Mystery Solved - TMI WARNING!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Parts of this post may fall under the TMI category, so consider yourselves warned!!
Starting over a year ago, I've had a slew of icky urinary tract infections. Conversations with my then-ObGyn initially convinced me this was due to "Honeymoon Cystitis," AKA UTIs from having a new partner. But the honeymoon ended (the boy and I have been together for almost 2 years now), and the UTIs did not.
So, I was not surprised, but a little irked last week when - out of the blue - I started feeling the telltale signs of a UTI. (We hadn't had any recent "honeymoon action," if you know what I mean.) My mood plummeted as I contemplated leaving work to run to a doctor, tell him all about my personal life, pee in a cup, convince him to write me a prescription, and run to the pharmacy to have it filled. I tried to stave it off myself, taking several pure cranberry capsules and drinking gallons of tea.
The doctor's visit took half as long as I expected, but it was twice as embarrassing (male doctor w/ zero bedside manner). I left with my prescription, got it filled, and got back to work. I started taking it right away, along with those crazy pills that make your pee Illinois orange. All the while, I'm still drinking my tea, buckets and buckets of it. Gotta stay hydrated!
For the next several days, I agonized over whether I was getting better or not. I kept drinking my tea, thinking, "I've just got to flush out all the bacteria." I whined to my co-workers (yeah, I don't have much shame), convinced that this UTI was resistant to the Cipro I was prescribed. I called the doctor back, pleading with them to call in a different antibiotic. (Against their policy...I'd have to see the Dr. again.) Meanwhile, my urine culture came back "inconclusive," meaning they couldn't tell what kind of bacteria was causing the "infection." I went through periods of feeling fine, only to be followed by periods of "WTF...it's back?!?!?"
Long story short, I FINALLY figured out yesterday what was going on. I woke up feeling great, got through the first couple hours of work feeling spectacular. Then, I drank my tea...with SPLENDA. Splenda that I had been consuming at the rate of 6-8 packets/day (in my tea, on my strawberries, etc.). Almost immediately, I was running to the bathroom, entirely convinced the raging UTI had returned. For the next 20 minutes, I searched the Internet and found MANY stories of other women who have suffered from SPLENDA-induced "UTIs."
So...I have just thrown out my entire supply of Splenda, and I've returned to using a sweetener I bought about a year ago. It's made of Luo Han Guo, a Chinese fruit. It's supposed to have sweetening AND medicinal properties, but we'll see. At this point, having been recently BURNED by a sugar substitute, my hopes are not high. I know that the best solution would be to get accustomed to drinking my tea plain, unsweetened, and in its natural form. But, really? Bleh.