October 2, 2007

The Year of the UTI

My second year with vulvodynia was the year of the UTI.

With college back in session, I resumed regular sex with my partner. On top of the persistent pain during and after sex, I started getting frequent UTIs. It seemed like every time I had sex I got a UTI. It was like clockwork. But my UTIs weren’t like typical UTIs. I didn’t experience frequency, urgency or even burning. My UTIs were all about cramping pain.

The pain with urination was far more debilitating than any of my pain associated with vulvodynia. Toward the end of urination I would feel this horrible cramping pain that truly took my breath away. The pain usually didn’t subside for an hour. During that time, all I could do was lie still and wait for the pain to pass. On days when I had a UTI, I didn’t make it to class. I was in so much pain I just couldn’t function.

The UTIs were happening every two to three weeks. I would take 10 days worth of Cipro, feel better, have sex, and be back at the health center within two days of intercourse. It was ridiculous! The health center always took a urine culture, but regardless of the results, I was given antibiotics. Every few weeks I went through another 10-day course of Cipro.

It all began to take a toll on me physically and emotionally. I really started to hate sex. I found myself crying a lot. I was so run down and powerless. It just wouldn’t stop.

After four months, I found a urologist who told me that based on the arrangement of my anatomy, I would always get a UTI from sex unless I was protected by a daily low-dose antibiotic called Macrobid. I asked him if it would ever get better and he said, “maybe after childbirth.”

At least the Macrobid seemed to get the UTIs under control.