UTI Symptoms Came Back

Looks like my combination of things didn’t work perfectly. At around 4pm yesterday I started getting a pain down there, and when I peed, it hurt at the beginning. I decided to go ahead and take the Ciprofloxacin. Sometimes UTI symptoms can disappear, but the infection is still there. I didn’t want to risk the infection spreading. The last thing I want is a kidney infection. I’m just hoping I don’t get a yeast infection thanks to the antibiotics. This just goes to show that fighting recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections is indeed an on going journey. A frustrating journey for sure but one I will continue on. What have I learned from this UTI episode? Maybe I shouldn’t have rough sex towards the end of my period. I usually don’t have sex until my period is completely over, mostly because it’s irritated down there and I feel I might get a yeast infection if I have sex at that particular time. This time though, everything felt great down there and I was crediting it to my ban of artificial sweeteners in my diet.

This oh so annoying UTI episode also shows me that it is indeed a combination of things that keep the infections at bay. A good diet isn’t enough for me; I have to do all the other little things in perfect unison to keep the infections away. I do feel much better this morning. There is no pain at all when I pee. I think I will take one Ciprofloxacin pill this morning in addition to my normal pill routine of TheraCran and Azo Yeast and then that will be it for me. As far as the yeast infection, well I don’t have one yet. I’m taking 3 Azo Yeast pills a day this week because I feel a little irritated down there, but nothing that isn’t normal the week after my period. There goes my little experiment with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. I don’t know if eliminating them from my diet helped the irritation the week after my period or not because the irritation I’m feeling could be from the antibiotics. I’m still going to meet my two week goal of not having them in my diet.


Day 4 No Artificial Sweetener

Today marks day four of not having any artificial sweetener. It seems to become easier the longer I go. I feel good, and I’ve noticed some weight loss, even though I’m not trying to loose. I haven’t had a single headache since I made this change in my diet. I also find I don’t snack as much as I did when I was having artificial sweetener. Yesterday I was out of town doing some shopping at one of those stores where you buy things in bulk. I was getting a tiny bit hungry and I thought, “oh, I’ll just get a big box of those low carb chocolaty bars and snack on one of those on the way home”. Then I remembered they contain artificial sweetener. I was almost thankful because I know it would have been a miracle for me to make it the long drive home and only eat one of those delicious bars. The thought of snacking completely erased my mind after I realized I couldn’t buy them. I waited until dinner, when I was actually hungry, to eat. My meals so far have looked like this:

Tuesday

Breakfast – Wasn’t hungry, so I drank 2 large glasses of lemon water

Lunch – 8 chicken wings, side salad (lettuce, onions cucumbers) with Ranch dressing, a couple of pieces of beef jerky, tall glass of water, club soda

Dinner- Handful of cashews, big salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, cheese, chopped hard boiled eggs) with Thousand Island dressing, 2 large glasses of water

Wednesday

Breakfast – 4 long stalks of celery, 2 large glasses of water, cup of coffee black

Lunch – 12 meatballs covered in cheese, club soda

Dinner – 12 chicken wings with Ranch dressing, 3 club sodas

Thursday

Breakfast – Wasn’t Hungry, drank 1 club soda

Lunch – Large grilled shrimp and spinach salad salad with hot bacon dressing, 8 small pieces of beef jerky, 1 large glass of water, 1 small glass of water

Dinner- Big salad (lettuce, alfalfa, cheese, tomatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds) with Thousand Island dressing, cup of cashews, 1 club soda, small glass of water

I also wanted to add that in addition to the artificial sweeteners I listed in my last entry (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose), I am also avoiding sugar alcohols, which can come in the following forms: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, hydrogenated starch, hydrolysates, maltitol. They’re not exactly classified as artificial sweeteners, but they are said to have some effect on those prone to yeast infections and urinary tract infections. Sugar alcohols are different from artificial sweeteners because sugar alcohols are not calorie free and they contain carbohydrates. Therefor sugar alcohols can have some effect on blood sugar levels. I thought it would be wise to avoid those as well because many of the snacks I feel I have become addicted to contain sugar alcohols.


No Artificial Sweeteners for Me

For the next two weeks, I am making a change to my diet.  Lately I’ve felt a dependency on diet sodas, and artificially sweetened treats. I am challenging myself to cut out all artificial sweeteners in my diet for two weeks. Artificial sweeteners include saccharin (Sweet n’ now), aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda). The diet sodas I drink contain aspartame. All of the sugar free snacks  I make contain Splenda, and my favorite store bought sugar free treats contain Splenda or saccharin. My diet will consist of vegetables, meat/fish, and a little cheese. To drink I will have water, club soda, caffeine free hot tea, or caffeine free black coffee.

I decided to make this change to my diet because many diets for controlling recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections say to avoid artificial sweeteners. I figured there must be something to it, if several of the diets say it’s a no no. Although I have not had a full blown yeast infection in over a year, I still get that little twinge feeling down there the week after my period and have to increase my dose of Azo Yeast pills to prevent myself from getting a yeast infection. I’m hoping this change to my diet will fix the irritation at the end of my period.  Other than 1 week out of the month, I don’t have to increase my Azo Yeast dose. My hypothesis is during that specific week when I’m most prone to a yeast infection, the artificial sweeteners aggravate things down there. My urinary tract doesn’t seem to be bothered by the artificial sweeteners at all. Pure sugar and white carbs are the only things that spark a UTI for me.

I also made the decision to stop using artificial sweeteners for two weeks because I am curious to see how the rest of my body feels without the artificial sweeteners. Maybe I’ll have more energy, maybe I’ll be less grumpy, or maybe I’ll sleep better. I’ve read you can actually become addicted to artificial sweeteners, much like a person can become addicted to regular sugar. Artificial sweeteners make your brain confused because the enzymes in your mouth start to prepare your cells for an insulin surge when you taste something sweet. With artificial sweeteners, the insulin surge never arrives and your brain feels cheated. This temporarily distracts your brain, but before long you’ll be craving the sweet taste again.

I always tried to keep my artificially sweetened snacks to a minimum, but lately I’ve been eating more and more of them. My weakness last week was CarbSmart ice cream bars–chocolate shell with vanilla ice cream in the middle on a stick. They taste just like the regular ones and are oh so delicious. Six come in a box and I had eaten all six in the course of 24 hours. At first I say, “I’ll just have one”. I have one and feel satisfied but then ten minutes later I want another. The cycle seems to repeat itself. It could just be all in my head but after an artificial sweetener binge,  I feel something similar to a sugar rush. I feel a little light headed and energetic temporarily and usually later on I get a headache.

Today is my second day  of not having any artificial sweeteners. It is purely a sweet free diet since I don’t eat regular sugar anyway. Yesterday I did fine. Although I won’t say it was easy. After dinner I found myself wanting a Diet Root beer. I would have wanted one of those ice cream bars, if there had been any in the freezer.  I ate a piece of beef jerky instead of grabbing the Diet Root Beer that was tempting me every time I opened the fridge. Foods high in protein are said to help sweet cravings. I felt very sleepy at about 9:30pm, which is extremely unusual for me. Normally I got to bed around 1am. I felt good when I woke up this morning, which is expected after about 10 hours of sleep. I wasn’t hungry, so I waited until lunch to eat. Right now I’m really craving something sweet though. I just ate lunch–chicken wings and a salad and a few pieces of beef jerky. The jerky didn’t seem to kill my urge for something sweet this time but I’m still holding out. It would be sad to not even last two days. Tonight I’m going to the grocery store because I don’t have much food here. I’m thinking if I keep plenty of things to munch on, then I’ll forget all about the artificially sweetened stuff.

After my two weeks, I may give Stevia a try. It’s a sweetener that contains no sugar but isn’t artificial. The local grocery stores don’t carry it, so I’ll have to order it online. I haven’t gone the Stevia route before because artificially sweetened products are much more accessible. I’ve found some sugar free gum online with Stevia, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pre-packaged products out there with stevia. Because of this, you have to do the cooking yourself. I will keep you posted on my two weeks without artificial sweetener results. Wish me luck!


To Shave or Not to Shave

We’re talking about pubic hair here, in case you didn’t catch my little phrase. In today’s time, shaving your pubic hair seems to be the norm. All the nude pictures running around on the internet show a shaved vagina, so it’s no wonder people think it’s the norm. Don’t feel left out if you’re still choosing to go natural. There are many benefits of both and either way you choose, you are not alone. Some opt for a completely shaved look, while others may just shave the bottom half near the vagina entrance and up to the area surrounding the clitoris. Others may shave some type of design or have a racing stripe running down to the clitoris. Obviously, what you do with your pubic hair is a personal preference. There are several different options for removal. Shaving  is probably the least painful but must be done at least once a week or else it will start to itch. Waxing lasts longer but is a little painful. Hair remover creams can sometimes irritate the area. Laser hair removal I’ve heard is extremely painful but definitely gives you long term results. There are many reasons for shaving. Some people feel cleaner or sexier when they are shaved down there. You don’t have to worry about pubes poking out when you wear a bathing suit. Shaving also makes the area more sensitive and some feel they get aroused more quickly. Many women also feel more comfortable receiving oral sex while shaved down there.

Personally I have been down both paths. In my early teens I sported the full on bush.  I could have cared less what I looked like down there. Then my high school sweetheart suggested I shave my pubic hair. I was surprised, a little confused, and quite scared to try it. I barely touched myself down there washing in the shower, and now I was about to go on uncharted territory with a razor. The idea of shaving had never even crossed my mind before. I decided to give it a try though. I trimmed with scissors first, and then shaved with shaving cream and a cheap disposable razor. I cut myself several times. I also got really bad razor burn. It hurt to put pants on. I didn’t try shaving again until college. For the remainder of high school I  sported a neatly trimmed bush. When I shaved in college, it seemed to work out fine. No razor burn. I had learned the tricks of the trade. I invested in a decent razor, Mach 3. I always shaved with the grain, never against. I’ve heard of some girls shaving against the grain to get the closest shave, but my area was always way too sensitive to shave against the grain. Most of the time I shaved in the shower and always with shaving cream. The warm water and steam helps loosen and soften the hair and gives you a better shave with less irritation.  I continued shaving until about a year after I was married. I decided to just let it grow. Once you start shaving, sometimes it’s hard to stop because you know you’ll have to bear the growing out itchy stage.

One of the reasons I let it grow was because I read some where that your pubic hair actually does serve a purpose. For one, it is said to better retain secretions that make your partner more sexually attracted to you. Since growing it out, I have noticed a slightly stronger vaginal scent. It’s the same scent as always, so it doesn’t stink, but I just smell it more. When I was shaved, and I stuck my fingers between the top lips and then smelled my finger, the scent was very faint. If I do it now, the smell is more prevalent. Pubic hair also acts as a protector against friction during sex. After sex, my pubic area was sometimes red from all the rubbing on bare skin. The area above the clitoris was especially red. The big selling point on going full on fur was that pubic hair helps keep bacteria from entering the vagina. Any bacteria that would normally go into the vagina while shaved, gets stuck to the pubic hair and is washed away when you shower. Pubic hair can help prevent unnecessary infection by trapping bacteria. I decided since I had such a history of recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections, it might be wise to let it all grow. In addition, often times the methods used to remove all of the pubic hair can upset the pH balance of the vagina. Particularly shaving cream, shaving soap, and hair removal creams can all upset the pH in the vagina. These products come in very close contact to the vagina opening when you choose to go completely bare. This may not bother the average person, but for people like myself, it can aggravate the vagina and throw your pH out of whack, which  can invite infection.

Maintenance down there is now a breeze. There aren’t really any detailed instructions for growing out your pubic hair–just let it grow. Some may want to do a little housekeeping down there once in a while. I try to keep mine fairly tidy. About once a week I shave the sides with a mach 3 razor. I do this simply because I wear bikini style underwear, and I don’t want my pubes sticking out. Once a month, I run a beard clipper on a number 3 setting over all of my pubic hair. I like to keep my hair long enough to pull on but not long enough to braid. I save a lot of money on razors now that I’m not shaving the whole thing bare. One more thing I will add, sex feels better. Rough sex no longer irritates the outer pubic area. If you experience recurring infections, you might want to try going au natural down there.


TriNessa Review

TriNessa is the generic form of Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control. It has a combination of female hormones, and these hormones prevent the release of an egg from an ovary. It also makes it more difficult for sperm to reach the uterus because it causes changes in your uterine lining and cervical mucus. TriNessa can also be used to treat severe acne. It should not be used while pregnant or breast feeding, and like with most birth control pills TriNessa increases your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You shouldn’t smoke while taking TriNessa. The 28-day pack of pills contains 7 reminder pills (pills that contain no medicine). The reminder pills in my pack are green. You don’t have to take the reminder pills. Depending on the instructions from your doctor, you will either take your first pill of the pack on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period begins. The pills must be taken every day until you reach the green pills. Once the days on the green pills are up, start a new pack.  The birth control is more effective if you take it at the same time every day. I would advise to take these pills with food to help prevent or at least ease stomach upset.

For years I was on Ortho Tri-Cyclen because at the time I did not have insurance and was getting my birth control from a clinic. Ortho Tri-Cyclen was the only type of pill they had available. I seemed to do fine on Ortho. I was switched from Ortho Tri-Cyclen to TriNessa once I got insurance because TriNessa is what my insurance company covers. At first, I thought the pharmacy had given me the wrong birth control but they assured me TriNessa was the generic form of Ortho and there was really no difference. I’ve been taking Tri-Nessa for about a year and a half. I didn’t match the side effects to TriNessa until recently. I’ve been researching all the various pills I take and came across comments of people taking Tri-Nessa that had very similar problems. I always assumed it couldn’t possibly be the birth control because generic is supposed to be the exact same as the non-generic–or so I thought.

Now that I trace back in my mind the beginning of these little problems I’ve been having, they all seem to have started when I began taking TriNessa. For starters, I often feel dizzy and nauseous. Especially nauseous with-in an hour of taking the pill. At times I thought I was going to get sick. The dizziness happens off and on throughout the day. I sort of feel like I’m walking around in some sort of fog. I also get very strong headaches, which I never experience on Ortho. The lingering spotting after my period lasts on average about two days longer, and my vagina has become dryer. Birth control in general seems to make my vagina dry, no matter what kind I’m on–Depo Provera, Ortho Tri-Cyclen etc. However, it seems to be even dryer on TriNessa. I use lots of lube during sex, especially since I am so prone to urinary tract infections and yeast infections. The added friction can cause damage to the vagina walls and urethra making you more susceptible to infection. I would advise anyone who experiences dryness because of TriNessa and is also prone to infections, to definitely use some sort of vaginal moisturizer and/or lubrication during sex (Astroglide, and Rephresh are my favorites). I am going to have a talk with my Gynecologist about switching to a different birth control. Any recommendations are appreciated. The only upside to taking TriNessa is that it prevented me from getting pregnant. If you don’t have a problem taking TriNessa, then your pocket book is in luck because TriNessa is about as cheap as it gets. It costs me about $10 a pack. I believe it’s $20 without insurance. Other birth control pills can run as high as $50.

StarStar(Rated 2/5 Stars)