UTIs and MS

Should UTIs always be treated with antibiotics when you have MS? My GPS won’t give any for water infections and I wondered if I should insist?

Hi Beth

I don’t understand a GP not giving antibiotics for UTIs.

Does the surgery always send the samples to the lab when a UTI is detected?

If so, you could ask what bacteria is causing the infection. If your sample is showing inflammation but no actual infection, then not giving you antibiotics would be an appropriate response (in my estimation). But if there is actual bacterial infection there should be an appropriate antibiotic for that bacteria.

An untreated bacterial infection can cause a person with MS to have worse symptoms than normal.


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Mine always give me antibiotics as the risk of symptoms flaring into a relapse is not worth it. I know the symptoms of a UTI so well that I don’t even have to send a sample for testing.

As I was getting a lot of UTIs, my GP referred me to urology at the local hospital in case it was something more serious causing them. It wasn’t, so he has me on a small daily dose of antibiotics now and I haven’t had one since. I’m not totally happy with this treatment but it has given me six months infection free.

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Are UTI’s a symptom of MS?

Bladder issues such as retention of urine are a symptom of MS, this retention can cause UTIs so people with MS who have bladder involvement can have a lot of UTIs. I spent my entire late teens with constant bladder and kidney infections, I now suspect this was an early symptom of my MS.

Not exactly. But they can occur because of problems related to MS.

The issue is often that we can’t empty our bladders fully and as a result, urine sits in the bladder too long and as a result the bacteria that’s lurking in wee normally, gets a chance to grow and cause infection.

Or, as a result of using catheters. Sometimes when doing intermittent self catheterisation, we inadvertently contaminate our urinary tract. Or if we have a supra pubic or indwelling catheter, bacteria gets an opportunity to grow.

Or of course just naturally, as women have always been prone to, the bloody female body is designed in such a way that bacteria can sneak into the urethra just because it’s too close to the other bits! (Sex is something that can often spark off UTIs in women!)

The problem for people with MS is that a UTI can exacerbate existing symptoms or even spark off a relapse.

Bloody MS.

What you can do is keep your pelvic muscles as good as you can so that you keep the ability to empty your bladder fully. This isn’t necessarily the cause of urine retention, but it certainly can’t hurt. If you find you start to get UTIs, start using a product that will help, some people swear by apple cider vinegar, or d-mannose, or cranberry juice or tablets, or probiotics, or anyone of many other preventatives.

The other thing you can do is learn to test your own urine for infection (if you suffer from UTIs, it’s not something you should dwell on it you don’t). I can post a short guide to testing for infection if anyone wants it.


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