- The Link Between UTIs and Sex
- Urinary Tract Infection in Men
- How is it treated?
- How long will the effects last?
- How can I take care of myself?
- Over the Counter Medications for Urinary Tract Infections
- Forty Acres Pharmacy
- Call your healthcare provider right away if:
- How can I help prevent urinary tract infection?
- What Causes Burning After Sex?
- Insufficient lubrication
- Rough stimulation or intercourse
- Allergic reaction to products used during sex
- Allergic reaction to semen
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Interstitial cystitis
- 1. It could be from your laundry detergent.
- 2. It could be your underwear.
- 3. It could be stress-related.
- 4. It could be from your tampons.
- 5. It could be from scar tissue caused by trauma like childbirth, surgery, or an injury.
- 7. It could be from grooming.
- 8. It could be irritation from condoms or lubricants.
- 9. Rare, but it could be an irritation or allergy to semen.
- 10. It could be from hormonal changes.
- 11. It could be your allergy meds.
- 12. It could be an infection.
- 13. It could be caused by something else
- 14. It could be caused by pelvic-floor issues.
- What It’s Like to Get a UTI Every Time You Have Sex
- 6. There are a few preventive measures that might help.
- 7. Repeat after us: Cranberry juice cannot treat UTIs.
- 8. You could be a candidate for prophylactic antibiotics.
- The Fix
- I Kept Getting UTIs After Sex
- UTIs After Sex – When It Really Kicked In
- Antibiotics Didn’t Stop The UTIs After Sex
- The Day I Had A UTI Related Run-In With The Police
- UTIs After Sex Are Worse Than Using The Toilet Around A New Partner
- Does Peeing After Sex Really Help Stop UTIs?
The Link Between UTIs and Sex
The urethra, which is the tube through which urine exits the body from the bladder, is shorter in women than in men. That makes it quicker and easier for bacteria to infiltrate the bladder.
And a woman’s urethra is closer to the anus, allowing those bacteria to reach the urethra without going far.
One thing that increases a woman’s risk of getting a UTI even more? Sexual activity.
How Is Sex Connected to UTIs?
Sex is a common cause of UTIs in women because sexual intercourse introduces bacteria into a woman’s urinary tract.
During sex, the urethra comes into contact with the bacteria from the genital area and anus, allowing them to enter the urethra, the bladder, and possibly eventually the kidneys, and result in an infection.
In fact, almost 80 percent of premenopausal women with a UTI have had sex within the previous 24 hours.
Any time a woman has sex, she’s coming into contact with bacteria, and putting herself at risk for a UTI.
Using a diaphragm for birth control increases the risk even more, as the location of the diaphragm doesn’t allow the bladder to totally empty itself — allowing urine and bacteria to collect. Using a spermicide also increases the risk of UTI from sex, as does irritation of the genitals from sex.
When a woman first starts having sex, she’s more likely to get a urinary tract infection. She’s most at risk the first time she has sex with a new partner. Frequent sex increases the risk of developing a UTI, too, as does having more sex partners.
Urinary tract infections have been nicknamed “honeymoon cystitis” — cystitis is another name for an infection of the bladder — because frequent intercourse often leads to the development of a UTI.
5 Ways to Prevent UTIs Associated With Sex
You don’t have to stop having sex to prevent UTIs. Here are some steps you can take to minimize bacteria buildup and reduce your risk of getting UTIs from sex:
- Urinate before sex, and promptly after.
- Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sex.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water; this will help rid your urinary tract of bacteria.
- Don’t use a diaphragm or spermicide as your form of birth control.
Men can also develop urinary tract infections from sex, so they should also always be sure to thoroughly clean their genitals before and after sex. Wearing a condom can also help reduce a man’s risk of getting a UTI from sex.
If you do notice the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, seek UTI treatment from your doctor right away. If you get UTIs often, your doctor may give you antibiotics to take at the first sign of symptoms.
Urinary tract infections are quite common, and unfortunately, getting one puts you at a greater risk of having more in the future.
But taking care to minimize the bacteria that enters the urinary tract can help keep you safe from painful urinary tract infections.
Urinary Tract Infection in Men
How is it treated?
UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe a medicine called Pyridium to relieve burning and discomfort.
If the infection is causing fever, pain, or vomiting or you have a severe kidney infection, you may need to stay at the hospital for treatment.
How long will the effects last?
For most UTIs, the symptoms go away within 24 hours after you begin treatment. Take all of the medicine your healthcare provider prescribes, even after the symptoms go away. If you stop taking your medicine before the scheduled end of treatment, the infection may come back.
Without treatment, the infection can last a long time. If it is not treated, the infection can permanently damage the bladder and kidneys, or it may spread to the blood. If the infection spreads to the blood, it can be fatal.
How can I take care of myself?
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment. Take all of the antibiotic that your healthcare provider prescribes, even when you feel better. Do not take medicine left over from previous prescriptions.
- Drink more fluids, especially water, to help flush bacteria from your system.
- If you have a fever:
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen to control the fever. Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
- Keep a daily record of your temperature.
- A hot water bottle or an electric heating pad on a low setting can help relieve cramps or lower abdominal or back pain. Keep a cloth between your skin and the hot water bottle or heating pad so that you don’t burn your skin.
- Soaking in a tub for 20 to 30 minutes may help relieve any back or abdominal pain.
- Keep your follow-up appointment with your provider, if recommended.
Over the Counter Medications for Urinary Tract Infections
- Brand names listed as examples do not imply better quality over other brands. Generic equivalents may also exist.
- Use only as directed on the package, unless your healthcare provider instructs you to do otherwise.
- OTCs may interact with other medications or be potentially harmful if you have certain medical conditions. Talk to your pharmacist about options that are right for you.
example: AZO Standard®
Cranberry 400mg caps
examples: D-Mannose®; powder
Forty Acres Pharmacy
The Forty Acres Pharmacy, located in the SSB 1.110 and operated by the UT College of Pharmacy, sells a wide variety of OTC allergy medications and treatments. Ask our pharmacists to help you choose appropriate medications or products for your symptoms.
Call your healthcare provider right away if:
- You keep having symptoms after taking an antibiotic for 2 days.
- Your symptoms get worse.
- You have a fever of 101.5° F (38.6° C) or higher.
- You have new vomiting.
- You have new pain in your side, back, or belly.
- You have any symptoms that worry you.
How can I help prevent urinary tract infection?
You can help prevent UTIs if you:
- Drink lots of fluids every day.
- Don’t wait to go to the bathroom when you feel the need to urinate.
- Empty your bladder completely when you urinate.
- Practice safe sex. Always use latex or polyurethane condoms.
- Urinate soon after sex.
- Keep your genital area clean. If you are uncircumcised, wash under the foreskin each time you take a bath or shower.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.
What Causes Burning After Sex?
Burning usually results from dryness, an allergic reaction, or an underlying infection.
Not having enough natural lubrication can increase skin irritation and sensitivity. This can lead to a burning sensation.
In some cases, the medications that you’re taking can cause dryness. This includes antihistamines, decongestants, and diuretics.
Other times, a lack of foreplay, trouble relaxing during sex, or other sex-related concerns can lead to insufficient lubrication.
If possible, talk to your partner about how you both can work to make sex more comfortable and less likely to cause burning.
You can also try water-soluble lubricants. These shouldn’t affect condom use and can enhance overall sexual pleasure.
Rough stimulation or intercourse
Vigorous stimulation or penetration can create too much friction and result in unwanted burning.
It’s important that you and your partner are on the same page about the activities you’re trying, as well as the overall pace.
Speak up if what’s happening is too rough, hard, or fast for you.
Talking to your partner about how you feel is the only way to prevent further irritation and discomfort.
Allergic reaction to products used during sex
While some people can use condoms, lube, and toys without issue, others may find they’re really sensitive to them.
For example, you may be sensitive to the latex present in many condoms. This can lead to redness, swelling, and irritation that makes sex painful.
Scented or fragranced products can also contain dyes and perfumes that some find irritating and painful.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to know what you will and won’t have an allergic reaction to until after it has already happened.
However, if you experience an allergic reaction once, it’ll probably happen again.
To avoid this, toss any new products or toys that you think could have caused your symptoms.
Allergic reaction to semen
It’s possible that be allergic to your partner’s semen. There are proteins naturally present in sperm that can trigger symptoms.
In addition to burning, you may experience:
The symptoms can appear anywhere that came into contact with semen, including:
- vaginal canal or labia
- shaft or area above the penis
Most of these symptoms begin within 10 to 30 minutes of exposure. They may last anywhere from several hours to several days.
It’s possible to have a symptom-free encounter with one partner and experience an allergic reaction with another, so consult a doctor to be sure.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
A UTI can affect more than your ability to pee — it can also cause irritation and painful sex.
This condition occurs when excess bacteria builds up in the urinary tract and causes inflammation.
Symptoms may include:
- burning during urination
- passing cloudy urine
- urine that appears red, pink, or cola-colored
- urine that smells foul or strong
- pelvic pain, especially around the pubic bone
UTIs are treatable with prescription antibiotics.
Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Certain STIs can cause pain and burning during intercourse. These include:
Sometimes, pain during or after sex may be the only symptom present.
If other symptoms are present, they may include:
- itching or swelling in the affected area
- blisters, bumps, or sores on the vagina, penis, or anus
- unusual bleeding from the vagina, penis, or anus
- unusual discharge, likely yellow, green, or gray in color
- pain the the lower abdomen
- pain in the testicles
Chlamydia and trichomoniasis are both curable with prescription antibiotics.
There isn’t a cure for herpes, but prescription medication can help reduce the frequency and overall severity of symptoms.
Urethritis is a bacterial or vial infection of the urethra. This is the long, thin tube that carries urine from the bladder to the opening where you pee.
It’s usually caused by an underlying STI.
In addition to burning, urethritis may cause:
- painful urination
- frequent urination
- itching at the site where urine comes out
- unusual discharge from the urethra, such as cloudy urine, mucus, or pus
- pelvic pain
Urethritis is treatable with prescription antibiotics.
Interstitial cystitis is a condition that causes bladder and pelvic pain, which can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
The condition can closely mimic that of a UTI, but it won’t cause a fever or other symptoms of infection.
Symptoms can include:
- pelvic pain, especially between the vagina and anus or scrotum and anus
- frequent need to urinate, even though you produce less urine each time you go
- pain as your bladder fills and relief when it empties
- accidental urine leakage (incontinence)
Doctors can treat this condition with prescription medication and nerve stimulation techniques. Sometimes, surgery is required.
When all you want to do is lie in post-coital bliss, the last thing you want is to feel a burning sensation in your vagina. Unfortunately, pain during and after sex is more common than it should be. The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians say that three out of four women experience “pain during intercourse at some point in their lives.”
Alyssa Dweck, MD, a gynecologist in NYC and coauthor of The Complete A to Z for Your V, says that a burning sensation during or after sex is a common complaint that she sees in her patients.
Here, expert ob-gyn doctors explain some common reasons as to why your vagina might feel like it’s burning during or after sex.
1. It could be from your laundry detergent.
Ob-gyn Felice Gersh, MD, founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, California, and the author of PCOS SOS, explains that some of the ingredients in laundry detergents can also cause vaginal burning. The dyes, fragrances, preservatives, surfactants, enzymes, parabens, solvents, emulsifiers, and other chemicals can either directly irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. Gersh also explains that the chemical scents in detergents are common causes of skin burning and rashes.
The best way to determine if your laundry detergent is behind your vaginal burning is to “eliminate its use immediately and place a soothing skin topical like aloe gel or shea butter on the vulvar skin and see if the irritation in the vagina dissipates,” says Dr. Gersh. You can also try another detergent with fewer dyes and fragrances as well. However, if the irritation doesn’t improve in three days, Gersh says it’s best to see a doctor.
2. It could be your underwear.
Gersh also adds that thongs can irritate the opening of the vagina and lead to irritation and inflammation. Not only is that annoying and uncomfortable by itself, but chronic inflammation can also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria which could end up causing a vaginal or bladder infection. Also, sorry buuuuuuut: The area around the opening of your vagina is adjacent to your butthole and thus fecal bacteria can transfer from any movement of the thong from butt-to-vag increasing the likelihood of infection.
Sorry, Not Sorry
Says ob-gyn Lorene Garcia, MD, and editor of the women’s health blog Daily Vaginal Healthcare, “stress can affect your hormones as well as your natural vaginal lubrication.” Whether you’re nervous about the experience, dealing with other unrelated stressors in your life, this dryness can cause the skin on your vagina to burn and feel uncomfortable. Garcia recommends lubing up and adding more foreplay to the mix to ensure as pleasurable an experience as possible.
Lubes You Gotta Buy ASAP
4. It could be from your tampons.
Janelle Luk, MD, medical director and cofounder of Generation Next Fertility, explains that yes, there are a variety of reasons why tampon use could cause vaginal pain or irritation. If you are not properly placing the tampon or inserting it deep enough, you could experience a burning sensation. If your vagina is also just baseline drier than average, it could also make tampon insertion extra irritating.
Yes, Your Vagina Deserves Fancy Tampons
5. It could be from scar tissue caused by trauma like childbirth, surgery, or an injury.
In The Vagina Bible, Jen Gunter, MD, explains that after vaginal delivery, a tear or episiotomy or other delivery-related issues can cause scarring between the vaginal opening, which causes pain and can sometimes need surgery to correct. This scar tissue is fragile, she explains, and sexual penetration can easily break down the fragile skin. This pain from the breaks in skin is often described as a burning sensation, she adds. Rest assured though, if you’ve never had surgery or given birth vaginally, this is unlikely to be the case.
6. It could be from products you’re using.
Dr. Dweck said products are the most common cause of vaginal burning during or after sex. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Do. Not. Put. Soap. In. Your. Vagina.
“The inside of the vagina has mechanisms to keep the pH in balance,” Dr. Dweck said. You can wash your vulva—the skin area around your vagina—with a gentle, mild soap (like a plain Dove bar soap, for example) but should avoid anything with dyes or fragrance involved. If you feel like you need to scrub the living daylights out of your vagina to mask a smell that’s abnormal to you, Dr. Dweck said you should see your doctor and find out what’s causing it instead of spraying the area with perfume.
“The inside of the vagina has mechanisms to keep the pH in balance,”
It’s also important to note that some bodies are just more sensitive to certain products than other bodies. Dr. Dweck clarified that some people may find their vagina is completely unbothered by strongly scented soap (although I dare you to find someone who can use that minty Dr. Bronner’s soap without feeling like someone lit a match beneath their vagina), and other people can’t put anything but water near their vagina without getting irritated. It’s essentially a trial-by-error thing—if you find that one product is continuously making your vagina feel dry, irritated, or like it’s burning, try switching to a different one.
7. It could be from grooming.
What you use to remove pubic hair, if that’s something you do, can cause irritation as well. Although you technically remove hair from your vulva, not your actual vagina, burning in the general area is extremely irritating, especially during sex. Skin irritation caused by razor burn can cause discomfort during the friction of sex. If this is something you struggle with, try shaving with the direction of the hair—not against it. You should also be sure to rinse your razor often, so it doesn’t get clogged with shaving cream and hair, causing the blades to get dull and work harder to remove hair. Post-shave, a moisturizer with petroleum as the main ingredient (like Vaseline) should keep razor bumps at bay.
8. It could be irritation from condoms or lubricants.
Some people might also feel irritated, and therefore burn-y, as a result of certain condoms or lubricants. Any condom or lube that says it has a “fire and ice” effect is, understandably, going to burn. Ob-gyn Leah Millheiser, MD, also recommended steering clear of any lube that contains glycerin if you’re someone with sensitive skin or easily irritated by products. Lord knows there is no shortage of lube options in this world and your physician can help you pick one with a good reputation for not making people’s vaginas burn. Dr. Millheiser said if you and your partner have been tested and no longer use condoms, you can use olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil as a natural lubricant that shouldn’t cause irritation. But those oils will break down the materials in condoms and dental dams, so don’t combine the two.
There are also plenty of options available when it comes to condoms—latex, non-latex, sheepskin, etc. Even people without latex allergies can be sensitive to that material, Dr. Dweck said, so don’t be timid about trying other rubber options. Condoms that are scented, flavored, or contain spermicide are particularly known for causing tiny abrasions in the vagina that can result in a burning sensation. Don’t just stick to one brand, in other words. Try ’em all out!
9. Rare, but it could be an irritation or allergy to semen.
And not that this is in a product that is something you can buy at the drugstore, but both Dr. Dweck and Dr. Millheiser mentioned it’s a rare but real thing for people to be allergic or sensitive to semen. “Some women can feel irritated from semen, even up to an irritation level of an allergic reaction,” Dr. Dweck said. “It could be a product their partner may be using but some women are truly allergic to their partner’s semen.”
Using a condom, in this case, should help. But you should also visit your doctor to rule out anything like bacterial vaginosis, or BV (which is more common among people who aren’t using condoms), a yeast infection, or an STI.
10. It could be from hormonal changes.
The most common “hormonal change” responsible for vaginal dryness is one anyone with female hormones eventually goes through—menopause. As you approach menopause, estrogen levels start to dip, and one of the side effects of that dip is vaginal dryness. But for younger folks, though, vaginal dryness can be caused by birth control pills.
Yes, It’s Way More Common Than You Think
Dr. Millheiser said the number one reason for burning during sex among the patients in her practice is a problem called provoked vestibulodynia, or PVD, that’s typically caused by low-dose hormonal birth control pills. PVD can cause someone’s vagina to develop a redness and makes sex painful. What’s essentially happening in your body is that it reacts to the low doses of hormones in your pill and then acts to suppress hormones within your body, as Dr. Millheiser explained.
“Your vagina is acting like a menopausal woman’s because you’re only getting a very low dose of a hormone,” Dr. Millheiser said. She added that it’s particularly common (about nine times more common, to be clear) among women who started taking low-dose birth control pills at age 16 or younger.
The good thing about PVD caused by birth control pills is that it’s totally fixable. Dr. Milheiser said she typically recommends patients switch to another birth control method, like an IUD or the Nexplanon implant. She said it isn’t common that just switching to a higher dose of the hormonal pill fixes the issue.
11. It could be your allergy meds.
Dr. Dweck also said medications—particularly things like antihistamines you take during allergy season to dry up your snot—are known culprits for causing vaginal dryness. “Antihistamines dry up secretions in the nose but also in the vagina,” she said. You can talk to your doctor about potentially switching to a different medication if you’d like, but Dr. Dweck said lube should do the job just fine by clearing up vaginal dryness and eliminating the burning you may feel as a result.
12. It could be an infection.
Both yeast infections and BV can cause the lining of the vagina to become inflamed, which can result in a burning sensation when it’s penetrated by a finger, a penis, a toy—anything. Dr. Dweck said this isn’t a symptom everyone with BV necessarily experiences but it’s a possibility. Those infections also generally come with some sort of vaginal discharge, so if this is the culprit behind the burning you’re feeling, you’ll generally be able to tell based on other common symptoms of yeast infections and BV.
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, don’t just make it feel like you’re peeing a stream of pure fire but they can also cause a burning sensation during sex. Those infections cause the urethra and bladder to become inflamed, so any pressure in that area can be pretty uncomfortable. Luckily they’re easily cured with antibiotics. Some general advice if you have a UTI is to wait until symptoms are gone for two weeks before having penetrative sex.
Dr. Dweck mentioned gonorrhea and chlamydia as two STIs that are most likely to bring symptoms that result in burning during or after sex. Both of these infections can cause inflammation of the vaginal tissue, which can cause burning during sex and when you pee. If you think you may have had sex with someone with gonorrhea or chlamydia or had unprotected sex recently, you should be tested to rule out an STI—both your vagina and your partners will thank you for it.
For When You Need to Know Right the Eff Now
Herpes can also cause a burning or stinging feeling during sex, but Dr. Dweck said it’s primarily isolated to the lesions that accompany a herpes outbreak—they can be extremely painful. Because of the way herpes functions in the body, however, identifying lesions as the cause of burning during sex can be tricky. If you think you’ve been exposed to it, you should try to be tested when you feel like you’re experiencing symptoms (like lesions). In some cases, lesions can actually pop up on the lining of your vagina and feeling a strong, painful, burning sensation during sex may be the first tip that you’re having an outbreak.
13. It could be caused by something else
Outside of the three main categories for burning sex (in the bad way) are vaginismus and burning caused by vigorous sex. “Sometimes the irritation is just because someone has had vigorous sex and that’s just a mechanical trauma,” Dr. Dweck said. Or if you’ve had a lot of sex recently, it’s not uncommon to get tiny little cuts in your vaginal wall or opening called fissures. They’re often so tiny, you can’t see them and don’t bleed but can cause a burning sensation during sex and when you pee. They tend to heal on their own but they need time to heal—read: You should avoid sex for a week or two while they heal. Dr. Millheiser also said soaking in a hot bath once a day can aid in the healing process, so do with that information what you will.
14. It could be caused by pelvic-floor issues.
Vaginismus is a condition where a person’s pelvic floor muscles immediately and involuntarily tighten up upon the anticipation of penetration. This can be penetration of anything—a penis, a finger, a sex toy, a tampon, anything. Dr. Millheiser described this as a “fear-based reaction” that can be caused by a number of things, from a highly religious upbringing that discourages conversation around sex to a previous trauma or sexual assault. “Women will often experience this from the first time they try to have sex,” Dr. Millheiser said. The pelvic muscles are so strong, the tightening and pushing back someone with vaginismus experiences upon the anticipation of penetration can feel extremely painful and sometimes like a burning sensation. What’s good about vaginismus is that Dr. Millheiser said it’s highly treatable with a combination of things like using dilators in increasing size to retrain the pelvic muscles and therapy.
When You Should See a Doctor
The rule of thumb when it comes to burning during or after sex is to pay attention to how often it happens. Dr. Dweck said that if it’s only every once in a while, like once a year or so, it’s likely no big deal. But if you’re experiencing burning every single time or often enough that it’s making your sex life unenjoyable and painful, you should see a physician. Whether it’s just a matter of using more lube or treating an infection or condition like vaginismus, it never hurts to see your doctor. Especially when it comes to keeping sex enjoyable, fun, and completely pain-free.
Carina Hsieh Sex & Relationships Editor Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals. Hannah Smothers Hannah writes about health, sex, and relationships for Cosmopolitan, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
If you pee through your penis and you’re not a virgin, chances are you’ve participated in a game of post-coital pee Russian roulette. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, in this game, you never know what you’re going to get: Will it burn? Will it spray? Will it burn then spray?
Let’s take a look at why this stuff happens after sex while you’re peeing, and what can be done about it.
The Problem: The spray feature on your metaphorical hose fires pee randomly into different corners of the bathroom all at once.
The Science: “During sex, the urethra carries semen, and it enters the male urethra very close to the bladder,” says urologist Eugene Dula. “So after sex, your urethra still has semen in it, including probably a concentration near the tip (but still inside the urethra). When you urinate after sex, the urine flushes the residual semen down the urethra, pushing it toward the concentrated area near the tip. This causes the urine flow to be disrupted; it’s sort of like turning on the faucet in your sink and then sticking some gum up in it. The fluid stream will spray out in different directions until it has a clear passage to flow normally.”
The Cure: “In order to clear the passage without spraying everywhere, start by peeing slowly,” Dula suggests. However, he adds: “Don’t try to spread the tip of your urethra, as you could cause a tear.”
The Problem: Arguably the most unnerving post-coital peeing problem is the radioactive stream of pee that burns upon exit from your urethra — this is doubly unnerving if you decided not to wear a condom.
The Science: There are multiple possible explanations for this problem…
- It could be that you’ve contracted a urinary tract infection. Most UTIs are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is naturally present in your body. The bacterium gets into the urinary tract through the urethra, causing a burning sensation when you pee.
- It could be Urethritis, a condition in which the urethra becomes inflamed and irritated. While it’s easy to see why one would confuse the two, Urethritis isn’t the same as a UTI: Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra; a UTI is an infection of the urinary tract.
- Yes, it could be that you’ve contracted an STD such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Similar to other bacterial infections of the urinary tract that affect your bladder, these STDs can inflame your urethra, causing a burning sensation.
- It could be that you’re dehydrated. In this situation, the burning sensation is caused by an electrolyte imbalance that occurs when the levels of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus) in your body either rise or fall to dangerous levels. These imbalances may adversely affect kidney function — one of those symptoms is a burning sensation when you pee.
The Cure: Here’s one solution for each potential cause…
- The natural way to treat a UTI is to flush out your urethra with frequent urinations, meaning you should drink a lot of water. However, some UTIs may require antibiotics.
- Antibiotics can successfully cure urethritis caused by bacteria. Some of the most commonly prescribed include: Adoxa, doxycycline, Monodox, Oracea, Azithromycin, Zithromax and Ceftriaxone.
- Unfortunately, certain strains of super gonorrhea bacteria have become resistant to some antibiotics. But most strains can be treated with a one-time antibiotic injection of Ceftriaxone to the buttocks, or a single dose of Azithromycin by mouth. For Chlamydia, a single dose of Azithromycin, or taking doxycycline twice a day for a week or two are the most common treatments. Of course, you can obfuscate the need for any of this by using condoms.
- If you’re dehydrated, the best treatment is the most obvious one: Drink more water.
The Problem: Despite your recent orgasm, you still have an erection. Or you haven’t had an orgasm yet, but you feel the need to pee despite the presence of your erection.
The Science: We’ve written previously about the difficulties of peeing with a boner. As Ajay Nangia, professor and vice chair of urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, told us, “It’s difficult to urinate with an erection because the chambers within the penis that engorge with blood during an erection — the corpora cavernosa and the corpora spongiosum — compress the urethra.” So if you’re still sporting that post-sex, semi-deflated boner, you may experience some of these problems.
The Cure: “To pee with a boner, you need to generate enough pressure to push the urine through your narrower-than-usual urethra,” we wrote back then. “One way to do so is to massage or place light pressure over the bladder, which sits just below the belly button and just above the pubic bone.” Alternatively, you can just hold it in until you’re back to your regular, flaccid old self.
What It’s Like to Get a UTI Every Time You Have Sex
I was 19 when I first had sex and found myself in the throes of what I would later find out to be recurrent cystitis. While my friends were enjoying a tour of Paris and patisserie shops, I was sitting in shallow warm water in a dirty hostel bathtub, suffering from a fever. Razor-sharp pain stabbed through my crotch and lower stomach. At the time, I thought I was simply ill. My cystitis would not only intensify throughout my 20s but continue to affect my life and relationships.
Nearly every woman in her lifetime has been struck down by cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that affects the bladder and is often called the “honeymoon disease” thanks to its association with sexual intercourse. Some women, however, are plagued with recurrent cystitis; that is, they experience it more than three times a year. In my case, I seem to develop it every single time I have sex. Before I was diagnosed, I had at least 10 infections a year. Now I’m down to two or three.
The toll it has taken on my life is a difficult one to explain to those who have never suffered from severe cystitis. I’ve sobbed in my tent at a music festival because the pain made it impossible to get to a toilet. I’ve rushed to the emergency room at four in the morning; missed out on days of pay while on the floor in agony, and had to suffer the indignity of explaining to housemates why I was stuck in the bathroom all evening. I’ve been lucky to have had understanding boyfriends, but it turns sexual relationships into a medicated pressure cooker. I have to take an antibiotic tablet straight after sex; if it is taken too late, a full course of antibiotics is required.
While I often feel alone in my symptoms, up to 20 percent of women suffer from recurrent cystitis. Bethany, 24, first experienced it when she was 16 years old. (She requested to withhold her last name due to privacy concerns.) “My main symptoms were constantly needing to urinate but nothing coming out,” she said. “I couldn’t concentrate and definitely couldn’t make any plans or go to university—I used to just to sit on the toilet. I also experienced extremely painful burning when urinating and had spots of blood as well as severe back pain.”
With the symptoms mainly brought on by sex, it often got in the way of her relationships. “I used to avoid sex with my boyfriend as the aftermath of pain was too bad. It massively impacted my relationship.” A recent study found that 56.8 percent of recurrent UTI sufferers admitted their relationships were negatively affected by the problem, with people taking an average of three sick days due to the illness.
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In the UK, the NHS prescribes recurrent cystitis sufferers with a low-dose preventative of an antibiotic known as Trimethoprim. It is a pricey solution—30 tablets cost £8.80, which works out to £0.29 every time I have sex. But it’s also a worrying one, as repeated antibiotic use can lead to the bacteria—such as the one that causes cystitis—becoming resistant.
The long-term treatment—or lack thereof—offered in the UK is shocking. On one occasion I visited A&E (emergency services in the UK), in the early hours of the morning, I was handed another antibiotic prescription as I sobbed through the pain. No urine tests or blood samples were taken. When I finally saw a urologist eight months later, the doctor proceeded to tell me that other women had it worse. His suggestion was an invasive procedure known as a bladder instillation, in which I would self-insert a catheter to inject a liquid into my bladder to reduce inflammation and discomfort. He warned that it might not even work.
Dr. Philippa Cheetham, a leading urologist in the US, suggests that part of my problem lies in the low number of female urologists. “Negative experiences with a dismissive male urologist is a story I hear all too frequently and is a fairly typical response. I see over 100 women a week with the problem,” she explains.
Cheetham says that there were few women in her field when she began 25 years ago, though the number of female urologists is now rising. “I am currently mentoring another female in New York and we hear all the time that women get a less good deal with women’s issues and are often neglected .”
Cheetham suggests a number of treatments that should be offered to women. “One is a renal sonogram,” she said. “This excludes a bladder stone as part of your evaluation as recurrent UTIs can cause infection and infections cause stones. Another is a cystoscopy—a telescope view of your bladder. It takes about two minutes, you won’t feel any pain, and it feels a bit like a smear to evaluate the bladder and the urethra.” A cystoscopy can further check for stones, as well as UTI causes by looking at the lining and bladder abnormalities. She also recommends taking Theracran One, a high-potency cranberry extract, though there are conflicting studies on the efficacy of cranberry when it comes to preventing UTIs.
I have now been on Theracran One for three months but am currently single, meaning that I haven’t had a flare-up for a few months. When I start seeing someone again, I’ll have to wait and see if the natural medicine has worked or if I need to fork out money for antibiotics for the rest of my life. Until then, something needs to be done so women’s health care is taken more seriously—especially when it comes to our bladders.
Dr. Chung points to a 2009 study published in PLOS One that looked at 1,261 women ages 18 to 49 with recurrent UTIs and kidney infections. The study found that genetic variation in a kind of receptor called Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is associated with an increased risk of both kidney and bladder infections.
6. There are a few preventive measures that might help.
If you’ve even gotten one UTI before, then you’ve probably heard these tips: Drink a lot of water, don’t hold your pee in, and wipe front to back. “These are simple measures and maneuvers that may or may not help ,” Dr. Vasavada says. “But we generally recommend them because not too onerous and they’re good habits anyway.”
Drinking enough water and emptying your bladder frequently (and after sex) are helpful for preventing bacteria in stagnant urine from colonizing, the NIDDK explains. And wiping from front to back helps stop fecal matter (which contain UTI-causing bacteria) from making its way from the anus to the urethra.
7. Repeat after us: Cranberry juice cannot treat UTIs.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), cranberry juice will not treat an existing UTI. However, there is some research suggesting cranberry juice could help prevent UTIs in the first place, according to the NCCIH. An ingredient in cranberry juice and supplements called proanthocyanidins, or PACs, may help prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract and bladder, Dr. Vasavada says.
But the evidence is a pretty mixed bag. For instance, a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including more than 1,600 subjects, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2012, found evidence of a link between cranberry-containing products and a protective effect against UTIs. However, the authors cautioned that there was significant heterogeneity across the studies, in terms of both variables like the dosages used and the size of the results.
And a 2012 Cochrane review of 24 studies including 4,473 women found that although some smaller studies suggest a preventive effect, particularly in women with recurrent UTIs, the body of evidence as a whole doesn’t suggest a statistically significant difference. “So it’s sort of up to you,” Dr. Vasavada says. “If someone takes it and they think it benefits them, great.”
8. You could be a candidate for prophylactic antibiotics.
If you’re basically a walking UTI, you do have options: prophylactic antibiotics, which is a fancy way of saying preventive antibiotics. The idea is to nip any UTI-causing bacteria in the bud before they can even think of colonizing your urinary tract.
“If someone’s had multiple culture-proven infections and we have no other sources or factors we can find, then we will consider prophylactic antibiotics,” in some form, Dr. Vasavada says. There are a few ways to go about this, depending on the doctor and the patient, Dr. Vasavada says.
One option is low-dose antibiotics taken for daily for something like six months, per the Mayo Clinic. However, doctors are increasingly cautious to prescribe routine antibiotics unless all other options are exhausted, because of side effects and the potential for developing antibiotic resistance, Dr. Vasavada says.
Another route is a single dose of the antibiotic that you take every time you have sex. “That’s often time enough to prevent the infection from settling in,” Dr. Vasavada says. Another method is basically self-started or self-directed treatment using a standing prescription. Whenever you think you may have a UTI, you reach out to your doctor, who may want you to drop off a urine sample or may just tell you to go ahead and take the meds if you’ve recently tested positive and are feeling the symptoms again, Dr. Vasavada explains.
So if you’re suffering from recurrent UTIs—and you’ve been suffering—talk to your doctor. There’s hope.
Additional reporting by Laura Adkins.
- Do You Really Have to Go to the Doctor for a UTI?
- 6 Common UTI Symptoms All Women Should Be Able to Recognize
- 7 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About UTIs
(Picture: Getty/Myles Goode)
If you are one of the poor, unlucky souls that can’t accept even the tip of a penis into your vagina with a UTI looming and ready to pounce, you will know that the curse of the urinary tract infection is an absolute horror show.
The constant, unending need to wee.
The tiny droplets that come out when all you want is a steady stream.
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The pain. The anguish.
No human deserves this, especially not on the reg as some kind of horrible punishment for having sex and failing to pee immediately after.
What makes this curse so much worse? That for a long time, there’s been no real answer to why so many of us will get a UTI at the drop of a hat, while others float along in life care-free and able to pee comfortably and at their will.
Until now, that is.
(Picture: Myles Goode/Metro/Alamy/Getty)
New research from Washington University published in the journal PLOS Pathogens take a look at why, exactly, having sex can result in recurring UTIs.
For ages we’ve thought that the bacteria E.coli is solely responsible for causing UTIs, making them occur when fecal particles are pushed into the urethra by a thrusting dick.
But while E.coli definitely plays a role, this explanation doesn’t answer why some women are more likely to get UTIs, or why each time a woman gets an infection, she becomes more likely to get one again in the future.
Researchers have found that actually, recurring UTIs might be down to a different bacteria: Gardnerella vagnalis.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for metro.co.uk)
That’s a bacteria that often sits in the vagina, that can cause bacterial vaginosis.
Just like E.coli, Gardnerella vaginalis can be pushed into the urinary tract during sex. And while it doesn’t directly cause infection, it damages cells on the surface of the bladder, letting E.coli from previous UTIs to pop back up, start multiplying, and cause another infection.
Researchers found this out by analysing mice, to be clear, so we’re still a little in the dark about how, exactly, this process occurs in humans.
But what we do know is that Gardnerella vaginalis may be to blame for a recurring UTIs. And for that reason it may be destroyed.
The good news? This bit of information could play a massive role in the treatment of UTIs. Which is a big deal considering how antibiotic resistant E.coli means we’re soon to be plagued by UTIs that can’t just be swept away with antibiotics.
Keep peeing after sex. Keep an eye on your pee. But if you’re getting UTIs over and over again, consider that Gardnerella vaginalis may be the culprit – not just standard poo particles as you thought.
MORE: Turns out cranberry juice might not do anything to help with UTIs
MORE: Does not drinking enough water really make your vagina dehydrated?
MORE: Don’t listen to Khloe Kardashian’s advice on vaginas
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I Kept Getting UTIs After Sex
UTIs after sex are clearly very common, yet for some reason, people tend not to talk about it much. So I thought, why don’t I help get the conversation rolling?
I promise it’s a good story, but if you’re not up for read right now, jump to the bottom to see my general tips and more on the products I use to prevent UTIs after sex.
I distinctly remember my first UTI. It was an isolated incident that happened long before my year of hell that saw me through nine or ten. I like to think of it as the time when I was gloriously unaware that UTIs after sex were really a thing.
I had a boyfriend who worked nights so finding moments to shag could be difficult. On this occasion we had sex three times at intervals during the night and I was basically asleep – that type of dreamy, warm copulation that is closely followed by more slumber.
Needless to say, I did not bother going to the toilet. No Sir, it was straight back to sleep for me.
“The next day I awoke busting to pee, but upon urination found that I was still BUSTING! So uncomfortable, and so weird.”
I went straight to the doctor, he informed me I had contracted a UTI due to my failure to clear my urethra of bacteria after sex.
Ok got it.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 1: Always pee immediately after sex.
After sharing this advice, my doctor then issued me with a single pill.
It was like some wondrous, fairytale magic. That was that, no blood, no more discomfort – just done and dusted.
UTIs After Sex – When It Really Kicked In
Years later all was forgotten, including my shift working boyfriend, and I found myself in another relationship with a man who could literally go for hours.
We’re brought up to believe this is the ultimate quality in a lover but apparently excessive friction coupled with a short and narrow urethra does not equate to the best sex of your life – to the contrary this was arguably the worst year of my life.
“I began to realise that every time I had sex, I would get another UTI. UTIs after sex had officially become my modus operandi and post coital intimacy had been replaced by me sitting on a toilet trying to force a decent stream of urine from my body.”
I couldn’t help but wonder why it was happening in this relationship and not others? I’d been in long term relationships and had never had this ongoing problem.
Was my boyfriend carrying bacteria that was reinfecting me each time we had sex? Was something happening in my own body that was causing some kind of imbalance in my urinary tract?
Should My Partner Be Tested For UTI?
I’ve since learned that it is indeed possible for bacteria to be passed back and forth between partners during sex. If you think about it, that makes perfect sense – this is exactly how STIs occur, so why not other organisms?
If I knew this at the time, I would have considered whether my partner should have had his urine tested.
It’s entirely possible for males to carry bacteria without experiencing symptoms, so they wouldn’t necessarily know they were contributing to your own symptoms. Same sex partners can of course pass organisms back and forth too – that’s one area that is truly equal.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 2: Consider whether your partner should also be tested.
Strangely, my boyfriend’s housemate also began to experience recurrent UTIs. That got me thinking about the environment in their share house, or their drinking water or possibly my boyfriend’s fidelity! It seemed like way too much of a coincidence for this to be happening to both of us at the same time.
Antibiotics Didn’t Stop The UTIs After Sex
I was blasting through UTI after UTI and countless courses of antibiotics, resulting in an eventual prescription for prophylactic antibiotics to be taken twice a day for two months, just in case…
“UTIs must follow Murphy’s law because goddamn is there ever a worse time to get one than when they turn up? ‘Hi, it’s me! I thought I’d drop by. I know it’s 11pm on a Sunday night before a public holiday but I just had to come!’.”
During this year of my life they came in blood splattered, painful waves as I went from after hours doctor to after hours doctor, trying to work out WTF was going on!?
I never presented any UTI symptoms when I actually saw my regular doctor which resulted in every urine culture test coming back negative.
This was probably due to the fact that the testing lab was only open during normal business hours – by which time I had already taken antibiotics.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 3: If you are likely to need to provide a urine sample, try not to take antibiotics first, as they can render your urine sterile (according to standard culture). You can either keep a sterile container at home or choose to grit your teeth and wait it out until you can get to a doctor.
I also know now how inaccurate urine tests can be. I would have pushed for better testing had I known then.
I was assured by my own doctor that women “just got them.”
I became “that person” – Googling and Googling, and trying absolutely EVERYTHING. Spoonfuls of cream of tartar, tea made from cornsilk, cranberries coming out my wazoo and nothing… No relief, no end in sight, just stress, while the weight dropped off me.
The Day I Had A UTI Related Run-In With The Police
I’m sure the weight thing sounds good to some, but this was extreme. I had given up sugar due to it being a Life Coach to bacteria, and I was literally climbing the walls.
“I was afraid, terrified that there was no escape and most definitely no definitive answer to why the hell this was happening. Would I suffer from UTIs after sex for the rest of my life?”
I was eventually referred to a urologist who told me he’d take a look inside my bladder to see if anything else was happening (a cystoscopy).
He also told me that after the procedure many women never have another UTI, as the camera can enlarge the urethra, thereby not allowing it to further clog with nasty bacteria. (It turns out this is just a theory, without any hard evidence to back it up). Thanks Urologist!
UTIs after sex prevention tip 4: It would appear that diet can play a part for many people with recurrent UTI. Sugary processed food and drinks. So an unhealthy diet might need to be addressed.
Yay, I thought, as I felt another infection rear its ugly head as I sat in his office. He also told me that his wife drank aloe vera juice (packed with sugar in its readily available form) to sooth the inflamed area. I should have known this was not the answer!
At this stage I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of it all. I wondered whether he usually gave his patients this kind of advice, and whether I should have just spoken to his wife directly.
I left with a prescription for prophylactic antibiotics, tears in my eyes and a searing pain in my crotch… Running to the chemist, desperate to fill the script, desperate to pee, desperate to see the end and find a cure.
“As I clawed my antibiotics from their foil wrappers, clutching my bottle of sickly sweet aloe juice, I was questioned by police. Clearly they saw the desperation in my eyes, my weight loss and a persona of anything less than stable. I was a junkie, an antibiotic junkie.”
Between the prophylactic antibiotics, the invasive bladder inspection and the breakup of my relationship, my UTIs after sex stopped, for a time, for a time…
I have had one since, years after sex had stopped causing me anxiety, and yes, it was late in the evening the night before a public holiday in my slightly provincial home town.
The eye roll I gave the pharmacist who suggested Ural, a urinary alkalinizer, has actually gone down in history. I nearly pulled a muscle in both optic nerves.
I’d just had sex with a new partner, reinforcing my own newly developed theory that there are some men that I am just not compatible with on some basic biological, bacterial level. Swipe left, move along, body says no.
UTIs After Sex Are Worse Than Using The Toilet Around A New Partner
They sometimes refer to UTIs as “honeymooners syndrome”. Historically women became sexually active on their honeymoons.
There was probably already a mixture of fear and trepidation, but then the added embarrassment of showing your new husband that you needed to use the toilet, may have been enough to leave many new brides with a desperately full bladder and bacterial growth flourishing.
New relationships encounter these same problems too. In this last instance the toilet was next to the bedroom and the door did not close, so I was less than enthusiastic about issuing the powerful jet of urine that might have saved me.
And it’s not just not peeing after sex that can cause problems. It turns out it’s about poo too! Constipation is linked to recurrent UTIs, especially in kids.
So if you’re also not making regular bowel movements due to the awkwardness of a new relationship, it’s best to just get over it.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 5: It’s important to avoid constipation. Keeping bowel movements regular can help with urinary tract health.
What I’ve Learned About UTIs After Sex
Fortunately for me, I now knowknew a lot more about UTIs after sex, thanks to the diligent and constant study and questioning of this website.
The last time it happened I immediately recognised what was happening. I was uncomfortable but I managed to flush it out before it developed into the splatter fest, recurring carnage of my previous experiences.
My Tips For Avoiding UTIs After Sex:
- Wash your hands before any sexual activity (hands are germ sanctuaries) and ask your partner to do the same.
- Shower before sex, and ask your partner to do the same, if you find this helps.
- Oral sex can transfer organisms just as any other sexual contact can – I’m still experimenting with different approaches here.
- Always pee immediately after sex to help flush your urinary tract.
- Try using condoms, I find latex free condoms are the best option.
- If the issue seems specific to sex, consider whether your partner should also be tested, and don’t ignore the possibility of STIs – they can cause UTI-like symptoms.
- Don’t let yourself get constipated! This can cause a world of UTI problems.
- Take a look at your health in general. Maybe your diet isn’t helping.
Products That I Find Useful For Avoiding UTIs After Sex:
- A pH balanced wash that I use instead of ordinary soap
- A pH balanced lubricant
- A natural antimicrobial that can be taken after sex to help prevent UTI
- Staying hydrated! And pee regularly!
Specific products aren’t covered on this site because it’s about UTI science, but if you send the team an email, they can share more information about my top picks. Make sure you mention me though (Juliet), so they know what you’re talking about.
If there was one other thing I’d pass on to other sufferers of UTIs after sex, or recurrent UTIs in general, it’s to not accept it when you’re told it’s just the way you are, or when you’re offered remedies you don’t believe have validity.
Do your own research and keep track of your symptoms; consider whether your partner may be contributing to the issue, and whether it makes sense for both of you to be tested.
Start with some of the resources on this website:
- Why your UTI test is negative despite your symptoms
- Chronic vs. recurrent UTI
- Recurrent UTI treatment options
UTIs after sex are so incredibly common, it would have been great to learn more about them during sex ed at school. Imagine if everyone fully understood the role sex can play in the UTI department, so that peeing after sex was just the norm?
Maybe then we wouldn’t be terrified when we experience that first UTI. Maybe we’d have some idea how to handle it, and so would our partners.
Does Peeing After Sex Really Help Stop UTIs?
“When bacteria makes it into the bladder, it’s able to invade the body’s immune defenses and cause an inflammatory reaction,” Shteynshlyuger says. And “inflammatory reaction” is a much nicer way to describe the painful symptoms, including the aforementioned lava icicle—along with urgent, frequent bathroom runs and foul-smelling pee.
Though urinary tract infections can be attributed to a plethora of other factors, including kidney stones, tight clothing, and genetics, being mindful of what you do before and after sex is a good way to minimize the risk of getting one.
1. Chug Some H20
The easiest thing you can do? Stay hydrated, says Jessica Shepherd, M.D., OB/GYN and founder of Her Viewpoint. “Increasing your water intake (and then expelling said water) helps flush the system of bacteria and keeps it from sitting in the bladder and accumulating.”
2. Pee It Out
Though only a handful of studies have found a correlation between peeing after sex and a lower instance of urinary tract infections, peeing after sex can potentially flush out bacteria before it has a chance to travel up your urinary tract and get cozy in your bladder. “Since there is no cost to pee, it’s always a good idea, especially for someone who gets frequent UTIs,” Shteynshlyuger says. And on the flip side, holding in pee gives bacteria time to fester and multiply in your bladder, which can contribute to infections.
3. Wash It Off
“Proper hygiene, like always wiping front to back after using the bathroom can help keep bacteria at bay as well,” Shepherd says. One study found that wiping the wrong way increased your risk of a UTI by 64 percent. Just don’t go crazy trying to disinfect your genitals and stay far away from vaginal douches. Douches wipe out the good bacteria that live in vaginas, which messes up the flora and pH balance, leaving you at risk of infection. Also, spermicide with nonoxonyl-9 can cause tiny microabrasions in the vagina, which can lead to an infection—so stick to other forms of birth control.
And even if you’ve wiped, cleaned, hydrated, and peed religiously, you could still end up with with a urinary tract infection. The good news is that most UTIs resolve quickly. “The immune system is very good at fighting off UTIs, and often symptoms resolve spontaneously within one to three days without antibiotics,” Shteynshlyuger says. “Though they can cause a good amount of misery.”
A course of antibiotics should wipe away all UTI-related misery, but if your infection keeps coming back and seems to be sex-related, both Shteynshlyuger and Shepherd agree that taking a small dose of antibiotics after sex is a solution you and your doctor could discuss to help prevent full-blown infections in the future.
Keep in mind that there are also a host of other problems that can have symptoms similar to urinary tract infections, including some sexually transmitted diseases and interstitial cystitis, a chronic condition affecting the bladder. Once other possible issues are ruled out, it’s a good idea to see a urologist and make sure there are no anatomical problems that predispose you to urinary tract infections, such as incomplete bladder emptying and kidney or ureteral stones, Shteynshlyuger says.
And if you suspect you have a UTI, it’s better to get checked sooner than later—untreated UTIs can sometimes progress to a kidney infection. While this is unlikely, it can be serious, so it’s worth making time to go get it checked out.