actually be causing those UTI-like symptoms. I highly recommend you keep a food journal. This works two-fold. 1. you can see what may be the trigger for you, and 2. you can share it with your doctor to see if they can help.

Though remember, if this is something that is occurring more than just once or twice, please call you doctor. There may be more to the story and this is one that you don’t want to brush off!

So, the next time you think you have a UTI—crush that cranberry juice, though hold the vodka, it might make it worse.

…until next time, IrishDoc07

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