May 20, 2024

Chronic UTIs Have Been Recognised By NICE, But Why Was Mine Ignored By Doctors?

I have suffered from recurrent UTIs since I was 5 years old. I remember as a child, my mum had got me ready for bed and I’d been complaining of tummy pain and my belly was very swollen. I also felt shivery and nauseous. I vividly remember going to the loo before bed and the pain was horrific: it burned like hell fire when I passed urine.

I was so young, it was incredibly hard to eloquently explain to my mum what was wrong, so all I could muster at this age was: “Mum I’ve had a hot wee and it really hurts. ”

My condition eventually became chronic in June 2021 – for the first time in my life, my UTI symptoms did not respond to the antibiotic treatment, and I was plunged into a living dystopia of relentless agony and suffering.

The symptoms were endless, including shivering, fever, vomiting, deep internal pain that felt like someone scraping down an exposed nerve and pelvic pain that felt like I was prolapsing.

From the age of five, I have felt medical misogyny keenly in the way I’ve been treated for my UTIs. The first male doctor I visited with symptoms trivialised my condition and sent me away with a recommendation to drink lemon barley water and to use Canesten cream!

Obviously my symptoms did not subside, and I was back and forth to the doctors as a result. In the past, doctors have refused to give me antibiotics, claiming that the dipstick test was negative, despite me sobbing in agony and begging them to listen to my symptoms.

“I have experienced medical misogyny since I was five. The first male doctor I visited sent me away with a recommendation to drink lemon barley water and to use Canesten cream”

Edward Kass, the man that pioneered the dipstick test, told the NHS at the time that the test was not fit for purpose in detecting lower UTIs, yet his advice was not heeded. This is yet another form of medical misogyny at play – his advice is ignored because women’s health and pain do not matter.

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