What a Relief!

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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New year, new beginnings — not a chance.

Theresa May still has Brexit as her waking and sleeping nightmare, and I’m still battling urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Over the last few years, I’ve probably written about this more than anything else; it’s the one thing the medical establishment and I haven’t been able to square away.

I thought trigeminal neuralgia would be the ancillary illness attached to my MS that would wrestle me into an easy submission. Then, I was kindly referred to a pain consultant by my friendly neighborhood MS nurse, and life changed immediately.

The consultant put me on a therapy called Oxcarbazepine Mylan, saying, “It’s more expensive, but it’s got a better molecule.” It fought off the pain with no side effects. The previous medication, carbamazepine, also battled the pain but turned my already misbehaving body into blancmange.

For the last few months, I’ve practically forgotten about trigeminal neuralgia — that’s one for the home team.

Connect with other people and share tips on how to manage MS in our forums!

UTIs (get with the medical acronyms people) are a different matter. I can tell I’ve got one from the myriad symptoms; at an extreme, I can hardly move, though this could also be a relapse. On New Year’s night, I couldn’t get my legs onto the bed; if only this had been down to celebrating! Wee pongs/is cloudy/want to pee after just peeing. And in the piss de resistance (sorry, I’m sure this is a pun too rude for my editor, but when will I ever get to use it again?), a dribble actually emerges from the old todger, the old-fashioned way. No plastic pipe needed! Somehow the bacteria overrides my MS!

I get into a fugue state, and the infection just doesn’t abate. As soon as I stop taking antibiotics, the infection erupts. I’m in one now.

Hypochondria must be the normal state for anyone with a chronic disease — lightning has struck once, surely it can strike twice. And the thing about lightning is that it really happens! However justified you feel, you lose confidence when the medical establishment keeps telling you you’re wrong.

I’ve often been writing weekly emails to my doctor pleading for more antibiotics.

Last year, this resulted in the rigmarole of having every urology test possible. (Well, it might not have been, but it sure felt that way.) By the time it eventually finished, that particular fugue state had passed (ho-ho). There was nothing wrong with me, apart from the obvious.

Now, I’ve been a news junkie my entire adult life, to such an extent that I swapped journalism in my early 30s to embrace satire instead. It fused my two passions — news and comedy — into one happy bundle. The fact that I could make a partial living from it was a bonus. As one of my comics pointed out after a recent rocking packed Christmas show that, “We get to muck about for two hours and then someone gives you £500. What could be better than that?”

It means that I scour the news daily, and undoubtedly more thoroughly then if it were just for my own pleasure. Just before Christmas, I saw this article buried in The Guardian: “UTI test often fails to detect infection, say researchers.”

Well done, those researchers!

This ties together everything I’ve experienced. Including, recently, the real hassle of sending in a sample of my urine that I knew was infected (from both using my own dip test and my symptoms) and being told there was nothing wrong with me.

Immediately, I emailed this article to my doctor.

The great thing about science is that belief can somewhat ironically be trumped by fact!


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.


Sandra avatar


Have you asked about Methenamine Hippurate? Stopped my never-ending UTIs.

Amy Anderson avatar

Amy Anderson

@Sandra....I just started that in November and I haven't had another UTI since! This has changed my life!

Amy avatar


Yes! Methenamine Hippurate has CHANGED MY LIFE! I haven't had a UTI since starting it.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

No - thanx for the tip.

Claire avatar


I used to get UTI's often when I was in college, they gave me Sulfa to take, which basically sterilized my bladder every time I took it. After using that for a few months, I never had another one. That was in the 90's, so I am not sure if they still use that as a treatment now or not.

Deborah Swanson avatar

Deborah Swanson

I know about the trickles of urine and having to pee as soon as you get back in bed. You are lying there and this sudden urge hits you!! I alleviated this by drinking tons of water throughout my days to help completely flush out my bladder, it worked! It has resulted in no more trips to the emergency rooms or doctor's office to get them, "Are you crazy stares?" I still battle the body pain and spasms of waking up in the middle of the night. I was put of Baclofen and Gabapentin which seem to work maybe an hour. I am so happy to read your article. Now I can consider other treatment options for these spasms and stiffness instead of walking like Frankenstein or Igor. Thank you, may you have a very BLESSED and PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!!

Kevin Keplinger avatar

Kevin Keplinger

If the UTI tests don't show anything, then get checked for BK virus.

Bill avatar


As mentioned above, Methenamine Hippurate helped to eradicate my persistent UTIs. The drug, according to my urologist, creates an environment where bacteria does not thrive when antibiotic resistance is developed after frequent use. Definitely check into that. It may help tremendously.

Margaret McInnes avatar

Margaret McInnes

I have had MS for thirty years and have suffered for about 15 years severely from incontinence. I lived the lonely life of watching TV, sitting on the couch all day, and occasionally going shopping, taking my pads with me at all times,wearing them to bed and all day.
I met my present partner 4 years ago and after a few months and taking a short course of HRT and lots of loving in the bedroom I have ceased to use pads at night even after a few drinks. I think the physical act of sex helped me so much that I sometimes forget my pads when we go out. At 70 my life has changed for the better.

Lulueliane avatar


How Long do you take methenamine tablets? Thank you for sharing


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