Category Archives: Women’s Issues

Your UTI Survival Guide

Let’s be honest. This is embarrassing. Nobody likes to talk about the dreaded UTI, but it’s real, and it affects 1 in 5 women in their lifetime. Men get them, too, but much less frequently than women. It’s easier for bacteria to get to our parts, and we have a shorter urethra than men. I happen to be an expert on the Urinary Tract Infection, which is not a title I enjoy having. However, my experience with UTI’s makes me want to pass on my knowledge of how to survive one with others because…they are HORRIBLE. THEY SUCK BIG DONKEY BALLS. If I can help anyone get through a UTI as quickly and painlessly as possible, then at least I can say my experiences have led to some good. So let me drop some knowledge on ya.

First off, the name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an infection of the urinary tract. So if you have an infection anywhere along your urinary tract, i.e. kidneys, urethra, bladder, ureters, then you have a UTI. Yay!

How do you know that you have a UTI? You fucking know. There’s no way to not know. There’s some shit going down. I mean peeing with a UTI is incredibly painful. You feel like no matter how many times you pee, you still have to go. You not only have to go, you have to go right god damn NOW. Like…the worst you’ve ever had to pee and also it hurts really badly. Isn’t that fun? So that’s basically the gist of a UTI, but other symptoms can include cloudy/bloody/smelly urine, low fever, aches in your abdomen or lower back. Now when I get a UTI it’s usually just painful urination + strong need to urinate.

Why, you may ask, am I an expert? I have suffered from chronic UTI’s pretty much since 2009. I had 7 UTI’s in 2010 and then 4 at the beginning of 2011. It’s embarrassing to say that, but there it is. It sucked so much ass. I felt dirty and gross and stupid because I kept getting them. I mean, WT fuck?! Why God, why do I continue to get these fucking horrible infections that ruin life?

I was incredibly paranoid about cleanliness, constantly worried about getting anything even remotely dirty near my poonanny. My boyfriend LOVED that, let me tell ya.

Me: When was the last time you washed your penis?

Boyfriend:…really?!

So I had been going to a Minor Medial clinic for my UTI’s because when you have one, you want it treated urgently. You don’t want to make an appointment and wait. So after treating me for my last UTI, they finally suggested that I see a specialist. So that’s what I did. I made an appointment with a urologist and she discussed with me what usually causes a UTI. UTIs result from bacteria entering your urethra. Having sex, not wiping properly, not peeing after sex, etc, etc. But I was doing EVERYTHING right. I was majorly paranoid about avoiding bacteria causing stuff…so what was the deal? Well, apparently some people are just lucky that way! My doctor informed me that they don’t know a lot about what causes people to suffer from UTI’s over and over when there are no other issues (like diabetes, STD’s), but they think it has something to do with genetics. Some people are just more prone to getting them, and that includes me. Also, my mother as I later learned. Most likely it has something to do with the way my junk is shaped. It’s easier for bacteria to get up in there. Thanks mom!

So on to the important stuff: How do I get through a UTI? What should you do?

1. The second you get one, you will know. Most likely you will go to the bathroom, and peeing will hurt like a mother. After you finish peeing, you’ll still feel like you have to pee. The most important thing at this point is to be calm.

2. Get you some drugs. Drugs drugs drugs. You need medicine to treat the pain. AZO Extra Strength is usually what I go for. In fact I recommend that you just keep a stash in your house always. Like advil, everyone will need it at some point. So if you don’t have any at hand, then I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. You’re gonna have to go to the drug store. Get some, take immediately. Hopefully you’ve got a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/mom handy to go get that shit for you. Cause what you’ll wanna be doing is…

3. Sit on the toilet. Just sit there. Wait for the AZO to kick in. Have someone bring you some water or juice. Drink ALL of it. Keep drinking constantly. I find that sitting on the toilet is helpful because you’re just going to keep running back and forth to the bathroom anyway. Apologize to your family or roommates, and just sit on the toilet…crying if you must.

It’s okay to cry. It’s not baseball.

4. Once the AZO kicks in (and thank GOD), you will know. It’ll take the pain and urgency away. Your urine will also be orange or blue depending on what medicine you use.

5. Go to the doctor. You have to. It’s not a virus, and it won’t just run its course. It’s an infection that has to be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise the infection will spread from your urethra to your bladder and then your ureters and finally your kidneys. Kidney infections are bad. BAD. Chills, fatigue, high fever, confusion, abdominal pain, bloody urine, nausea, vomiting…it’s serious. Go to the doctor before all that happens. The doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will have you pee in a cup.

6. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. When peeing in the cup, you will most likely see some directions somewhere in the bathroom. FOLLOW the directions. Don’t touch the inside of the cup or the rim. Don’t touch the inside of the cap on the cup. Wash your hands before you touch the cup. Use the sanitary wipes to wipe your hooha. Wipe it really well – front to back. Pee in the cup without touching the rim to your hooha. You must do this exactly BECAUSE if they don’t get a good sample from you then they might catheterize you in order to get a pure sample. And as anyone who has ever had a plastic tube shoved up your urethra knows, you’re gonna want to avoid that at all costs.

7. If you indeed have a urinary tract infection (you could have an STD, which is why you have to see a doctor), then your doctor will prescribe you an antibiotic and probably some heavy duty pain medication.

8. Go fill prescriptions immediately. Now, the last time they prescribed me heavy duty pain medicine, the copay was like $80. So I said fuck it and just stuck with the AZO. Works just as well, but use your own judgment.

9. Take the antibiotic as directed. You have to take ALL of it. Even after you start to feel better. The antibiotic will probably make all of your symptoms disappear in 2 or 3 days. So after that you can stop taking medicine for the pain but you have to continue with the antibiotic until it’s all gone. Otherwise the infection will not totally leave your body, and you’ll be back at the doctor with another UTI within 2 weeks.

For the chronic UTI sufferer (like me), you will be prescribed a suppressant. Basically it’s just a low dose of an antibiotic that you would take to treat a UTI. So whenever I start to feel symptoms coming along, I just pop one of those pills. If I have symptoms more than 3 days in a row while taking the suppressant then I have to go to the doctor. But I gotta tell you, I haven’t had symptoms for more than a day since they gave me the suppressant. It rules. It kicks all the ass.

I’ve also got some handy tips for preventing UTI’s in the future.

-Drink water. Drink a LOT of water. You know you’re drinking the right amount of water when your urine is almost clear. Drinking water means that you pee more frequently. When you’re peeing more frequently, then your urinary tract is flushed of all the bacteria more often. Also avoid alcohol and caffeinated stuff. It tends to dehydrate you, leading to less pee. Less pee is bad.

-Don’t hold your pee. Pee freely people! Let it flow. Holding your urine for long periods of time makes it difficult to pee all of your pee out. It sounds silly, but it just happens. When you don’t totally empty your bladder, then bacteria gathers, causing ruin and destruction. It’s especially important to totally empty your bladder before you go to sleep at night. Don’t want that staying in for 8 hours.

-Eat right. The reason you’re told to drink cranberry juice when you have a UTI is because cranberries have a lot of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is acidic and destroys bacteria. So if you’ve got all the right amounts of vitamins and minerals in your system, especially Vitamin C, then you’ll prevent bacteria from screwing up your life.

-Wipe front to back. I mean…you know that.

-Pee after sex. No one had told me this before I first started having sex, but it’s a must. I also now usually wash with soap and water before and after sex, too. Washing before is extra important. We all get busy, and maybe you haven’t showered in a couple of days. Avoid the sexy until you clean up. Better safe than sorry. Peeing and washing get rid of the bacteria that’s around your sassy friend down there. Clean it up so that it won’t enter your urethra while having sex. There’s a lot of sweat and friction and grossness going on….ew. Clean it up.

-Showers are better than baths if you suffer from UTIs frequently.

-Some people say to go with pads instead of tampons. I’ve never found that tampons are a problem really. Just make sure that you wash your hands before handling a tampon. Don’t like do some farming and then immediately put a tampon in. That’s silly.

So remember that you’re in good company. 1 in 5 women, people. You’re going to get through it. Go to the doctor, follow these rules, feel better.

Renegade Grannies

This is just the best thing ever.

Response to a Facebook Status

One of the main reasons Kacie, Abby, Alina, and I started Vageniuses was to be able to express our views without the ridiculous back and forth that generally occurs on Facebook statuses. Additionally, it’s difficult to fully express your views in comment form. So my very first post has (of course) been prompted by a nauseatingly ignorant Facebook status from my Newsfeed today. It read:

“Contraception is medicine. Pregnancy is a disease. We’re in trouble.”

Now, let me preface my response by stating that this status was made by a male. This particular male is also a Caucasian, Evangelical whose status updates and comments have continually ticked me off over the past few years. He has every right to make these statements, obviously, but I personally feel that one should educate themselves before making such pronouncements.

My first response was to rant angrily at him via comment. Then I thought, “Why the hell am I friends with this person? I met him once like three years ago…” Anyway, he got defriended. STILL, his ignoramusness (new word!) has now prompted an extensive blog post.

1) First issue: You are a man. You do not have lady parts. You do not have a uterus. Can we all agree that you should SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS WITH FEMALE CONTRACEPTION. Thanks. (Much appreciated if you would read the capitalized words with extra emotion).

2)You are not a healthcare professional! You have not been to medical school. You do not specialize in women’s health. So, PLEASE SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.

3) Contraception is medicine! This is apparently really difficult for white, conservative, Evangelical males to understand. So here are some facts:

-Birth control is prescribed for PCOS. “Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Sydrome). As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.” This comes from Women’s Health. PCOS results in a variety of symptoms, just one of which is cysts growing on the ovaries. Now, treating PCOS, as the site states, often requires a multi-option approach, but as you can see the medicine women are often prescribed is birth control. The other things listed there are for other symptoms of PCOS, like hair growth and acne. Again, they are often used in combination with birth control. Keep in mind that when Rush Limbaugh referred to women who want birth control to be covered by their insurance plans as “sluts” and “prostitutes”, that he was also saying that to the 11-year-old girl with PCOS. In addition, women can and do die from burst ovarian cysts. Birth control helps to prevent cysts from growing on the ovaries. It saves lives.

-Birth control is also prescribed for Endometriosis, which also affects millions of women. It is an extremely painful disease that only affects women. Here’s the definition via Mayo Clinic. And here are the treatments. As you can see, hormonal birth control is used to regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle to help prevent the debilitating pain that comes with this disease.

-Birth control is prescribed for amenorrhea. As Mayo Clinic tells you, amenorrhea is the lack of a period. Now, of course that happens during pregnancy and menopause, but it has other causes (like anorexia) which make the condition something to worry about. It can and does often happen as a result of chemotherapy. Yes, that’s right. Treatments for cancer like chemotherapy can cause a woman’s period to stop. It’s normally temporary, but a doctor will decide if a woman needs to be prescribed birth control to aid in restarting her period. So yeah, the Rush Limbaugh “slut” comment was also referring to cancer patients. Way to go, Rush. Way to go.

-Birth control is prescribed for menstrual cramps. I don’t have to provide a definition for this, right? Most women get cramps. When those cramps are too powerful to be helped by over-the-counter medication, doctors will often recommend birth control. Birth control also can help if a woman’s periods are overly long or heavy. Also, if the symptoms that occur before or during a woman’s period are overly horrible (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.), then birth control can help that. Here’s a link, but I have personal experience with this. My gynecologist recommended birth control to me because my periods were very long and were accompanied by symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. It sucked and birth control helped. I still use it for that purpose.

-There are many, many reasons that birth control would be prescribed to a woman. Which brings me to my next point…

4) Do you have health insurance? Great. When you go to the doctor because you are sick or for a checkup and that doctor writes you a prescription, when you go get that prescription filled you expect that your insurance should pay for it. In fact, I bet it annoys you when you are written a prescription and for some unexplainable reason known only to health insurance companies, your medication is only partially covered. Perhaps there is a large copay for that medication. That is annoying and frustrating and wrong, right? Well that is how women feel about birth control! My doctor prescribed it to me. He said I need it. Therefore, I feel like my insurance company should pay for it with NO copay. Thanks for playing.

5) I’ve been assuming that your status concerned the current controversy over the Affordable Care Act’s rule that insurance plans have to cover birth control and other preventive health measures with no copay. So let’s address that directly. Your thinking is that this rule somehow violates religious freedom. Now, if the law stated that all women of childbearing age will be forced to take birth control daily until the government allows them to bear a child, then I would say that definitely violates religious freedom. Or even if the law said that Catholic or religiously affiliated universities, hospitals, etc. had to hand out birth control pills to their students and employees and patients, I’d even say that crosses a line. BUT THE LAW DOESN’T SAY THAT. All the ACA does is say that if you employ people and provide them with health insurance, then that health insurance plan that you offer to your employees has to cover contraception. That’s it! That’s all it says! AND since people like you started fa-REAKING out about it, the law was amended to say that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals, etc. don’t even have to pay extra for those plans! The costs are shifted to the insurance company. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT? How does this violate your religious freedom? It doesn’t. This is FAKE outrage because Republicans (and, let’s face it….lots of politicians) essentially work directly for insurance companies. They take money from health insurance companies and then make laws to insure that those people who own the insurance companies make out like bandits. Insurance companies will lose some money for their CEO bonuses and the like because of the ACA, and so the Republicans fake outrage at this one rule because they know that Evangelicals like you will join them in their collective hissy fit. Republicans in general don’t want the law to exist, but it DOES. It does exist. It’s law that millions are already benefiting from, including, probably YOU (facebook status guy). This is really an issue about money in politics, but I’ll address that another time…

6) This applies to many aspects of Evangelical/Christian/Republican thinking, but let me just say…when people tell you that you can’t discriminate against women, gays, Latinos, African Americans, etc., that’s not a violation of your religious freedom. It’s pretty simple. You don’t get to spread hate and fear and make laws based on hate just because you are part of a religion. There is a separation of religion and government in this country. In fact, it is that separation which insures that people of ALL religions can practice in freedom in this country. If you don’t like that, then move to Afghanistan or the UAE. They really respect religion there. Also…pretty sure birth control is a no-no.

7) Over 99% of women have used or are using birth control in America. Get over it already.