The possible causes of your gross UTI
In February, after days of experiencing debilitating back pain, Angela Trostle figured she had pulled a muscle from working out.But when her fever spiked and she couldn’t get out of bed, her doctor nearly sent her to the hospital.“I couldn’t move,” recalls the 29-year-old publicist. “My body was shutting down — I had extreme chills, I was shaking and shivering, and I sweat through three sets of sheets.”The lower Manhattan resident had an undiagnosed urinary tract infection (UTI), which turned into a kidney infection — a condition she blames on back-to-back meetings with no time for bathroom breaks.“I definitely hold it in a little bit more than I should,” concedes Trostle, whose urologist prescribed an aggressive two-week treatment of the antibiotic Cipro. “I’d never want to go through that again, especially with the kidneys involved — I’ve never had pain like that.”Turns out, she’s not alone. When the Mets announced last week that they were pulling pitcher Matt Harvey from a scheduled spring training start, Amazin’s fans held their breath, wondering what was wrong. But when news broke that the 27-year-old had suffered a painful blood clot stemming from complications from a UTI, fans pounced on their “golden” boy, dubbing him the “MVPee.”Modal TriggerAngela Trostle’s undiagnosed UTI turned into a kidney infection.Photo: Angela TrostleStill, many New Yorkers can sympathize. One of them is Matthew, a 32-year-old Met fan with an active dating life who emulates Harvey, right down to his below-the-belt infection.For the past four years, the Chelsea resident (who, for privacy’s sake, prefers not to give his last name) has suffered from recurring UTIs triggered by bacterial infections. He was upset that the Met pitcher’s medical condition garnered so much derision.“If Matt Harvey had diabetes, he’d have sympathy,” says Matthew, a fund-raiser for a nonprofit. “[But] when a guy, a professional athlete, has a UTI, people are unsympathetic.“But, hey, that’s life — that’s my life.”Matthew says that, over the years, he’s shelled out thousands of dollars on co-pays, exams and medications — and still feels shame admitting his woes to a doctor.“It’s tied to your confidence and masculinity,” he says. “The tests that need to be done can be really embarrassing and emasculating.”Dr. James Wysock, a urologist at NYU, says that some UTIs in men and women are caused by failure to empty the bladder. “When someone’s urine is held for too long, bladder muscles stretch out,” he says. “When it’s relieved, it could bleed. That can lead to blood clots.”But that’s only part of the story, doctors say: Some blame the condition on undiagnosed STDs.“In men, [UTIs] include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, prostate and urethritis — inflammation of the urethra — and [it’s] usually triggered by an STD,” says Dr. David Shusterman, founder of Midtown’s New York Urology. “These young guys have sex with a bunch of girls, they come in with misdiagnosed UTI, and it turns out it’s not. A nice way of calling an STD is a UTI.”These guys come in with misdiagnosed UTI, and it’s not. Over the past few years, Shusterman says he’s seen male patients with a more laissez-faire attitude toward unprotected sex, which makes them ripe for infections. He says there’s been a 20 percent increase in his male patients under age 30 having a UTI, and blames about 75 percent of his cases on risky behavior and a cavalier attitude toward condoms. Although Shusterman is skeptical that holding in urine can cause a UTI, the doctor says it’s best to go to the bathroom early and often.
Meanwhile, Matthew hopes his pain is behind him. Last month he had surgery to burn off a concentrated inflammation of his bladder, and he says the symptoms have abated. Gone, too, are the days of improvised remedies.“[At work], I would put a hot compress on my junk, inside my underwear,” he sheepishly says of his efforts to stem the constant urge to go. (He even resorted to nuking his hot compress in the office microwave.)“At a certain point, you do anything to find relief.”