Oh its so frustrating isn't it and I'm so sorry you have another UTI. Unfortunately standard NHS culturing is 18 hours. You can ask your GP to request a longer culture but there are simply no guarantees that this will happen. A microbiologist and GP has advised me that if there are slow growing fastidious bacteria in the bladder not immediately identifiable on standard culture then if you are asked to produce another sample, leave the sample on a radiator or warm room for 24 hours to allow the bugs to grow in the sample and then drop it into a surgery or lab for culture.
I'm not sure what the lab report said, were there signs of white blood cells, protein or nitrates. Only certain bacteria will produce nitrates. For example gram negative bacteria will produce nitrates (e coli klebsiella etc) but gram positive bacteria such as staph or streptococcus won't. Leukocyte esterase on dipstick or under the microscope suggests that there are WBCs in the urine - it's a quick way of detecting their presence without actually counting them under a microscope. It doesn't matter if there are no nitrites, as not all kinds of bacteria produce these anyway - the raised LE alone is enough to suggest an infection, especially if you have symptoms.
In the meantime what to do to help you. In terms of naturals the following are alternates to try:
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is truly a broad-spectrum natural antibiotic, capable of killing a wide variety of pathogens. Highly active against protozoa, bacteria, yeast and some viruses, it has been used for quite some time in the treatment of parasitic infections. It is nontoxic, generally hypoallergenic and can be administered for up to several months, which may be required to eliminate stubborn infections.
Please note that it can interfere with certain medications and if you are on blood thinning drugs or pregnant you should not take anything containing Grapefruit. Check any natural medications with your GP or Pharmacist for contra-indications.
People using GSE should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to this preparation. Persons with a known citrus allergy are at higher risk. Should you develop a rash or experience any other symptoms while using it, discontinue use immediately. As with antibiotics you should also take a good probiotic at the same time as the GSE will kill off the good microbiome in the gut so you need to repopulate.
Grapefruit Seed Extract – take 2 twice a day or 4-6 daily drops in water.
Also be available that it is a strong antimicrobial herb and will wipe out a lot of the bacteria in the gut and bladder but is not so effective against e coli infections or other gram negative bacteria so always counterbalance with D Mannose if you have an e coli infection.
Oil of Oregano
Bacteria have one thing in common. They secrete a protein called urease. Scientists don’t completely know the exact mechanism. But, essentially, the urease that these bacteria make allows them to adhere to the epithelial cells. These are the cells lining the urinary tract. Without this ability to adhere to tissue, these bacteria would flush out of the kidneys and bladder every time we urinated. So if it were possible to block the way these bacteria were making urease, they would never be able to maintain an infection. And that’s where the oil of oregano comes in. Oregano contains active biological substances called phenols. These phenol compounds have the ability to stop bacteria from producing urease. Many other herbs, such as cranberries and uva ursi also contain phenols but studies have shown that oregano has some of the strongest urease-inhibiting phenols.
Oil of Oregano – take 2 twice a day or twice daily under the tongue.
Urva Ursi contains chemicals, primarily hydroquinone and hydroquinone derivatives, that make it potentially useful for urinary conditions and is used to treat infections such as cystitis, urethritis and nephritis. The hydroquinone derivative, arbutin, is the chief active compound in uva ursi. It is absorbed in the stomach and converted into a substance with antimicrobial, astringent, and disinfectant properties. During urination, as it passes out of the body it acts on the mucus membranes of the urinary tract to soothe irritation, reduce inflammation, and fight infection.
However it is a very powerful herb and it is not recommended that it be taken for longer than a month at a time and no more than 5 times a year.
I would also look at hormones for your symptoms. As you have previously mentioned you are experiencing peri menopause symptoms and should be treated for these ideally by a uro gynae. This combined with some form of either natural or pharmaceutical support for your bladder symptoms may hopefully start to alleviate things. And please don't accept comments about menopause being a natural thing to experience and you have to put up with it. Yes it is part of a woman's lifecycle but its also contributing to many women experiencing symptoms not previously felt before and they need help with managing these. Lets face it, if men went through menopause, it would be sorted in about 5 minutes.
Really hope you feel better soon.