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Penelope's Story

My journey with chronic UTIs and bladder pain started right around the new year, at the beginning of 2020. I suddenly developed extreme pain, burning, and urgency in my bladder. I immediately knew I had developed an infection, but when I went to the doctor’s office, they told me the test came back negative and that I did not have anything wrong with my bladder. In fact, I was asked multiple times if I was drinking enough water, or simply stressed out. To be gaslit like that and told I was not ill left me feeling alone and afraid. I continued on with no treatment, until I got to the point where I developed a kidney infection and became extremely sick. I was left with no choice but to do my own research into my illness and try and treat my symptoms myself. Many trips to many different doctors left me feeling hopeless. No one was able to help me get better, and I was often told there was nothing wrong with me. Thankfully, I have gotten to a point where my symptoms are under control, but keeping myself out of pain is a constant battle that I will likely have to deal with for the rest of my life.

So many women suffer from similar journeys to mine, yet there is no effective treatment or medical literature on the matter. Awareness needs to be raised for this issue, and research must be done. Yet, I don’t see much of either happening in the medical or academic community. Why are we left alone to suffer? Hundreds of thousands of women are in dire need of help, and we are not getting it.

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