Urinary tract infections are the most common outpatient infections in the United States, with prevalence increasing with age. Urinary tract infections (UTI) can cause pelvic pain, urethral burning, urinary urgency/frequency and other pelvic health symptoms. Recurring UTIs are defined as two or more urinary tract infections over the course of six months (or three in one year).
Often a true UTI (tested culture positive) is a precursor to additional symptoms. Antibiotics will ‘clear’ the infection but the pain and symptoms still remain. You might go through multiple rounds of antibiotics for these ‘phantom’ UTIs when the pelvic floor is really the new culprit. The pelvic floor muscles have tightened up to try to protect the area and now are irritating the nerves that run through the pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) may be a result of a true UTI OR it may be the underlying “why” of recurring UTIs. When the pelvic floor muscles that control urination are tight and irritated it’s hard for them to relax completely and allow the bladder to fully empty. When this happens, it’s like a slow-draining sink. Instead of flushing out the waste from the bladder, it begins to accumulate. In the sink this leads to gunky build-up; in the bladder it’s often bacteria that remain and cause another infection.
Two Suggestions to Help with Recurrent UTIs
#1 Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor physical therapy can find and resolve the underlying “why” for lasting relief of UTI symptoms.
We need to help the pelvic floor muscles relax and get back to normal function to allow the bladder to fully empty and flush the waste. Pelvic physical therapy can reduce irritation on the nerves that run through the pelvis and figure out why the pelvic floor was overly tight and irritated in the first place!
#2 D-Mannose: The Natural UTI Fighter
D-Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar you can buy as a supplement. It binds to E. coli in the bladder (and E. coli causes 90% of UTIs)! Studies have shown it’s as effective as antibiotics against an E. coli UTI, without the stomach issues or other problems antibiotics can also cause.
For our patients who have frequent UTIs, many will take a smaller preventative dose of D-Mannose daily to reduce their risk of a UTI. Two (2) grams a day was found to be extremely effective in preventing UTIs for patients!
If you are dealing with recurrent UTIs and are sick of the constant cycle of antibiotics and no answers, pelvic physical therapy may have the long term solution you desire. Click on the the button below to schedule a time to speak with one of our expert pelvic physical therapist.