The Antibiotic Time Loop

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

Share this article:

Share article via email

john connor

My arms are heavy.

Strong antibiotics have held off a urinary tract infection (UTI) for the last eight weeks — evolution isn’t on my side.

In fact, I’m distinctly beginning to feel like the British Expeditionary Force in Dunkirk in May 1940. Surrounded, with my only hope over the horizon.

I’m normally upbeat about my MS travails, but that’s mostly because the problems have either been surmounted —  i.e., I’ve made it off the floor — or are dealt with. This time, I’m in mid-crisis.

It all began in slow motion. Felt fine, stopped taking the antibiotic (the latest way to do it). Then immediately had an MS flare, occasionally with the full UTI ritual of urgent urination. Restarted the antibiotic, went back to the old way of finishing the course. Stopped. Then immediately had an MS flare, occasionally with the full UTI ritual of urgent urination.

I’ve entered some sort of antibiotic time loop.

The course that never ends!

So I’ve just seen a urologist. He seemed suitably impressed that I came in with a urine sample. The nurse even chortled appreciatively when I pointed out it was gathered “mid-flow.” Old hand. The analysis might be simple: They find something and an antibiotic that can kill it.

Though this was tried two months ago, when I switched Cefalexin (cephalexin). I’ll find out in just over a week.

Citing Dunkirk might be a somewhat heavy-handed analogy, but within the hour of leaving the urologist, there was a phone call for me to have a flexible cystoscopy. A camera on the end of a plastic tube is inserted into “the old man.” Sticking with my WWII theme, this is very much a British colloquialism of the time for the penis.

The urologist mentioned this test as a possibility, and now the consultant immediately moved the piece onto the ops board. In the U.K., our National Health Service (NHS) is going through a major winter funding crisis, so this is pretty damned impressive. I’ve already got my appointment for the procedure.

So things are serious. Admittedly, I don’t think I’ve retreated to Dunkirk. But I contend that Poland is invaded and the phony war could end at any moment.

There’s not much to thank WWII for, but it’s the reason we in the U.K. have an NHS.

Oh, yes, and Gary Oldman is the hot favorite for best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Laurence Robb avatar

Laurence Robb

Hi, sympathise with you! I have not had a full-blown infection for a while. At any nasty niff, I have grabbed my bottle of water to have a swig! I fully recommend this which will start in Bristol soon but let's hope it spreads to the rest of the UK:

Laura Drake avatar

Laura Drake

I struggle with a constant UTI as a result of my neurogenic bladder, a gift of MS. Within 5 days of going off an antibiotic, the infection returns. So, I am comfortable with taking a low dose (50 Mg capsule) at bedtime each night and that successfully controls the infection. There is a new product called Ellura (a highly concentrated form of cranberry supplement) that is taken once daily. It costs $45.00 per month and can be ordered direct from the manufacturer without a prescription. It is similar to taking a vitamin. MS patients using Ellura have had great success in getting off antibiotics with the daily pill Ellura. You may want to discuss this with your urologist. for information. Good luck. I'll know soon if it has worked for me.

Sandra D avatar

Sandra D

Yes, I'm the same with the neurogenic MS Bladder. Chronic UTI's ongoing. 10 years with PPMS. Ellura has been great so far. Costly, but does the trick. Oxybutynin patches for bladder irritability also helps. The high dose Biotin 300mg daily has helped my bladder also. Not on any low dose antibiotics for a while now. It's ongoing maintenance.

alireza avatar


me too

Laura Drake avatar

Laura Drake

The 50 Mg capsule I have been taking as a maintenance dose of antibiotics is the drug Macrobid.

Gail Vink avatar

Gail Vink

I have been ill since last April 2018 head pain blurred vision severe fatigue.
I recently started a regime of amoxicillin and already starting to feel alive again.
I am also receiving leucentis type eye injections.
My question is: How does antibiotics help me feel better so fast.And should I take antibiotics on a regular regimen ?

Kim avatar


Yes I too have been battling ms for almost 30 and I can say antibotics make me feel great again fatigue is better bladder I really think research needs to be done more that as to why we feel better surely there more to this than anyone is seeing !

Roya Rowling avatar

Roya Rowling

Hi Kim, what type of antibiotic did you take?

Jane Tunstall avatar

Jane Tunstall

My MS was diagnosed in 2003 after repeated uti's. Since then I have taken 50mg Nitrofurantion at night with no uti's. Three months ago my GP took me off the antibiotic with the option to take emergency 5 day supply. I have so far had two uti's and a return to old MS pain symptoms.Surely if a treatment works well, why change it?

alireza avatar


me too

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Hi Alireza
Pls read my later col 'The Long and Winding Road to My Urologist’s Door'
It's the best solution I've found. Had help from v. knowledgeable MS Nurse, not other urologists. Still, this therapy extremely rare in the UK - so have no idea where u r?
Cheers John


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here