- Is Sex Off-Limits With a Urinary Tract Infection?
- UTI’s: drink a lot and refrain from intercourse
- Can I Have Sex When I Have A UTI? Because No One Wants To Wait That Long To Do It Again
- Can you have sex when you have a UTI?
- Can you have sex with a UTI?
- Sex with UTI: Yes or No?
- What is UTI?
- Symptoms of UTI
- What caused UTI, and why are women more at risk?
- UTI and sex
- So should you have sex with a UTI?
- Ways to Prevent UTI
- If you are a catheter user, is it bad to have sex with a UTI?
- If you are concerned about frequent UTIs
- Try CompactCath for FREE to see if it helps with your frequent UTI!
- Can You Have Sex with a UTI?
- What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
- Is a UTI a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?
- Can I Have Sex With a UTI?
- Lower Your Risk of Infection
- Read more of UTI series:
- Why What You Thought About UTIs and Sex is Probably Wrong
- So, how do you prevent UTIs after sex?
- Preventative measures that may help you avoid UTIs
- Explore Methods
Is Sex Off-Limits With a Urinary Tract Infection?
4 Ways to Have Fun With Your Partner While You’re Healing
It can seem like a long wait until it’s safe to have sex again — especially if you’re feeling better and already in the mood. But you don’t have to sleep in separate rooms or play Monopoly every night to pass the time. There are plenty of ways you can stay close and have fun — both in and out of the bedroom.
- Let the tension build. It can actually be kind of fun withholding yourself from your partner. You can tease each other, kiss, and keep it rated PG. You’ll build up sexual tension so that when it’s safe for you to have sex, it may feel like your first time again.
- Kiss and tell. Enjoy kissing each other. When the main event is off the menu, take time to just kiss. Talk about what you like in your partner and new things you want to try in bed as soon as you’re back in the game.
- Be intimate without getting sexy. Being close to your partner isn’t just about sex or physical closeness. Intimacy is about a close emotional connection — sharing your deepest fears, your most embarrassing moments, your secrets that you don’t share with anyone. Spend time simply talking, cuddling, and getting to know each other in ways that no one else could.
- Burn off your energy. You might be looking for ways to release pent-up energy, since you can’t do it in bed. Try some fun new activities together to pass the time and work out your sexual frustrations. Go for a hike or take a cooking class together.
Even if you can’t have sex, you can still enjoy each other’s company and stay satisfied while you let your body heal from a UTI.
UTI’s: drink a lot and refrain from intercourse
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common phenomena in women, young children and men. Despite its high frequency, there are many legends concerning prevention and treatment.
Dr. Ronen Rob, urologist and director of the HYMC Sexual Function Disorder Clinic, and Dr. Shmuel Anderman, gynecologist and director of the Gynecological Endoscopic Unit in HYMC, provide some basics on UTI’s and refer to the verification of “urban legends”.
What is a UTI and what are its causes?
UTI’s are more common amongst young women, but can appear in older women as well, however, for different reasons. The infection is characterized by a burning sensation, a feeling of necessity to urinate often, or a feeling of incomfort and lower abdominal pain. The causes can be:
In young women – the infection appears during the stage when they begin to have sexual relations (also known as “Honeymoon Infection”), or when they switch sexual partners.
In older women – the infection may appear during and following menopause due to the fact that a woman’s ovaries have ended their function and estrogen is no longer secreted. The vagina’s membrane and the lower urinary tract lose their customary texture, causing dryness, which allows an increase in UTI’s.
Treatment is different in both cases.
How does the infection occur?
In young women, UTI’s are caused by the rubbing of the female urethra on her partner’s body or genitalia, allowing penetration of bacteria from the skin or the rectum area into the urethra and from there to the bladder. Other UTI’s are caused by an anatomical reason, or as a result of a reflux problem, therefore it is recommended to consult a physician before starting treatment.
What is the treatment for UTI’s?
After receiving urine test results, specific antibiotics are provided, but if the UTI’s are recurrent (usually following sexual intercourse) a physician may recommend taking one antibiotic pill after intercourse for a period of a few months. Very often, this will pass.
Amongst older women, more often when UTI’s are recurrent, treatment includes applying an estrogen ointment for a period of a few weeks to renew the vaginal and urethra tissues. This can only be decided by a physician.
Urban legends – what’s true and what’s false?
UTI’s are contagious
This type of if infection is not considered a sexual disease, therefore, it is not contagious; sexual partners cannot be infected from each other or by sitting on the toilet following someone with a UTI.
Sitting on a cold floor causes UTI’s
Sitting on a cold floor has not been proved a cause for UTI’s.
Once contracted, a UTI will recur over and over again
Many times women are wrong in thinking the UTI has recurred, but it just may be a different problem. For this reason, we recommend consulting a physician.
Cranberry pills can prevent UTI’s
Cranberry juice also holds an advantage, however, the pills are inexpensive and easy to use.
When a UTI recurs, one may take the previous given antibiotics
Antibiotics should not be taken independently, even if UTI’s are recurrent. It is always recommended to consult a physician, because the symptoms may be similar, but the infection maybe caused by another source. Taking the wrong antibiotic may cause harm.
Drinking large amounts may help women with recurrent UTI’s
Frequent drinking is important for those who actually suffer from UTI’s, and helps to prevent further bouts from those who have had UTI’s in the past.
Urinating following sexual intercourse may help prevent UTI’s
This has not been conclusively proved as a UTI preventing factor.
During treatment it is advised not to engage in sexual intercourse
The reason for this is to allow the area to properly heal.
Pro-biotic products may promote the healing process
This has yet to be scientifically proved, however products that contain pro-biotic bacteria, such as yogurt, are known to have a positive effect on the healing process and infection prevention.
Can I Have Sex When I Have A UTI? Because No One Wants To Wait That Long To Do It Again
The day after I returned from Electric Forest, a four day festival up in Northern Michigan, I knew something was wrong. I was peeing even more than normal — and I drink coffee and water all day every day, so I usually pee a lot. But that Monday, I was in and out of the bathroom pretty much every hour, which was not only uncomfortable but also annoying. The next day the pain started: a burning sensation when I peed that sometimes last for as long as 15 minutes after I finished. I knew then what was up. The not-so-sanitary conditions at the festival had led to a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have never had one, UTIs are infections of — you guessed it! — your urinary tract and they’re caused by bacteria getting in what should really only be an out hole. Most UTIs are caused by fecal bacteria that got where it shouldn’t, either from someone’s fingers, wiping incorrectly (front to back, always, ladies!), or transfer during sex. Sometimes — like when you’re at a four day festival without real showers and using port a potties that run out of toilet paper, quickly — a whole bunch of factors converge and you end up with a painful, annoying infection.
Doctors will prescribed antibiotics for UTIs and, really, as soon as you start seeing signs you should head over to your GP (or hit up Planned Parenthood) and get the medicine but because I was raised by hippies, I hate antibiotics and try to avoid them at all costs possible. In the past, cranberry supplements have helped clear up my UTIs and even though the science is still kind of unclear about whether or not they work, I decided to go that route first.
A week later found me in the waiting room at Planned Parenthood, practically begging the doctor to just give me the damn drugs, already! The cranberry didn’t work and I was scheduled to fly to Japan in two days and I practically ran to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled. Drugs in hand, I was ready to take that UTI head-on.
While taking antibiotics and drinking lots of water are obvious when you have a UTI, less obvious is what you should/can be doing sexually while you’re recovering. For me, UTIs are so painful and gross that I’m not interested in anything else down there, even underwear. My vagina is closed for business until the medicine started kicking in and the pain subsided.
But when can you really start going at it again when you have a UTI?
While I think most women are probably like me and not so into vaginal intercourse (or oral or fingers or ANYTHING) while the pain is still present, it’s obviously up to you when you want to start getting busy again.
Some experts recommend that you wait until you’ve been symptom-free for two weeks, as the infection can come back during that time but, let’s be real: who really wants to wait that long with no nookie?
Other experts say that it’s fine to do it once the symptoms subside. Just be sure to pee after sex, keep drinking lots of water, and be extra careful about any butt to vagina action. (Which you really should be doing anyway, so that shouldn’t be too hard.) If the infection comes back, you’ve learned something about your body and should definitely wait the full two weeks after your new round of antibiotics flushes it out again.
Also, quick note: UTIs aren’t infectious, so you don’t have to worry about spreading them to your partner. However, they can be caused by STIs, so if you’re at all concerned that you may have contacted something, ask your doctor to test you when you go in for your antibiotics.
Images: Giphy (2); Pexels
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Can you have sex when you have a UTI?
UTIs are more common in females than in males. This is because a female’s urinary tract is shorter than a male’s, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder.
Additionally, the urethra is closer to the anus, which enables bacteria from the anus to travel up the urinary tract, potentially causing an infection.
Penetrative sex can further increase these risks by forcing bacteria into the urethra.
There is no safe way to have sex with a UTI, but some simple strategies during sexual activity can reduce the risk of future UTIs:
- Urinate before and after sex to flush out bacteria.
- Avoid sexual practices that can spread bacteria from the anus to the vagina or urethra. People who have anal sex should use a condom and should change condoms after penetrating the anus and before penetrating any other body part.
- Wipe front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement since this can prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus.
- Drink plenty of water to help clean the urinary tract. The risk of a UTI is higher when a person is dehydrated.
- Ask a doctor about alternatives to barrier methods. Some people with allergies to condoms, diaphragms, or other barrier methods get frequent UTIs.
- Consider taking a probiotic. A small number of clinical trials suggest that probiotics may prevent dangerous bacteria from growing out of control.
- Wash hands before manually stimulating a partner. This will not prevent UTIs entirely but can reduce the risk of accidentally introducing bacteria into the urethra.
- Wash hands after touching a partner’s anus or other body parts.
Some females find that a sudden increase in sex, especially with a new partner, causes a UTI. Doctors sometimes call this honeymoon cystitis.
Try slowing down sexual activity for a few days after recovering from a UTI. If having sex with a new partner, gradually increase the rate of sexual activity, especially if there is a history of recurrent or severe UTIs.
OK, so what if you’ve started treatment, your symptoms have started to recede, and you’re itching to have sex? Can you have sex with a UTI?
“If you have an infection and it’s being treated, you don’t need to abstain unless you want to,” Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. The bacteria has already gotten where it shouldn’t, the infection has already started, and you’re already on antibiotics to get that sh*t cleared up, so generally, you’re good to go. There are a few things to keep in mind, though.
Obviously, your symptoms actually need to be gone in order to make this a good idea, otherwise sexual activity could just make the area more irritated. “If you have UTI symptoms, you’re probably not going to even want to have sex,” Jacques Moritz, an ob/gyn at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, tells SELF. Feeling like you need to sprint to the nearest toilet every other second isn’t exactly turn-on material. (Neither is pelvic pain. Same goes for an on-fire urinary tract. You get the idea.)
The other tricky thing is that even if your symptoms are gone, the infection might not be. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment of UTI-liberation, Dr. Minkin says. This is why it’s always essential to finish the entire course of prescribed medication. It will help make sure you actually kick the infection, and if you’re deciding to go ahead with sex, it also makes it less likely that you’ll get another UTI.
Can you have sex with a UTI?
Can you have sex with a UTI, or should you save the sexcapades for later?
The one #flawless thing about UTIs? Their ability to show up at the worst times! Frustrating is an understatement, especially when you want to release some sexual tension. So, let’s be honest, can you have sex with a UTI?
The short answer: yes… But, it’ll most likely cause more pain and complications.
Putting your sex life on hold will speed up recovery time:
A lower urinary tract infection happens when bacteria gets in your urethra and adheres to it, or travels up to the bladder and multiplies. If a UTI goes untreated, it can spread to the kidneys (the upper urinary tract) and cause permanent damage, or sepsis.
During a UTI, your urethra and/or bladder become inflamed because chemicals from your body’s white blood cells are sent to the site of the infection to protect you. These chemicals cause fluid to leak into the sensitive tissues that surround your bladder, urethra, and pelvic region, resulting in swelling. Sexual activity can further irritate those sensitive tissues and prolong the healing process. These symptoms won’t stop you from having vaginal intercourse, but the discomfort and pain will probably kill your mood.
Keep in mind that penetration from sex tends to push bacteria further into your urethra, which can reinfect you or introduce a new source of bacteria.
Can you have sex with a UTI if you’re on antibiotics?
If you’re experiencing UTI symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you’ll get it on. Once your doctor determines you have a UTI, they’ll prescribe you a 3-10 day course of antibiotics. We know, 10 whole days might as well be an eternity at this point, so keep in mind:
- Some experts recommend you wait until you’ve been symptom-free for two weeks. Others say you’re good to go if you’re symptoms have subsided.
- However, just because you’re symptoms are gone, doesn’t mean the infection is. That’s why it’s essential to take the entire course of prescribed antibiotics.
- This will also lessen the chances of reinfection. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine, tells SELF Magazine,“If you’ve got an antibiotic around, it’s probably going to take care of any potential organisms that might be thinking of invading.”
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor, “Can you have sex with a UTI?” They’ll discuss which options are best suited for you and your body.
Just because you put off sex doesn’t mean you’ll lose the spark! Keep the sexual tension growing:
- Makeout, tease, or keep it PG with your partner.
- Talk about the new things you want to experiment with in bed as soon as your UTI is cleared.
- Read some cheesy erotic fiction out loud to each other. Laughter will keep the mood up and increase your libido.
- Literally ‘Netflix and Chill’ (not that you need an excuse).
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If your answer to “can you have sex with a UTI?” is a YES, here are some tips to better manage your situation:
- Urinate before and after sex.
- If you feel the urge to pee during sex, go to the bathroom.
- Do not switch directly from anal to vaginal sex, and avoid oral sex. This introduces more bacteria directly to your urethra.
- Wash after intercourse, and wash your sex toys as well!
Tired of UTIs being a buzzkill in the bedroom? Get ahead of UTIs before they even start. Drink Uqora Target; it’s active ingredients bind to harmful bacteria so they can’t attach to your bladder or urethra. Not sure what sets off your UTIs? Take Uqora Control as an everyday way to say, “Not today, Satan!” to bacteria in your urinary tract.
Sex with UTI: Yes or No?
Can you have sex with a UTI? The short answer? No. The long answer? Yes and no, depending on how much risk you are willing to take. Are you willing to risk getting a second UTI while you’re still combatting the first one? Or are you willing to risk irritating your urethra and feeling worse after sex?
For the next few minutes, let us weigh the pros and cons of having sex with a UTI, find out more about what caused UTI, and learn about how to prevent UTI.
What is UTI?
UTI is short for urinary tract infection. It is extremely common and accounts for 25% of all infections. The urinary tract refers to all the body parts involved in urine production and release, which includes, in descending order:
- Kidneys—two bean-shaped organs located below your ribcage that filter blood to produce urine
- Ureters—two tubes that connect each kidney to the bladder, allowing urine to drain into the bladder
- Bladder—a muscular sac in the pelvis that relaxes to retain urine, or contracts to void urine
- Urethra—the tube that connects the bladder to where urine drains out of the body at either the head of the penis or in front of the vagina between the labia minora.
An infection that occurs at any point in the urinary tract is a UTI. The most common form of UTI is the infection of the urethra and bladder. This is considered to be a lower UTI and is usually easily cured by antibiotics. However, if the infection travels up to the kidneys through the ureters, a kidney infection can trigger a life-threatening condition known as sepsis.
Symptoms of UTI
Lower UTI (bladder and urethra):
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy, bloody, dark, and/or foul-smelling urine
- Pain and burning during urination
- Abnormal urethral discharge
- Pelvic pain and pressure
- Pain in the upper back or the sides of the body
- Nausea and vomiting
If you experience the above symptoms, you should see your doctor to get diagnosed and treated. If you have a high fever, and severe pain, chills, and vomiting, you should go to the emergency room.
What caused UTI, and why are women more at risk?
A UTI is commonly caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses or fungus. Around 50% to 60% of women will get UTIs in their lifetimes.
Compared to men, women are more likely to get a UTI because of their shorter urethras, allowing bacteria to easily travel up to the bladder. A woman’s urethral opening is also close to the vagina and the anus. E. coli from the colon can migrate from the anus to the urethra opening during sexual activities or when a woman wipes from back to front after going to the toilet.
Other germs can also enter the urethra during sex. Although UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection, other STIs like herpes, gonorrhea, mycoplasma or chlamydia on the person’s or their partner’s genitals can infect the urethra, causing a UTI.
UTI and sex
Sex is a major risk factor for UTI. All the motions during sexual activity can easily push germs from either partners’ genital or anal areas into the urethra.
Around 80 percent of premenopausal women have had sex 24 hours before developing a UTI.
Sexually active women are more likely to get a UTI than non-sexually active women. Frequent intercourse increases the risk of UTI and so does using certain birth control methods like diaphragms, non-lubricated condoms, or condoms with spermicide.
Some women are more predisposed to UTI and can develop a UTI every time they have sex.
So should you have sex with a UTI?
During the initial stages of UTI, you may not be in the mood due to uncomfortable symptoms. But after a few days of antibiotic treatment, the symptoms have subsided and you are wondering if you can safely participate in sexual activities.
Turns out, the answer is not a simple yes or no. Different sources have given different answers, and what kind of sex act you engage in matters too.
Healthline has recommended people to abstain from sex until all UTI symptoms are cleared for 2 weeks, because:
- penetration of the vagina can put pressure on the neighboring urethra and bladder, irritating them and making UTI symptoms worse;
- sexual intercourse can introduce new bacteria into the urinary tract, leading to a second UTI and longer recovery time;
- the force of penetrative sex can push bacteria further up the urinary tract.
Also, Healthline advises people to not receive oral sex without a dental dam because bacteria can pass into their partner’s mouth.
Although Healthline gives a firm no, Self gives a tentative yes. They interviewed Lauren Streicher, M.D., who says the chance of getting a second UTI is slim when you’re already on antibiotics, so you don’t need to abstain from sex. Nonetheless, Self still notes that there is a risk of sex agitating UTI symptoms.
At the end of the day, whether or not to have sex with a UTI is your decision. If you want to be absolutely safe, have no penetrative sex or receive oral sex until two weeks after all symptoms are cleared.
But if you still want to have sex, here are some tips to decrease the risk for UTI, either right after sexual intercourse or in general.
Ways to Prevent UTI
- Urinate after sex to push bacteria out
- Clean both you and your partner’s genital and anal areas before sex and clean your own genitals after sex
- Do not change orifices (anus to vagina) during sex without proper cleansing
- Drink plenty of water and don’t hold urine in
- For women, wipe carefully from front to back after going to the toilet
- Avoid douches, scented wipes, and scented feminine products
- Avoid using diaphragms, pre-lubricated condoms, or spermicide condoms
- Avoid prolonged dampness in the groin area by wearing loose-fitting, breathable underpants and pants
- Treat urinary retention promptly since retained urine increases the chance of bladder infection
- If you use an intermittent catheter, make sure to practice hygienic self-catheterization techniques.
If you are a catheter user, is it bad to have sex with a UTI?
If you self-catheterize, your chances of getting a UTI is already higher than others because of your pre-existing condition of urinary retention, and because UTI is already one of the most common catheter complications.
If you have severe urinary retention, after sex, you wouldn’t be able to flush bacteria out by urinating. Instead, when you self-catheterize, you can push the bacteria deeper in. Additionally, the catheter may further irritate your urethra and bladder after they’ve already been irritated by sex.
Therefore, if you already use a catheter, you should consider abstaining from sex until your symptoms are fully cleared for two weeks and also consult your doctor on the best course of action to prevent future UTIs.
If you are concerned about frequent UTIs
If you experience recurrent UTIs and irritation as the result of catheterization, you should check out CompactCath.
CompactCath catheters are pre-lubricated with silicone oil which was found by multiple studies (studies 1, 2, 3) to have anti-microbial properties, meaning it kills bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It is the only catheter company on the market that uses silicone oil as a lubricant.
Additionally, CompactCath’s catheters are super-compact, light, and drip-free; they fit discreetly into your back pocket, purse, and carry-on luggage.
Although our customers have self-reported having fewer UTIs since switching to CompactCath, using CompactCath does not guarantee that you would not get a UTI, nor has it been clinically proven to lower the risk of UTI.
Emerged out of Stanford as the brainchild of a team of physicians, mechanical engineers, and MBAs, CompactCath is FDA-cleared in 2014, holds six patents, covered by CNN Money, won two grants (BioDesign Spectrum grant, LPCH Pediatric Innovation grant) and two iF product design awards (2016, 2017).
Try CompactCath for FREE to see if it helps with your frequent UTI!
Please note that this article is not and does not substitute formal medical advice. CompactCath catheters are not clinically proven to lower the risk of UTI, though CompactCath customers have self-reported fewer incidents of infections.
Can You Have Sex with a UTI?
If you have a UTI, your entire lady-part region probably hurts. Still, you might find yourself with the urge. But can you have sex with a UTI, or is it unsafe?
Just to clarify, “a UTI (urinary tract infection) is caused by bacteria (usually E. coli, sometimes other strains) that infects the urinary tract-urethra, bladder, even the kidneys,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn in New York City. “Many UTIs are caused by sexual activity because, for women, the urethra (where urine exits the bladder) is in close physical proximity to the anus/rectum (where you have a bowel movement), and this area is heavily colonized with bacteria. During thrusting of intercourse, this bacteria can contaminate and infect the bladder,” says Dr. Dweck. Yuck. (Psst, you know you’re interested: 12 Anal Sex Facts from an Insider)
The good news is, if you have a UTI, antibiotics will clear up the infection. Plus, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid UTIs in the future, such as peeing before and after sex, drinking plenty of fluids, and even exercise, says Dr. Dweck. (Here’s more on how to prevent UTIs.) But it’s always best to get checked by your gyno if you have recurrent UTIs or think you could be dealing with something else.
So, can you have sex with a UTI or not?
The simplest answer: It’s ok to have sex with a UTI, but you probably won’t like it.
You probably want to skip sex until the infection is totally gone, says Dr. Dweck. While there’s no real risk to your health (or your partner’s) by having sex with a UTI or having sex during UTI treatment, it’s probably going to hurt like hell. Engaging in intercourse could be anything from uncomfortable to downright painful, and it could even worsen some symptoms, says Dr. Dweck. (P.S. did you know a new sexual partner could mess with your vagina?)
“Physically, the bladder and urethra might be inflamed and very sensitive with a UTI, and the friction from intercourse or other sexual activity would surely aggravate these symptoms,” she says. You may experience increased feelings of pressure, sensitivity, and urgency to urinate if you have sex with a UTI, she adds.
With all that to deal with-plus the pain-just the thought of having sex with a UTI might be a total mood killer. Regardless, your best bet is to go to the doc, get an antibiotic (if needed), and wait until the coast is clear.
“Most people will feel better in 24 to 48 hours, but you should finish whatever course of treatment is recommended,” says Dr. Dweck. Plenty of fluids to “flush bacteria out” can also help. “There are also over-the-counter and prescription remedies that will help ease discomfort while waiting for treatment to take effect,” she says.
Bottom line: You should probably wait to have sex until you feel better. And let’s be honest, sex, when you’re not feeling 100 percent means less than stellar pleasure, anyway. (What is going to lead to amazing sex? This: The Best Sex Positions for Clitoral Stimulation)
- By By Isadora Baum
Table of Contents
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere along the urinary tract. The urinary tract is made of organs that store, transport, and remove waste and excess water in the form of urine. The organs include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. When you develop symptoms of a UTI, it is common to wonder “can I have sex with a UTI?” Find answers to questions around UTI and sex, including whether its recommended to have sex during UTI treatment.
What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
The most common cause of a UTI is when bacteria enters the urinary tract from the urethra. The bacteria that is responsible for about 90 percent of all UTI cases is Eschericha coli, or E.coli that is usually found in our colons and fecal waste. Unprotected anal sex is a common way to spread E.coli into the urinary tract through the urethra. Increased likelihood of an infection occurs when there are minimal opportunities to flush bacteria out or factors creating an environment good for bacteria growth.
When wondering can you have sex If you have a UTI? It is important to consider that UTI’s start with an inflamed urethra, and the friction from sexual intercourse can create an environment that helps bacteria stick to the tissue walls, grow, and spread to other areas of the urinary tract. The friction and dryness from frequent sex combined with improper lubrication during vaginal sex can also increase the risk of urethral inflammation.
Is a UTI a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?
UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can share similar symptoms. This is because a UTI can be caused by the same bacteria that causes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These diseases include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. When asking the question can you have sex with a UTI? It is generally not recommended to have sex in order to avoid further aggravations of the urinary tract.
It is also important to ensure that your symptoms are not actually being caused by an STD. If your partner has an STD, you are at risk of contracting it and shouldn’t have sex until your partner is fully treated. You can order a STD test to determine if your symptoms are from an STD. Indications of an STD that are not usually present in UTIs include discharge of pus or fluid from the penis or vagina.
Can I Have Sex With a UTI?
When symptoms of a UTI flare up, it is common to wonder can you have sex? When you have a UTI with mild symptoms that is not caused by an STD, it is possible but not recommended. To avoid complications from a recurring UTI, it is suggested to wait until you have fully recovered from the UTI before engaging in sexual intercourse. This is mainly because having sex can increase chances of bacteria entering the urinary tract. Bacteria on your partner’s penis or a penetrating toy can enter the urinary tract during sexual activity. Sometimes bacteria that is in or near the vaginal opening can also be “shoved” into the area of the urethra during penetration. Although there is no link between sexual positions and UTI development, the friction during sex can further irritate your urethra. An inflamed urethra is also often accompanied with a lot of pain that can be intensified during sex.
Sex during UTI treatment could be possible with mild cases and if the proper precautions for UTI prevention are taken. Some methods you can try for relief from common UTI symptoms include using a heating pad on your belly, back, or side to soothe pains. It is also recommended to keep your body hydrated. Drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces can help create a healthy flow of urination to properly flush out bacteria. Dehydration and constipation makes it difficult to empty your bladder and allow trapped bacteria to grow. Urine is normally sterile and an infection occurs when bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract. Drinking fluids before sex so you have a strong flow of urine after sex can significantly reduce risks of infection.
Lower Your Risk of Infection
To prevent sex and UTI complications, there are various preventative methods you can start adopting today. For those who have had a UTI, these habits can also help prevent recurring UTIs from turning into complications. They include:
- Urinating when you need to and always trying to empty your bladder fully
- Practicing safe sex to avoid contracting any bacteria from sexually transmitted diseases
- Taking showers instead of baths
- Urinating soon after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra
- Washing your genital area after sex
- Wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing that don’t trap moisture because moist areas are a good environment for bacteria to grow
- Drinking plenty of fluids to flush out the bacteria and prevent dehydration; passing pale-colored urine that has a strong flow is a good sign bacteria is being flushed
A method to flush out toxins and microorganisms in the urinary tract is to drink parsley juice. One study found that parsley juice leads to increased urine amounts when compared to water. This allowed for a stronger urine flow and more bacteria flushed. Parsley also contains multiple nutrients including vitamins A, B, and C that can support your body’s immune defenses when they fight against bacteria. Since parsley may interact with some medications, consult your doctor prior to trying this method.
Women with recurrent infections that are postmenopausal can opt to have vaginal estrogen therapy if hormonal reasons are the cause of their vulnerability to infection. If you frequently have UTIs following sex, you can also consult a doctor about taking a certain type of antibiotic as a preventative measure.
If you experience any symptoms of UTI or STD, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone appointment with a top U.S. doctor today, or order a STD test now.
Read more of UTI series:
- What to do if you have a Urinary Tract Infection
- Recurrent UTIs in Women: Treatment & Prevention
- How to Get Rid of a UTI
Why What You Thought About UTIs and Sex is Probably Wrong
By Dr. Allison Hill, OB/GYN.
We’ve all heard the jokes about contracting a urinary tract infection (UTI) after having sex. Sure, they can be funny, but they’re actually perpetuating a myth that many of us have believed our entire lives: As soon as you are sexually active, here come the UTIs.
It’s not a complete myth: increased sexual activity is in fact one of the top reasons women contract UTIs. In fact, UTIs were regularly referred to as “honeymoon cystitis” – another name for a bladder infection – because of how often they occur after honeymoons where women are having sex more frequently.
But what isn’t true is that sexual activity itself directly causes a UTI, or that there’s a 100 percent chance you’ll contract one. There’s no research that support either claim.
What’s actually happening is that when you have sex, bacteria on the skin is pushed into the urethra and travels into the bladder, causing a UTI. Because the female urethra is short (about 2 ½”), women are more prone to these infections than men. There are two other factors that may increase your chances of a post-coital infection: you simply happen to be more prone to UTIs, or you don’t have a strong enough urine stream to flush the bacteria out of the bladder.
Also, it has been proven that certain types of contraception like diaphragms or spermicides can increase the probability of getting the infection. These contraceptive methods aggravate the sensitive tissue in the vaginal areas in women. This irritated tissue creates an atmosphere where bacteria thrives, thus increasing the likelihood of a UTI. Unfortunately, some women don’t even know that the contraceptives are causing these issues, which is why you should talk to your doctor if you notice that something is off.
You cannot “catch” a UTI from someone else. If you’re thinking of having sex, wait until your symptoms subside so you’re comfortable and aren’t in excruciating pain. But if you absolutely can’t wait, then think about taking it slow and steady and opting for positions that aren’t directly angled at your bladder.
While contracting a UTI is generally out of your control, there are certain measures you can take before and after sex to reduce your risk:
- Urinate before and immediately after sex to flush out your bladder
- Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sex
- Always ensure you’re hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day; this will flush the bacteria out of your urinary tract
- Take a probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus to keep your vaginal flora balanced
- If possible, opt for other forms of birth control instead of a diaphragm or spermicides
- Wipe from front to back to keep unnecessary bacteria away from your urethra
- Take a prescribed antibiotic after intercourse (but make sure you speak with your doctor first)
- Check out your urine – if it’s pink or red, it may be a sign of a UTI and you should call your doctor
- Add a product like Cystex Liquid Cranberry Complex into your daily routine as it’s formulated with multiple powerhouse ingredients to help maintain urinary tract health
Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that sex is always to blame for UTIs. It’s damaging to our emotional and mental well-being and just plain inaccurate. We need to make a concerted effort to normalize urinary tract infections and help women understand UTI facts versus fiction, especially when it comes to sex.
*Data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
While we’re on the subject of myths: It’s the same deal with wiping front to back when you pee, whether it’s after sex or not. The practice, which every person learns in Owning a Vagina 101, certainly doesn’t hurt and is a good idea for general hygiene purposes. But when it comes to preventing UTIs, “there’s been very little evidence that in general, in most healthy normal people, makes a big difference,” says Goldman. Thankfully, the anatomy of the vagina is actually pretty good at preventing lingering poop particles from working their way up into the urinary tract, he explains. “The urethra is all the way in the front of the vagina, so you’d have to be wiping like all the way around the front for it to really make a difference.” (If you are suffering from recurring UTIs and suspect things are less than spotless down there, Kim recommends using baby wipes to keep things tidy post-number two.)
So, how do you prevent UTIs after sex?
Getty ImagesChange up your birth control
If you are using spermicide-coated condoms or diaphragms during intercourse and keep getting UTIs after sex, you might want to rethink your method of contraception, because it could be making your vagina more friendly to the bad kind of bacteria. “Spermicide kills the sperm, but it also may kill some of the healthy bacteria that are normal in the vagina,” Goldman tells Allure. “Then, when those healthy bacteria are killed or gone, some of the bacteria that you don’t want can take up residence in the vagina.” Once they travel up the urethra, you’ve got a UTI. (For the same reason, you’ll also want to avoid douching, which you shouldn’t be doing anyway.)
Stay hydrated and pee frequently
Peeing right after sex might not necessarily be as crucial as you thought, but peeing regularly, in general, is definitely a good idea. “One of the ways that women can prevent infections is that when bacteria gets in the bladder, hopefully, it kind of washes out when they go to the bathroom,” Goldman says. The idea is to regularly flush out any bad bacteria that may be hanging around in your system before it gets a chance to build up.
That’s why it’s important to drink enough fluids so that you’re peeing every few hours. And this is the case all the time, not just after sex. “If some bacteria does get in there, and you’re totally dehydrated and you only go once a day, then what can happen is that bacteria is sitting there all day and has a chance to start dividing and causing problems,” Goldman explains.
Use vaginal hormonal cream
Menopause triggers a drop-off in estrogen, along with a change in the pH in the vagina and a thinning of vaginal tissues, according to Goldman. This change in the vaginal environment just compounds the issue for somebody already prone to getting UTIs after sex. The good news is that vaginal estrogen cream has been clinically proven to significantly reduce the risk of UTIs in postmenopausal folks (whether or not their UTI is the result of intercourse). “If you use very low dose vaginal hormonal cream in the vagina, that actually can sort of rejuvenate the vaginal tissues and change the pH back to what it’s supposed to be, and help the good bacteria in the vagina,” he explains.
Preventative measures that may help you avoid UTIs
Getty Images1. Take probiotics
“There is some very mild evidence that probiotics may help prevent bladder infections,” says Goldman. The idea is that probiotics can help restore the healthy bacterial flora or good bacteria in your vagina and along your urinary tract. You can get these probiotics either naturally in your diet from foods like yogurt and kimchi, or in the form of supplements. Probiotics are also available in the form of vaginal suppositories. “Some people do well with the vaginal insertion of special probiotics formulated for vagina,” says Kim.
2. Drink cranberry juice
While the notion that cranberry juice can cure a UTI is pretty flimsy, there are some studies suggesting it can aid in preventing them. “There is some very, very weak evidence that cranberry juice or cranberries — or other things in that family, like blueberries — may help lower one’s risk for infection,” says Goldman.
UTI stands for urinary tract infection and 75% of the time they are triggered by having sex. It’s a totally common health issue. It has nothing to do with your personal hygiene. And getting one can be painful, so here are a few tips to help prevent them.
Going to the bathroom is key. You don’t have to sprint to the toilet immediately after sex. Simply follow this protocol as much as possible:
- Drink about two quarts of water each day.
- Pee regularly throughout the day. Don’t hold it in for hours at a time.
- Pee right before you go to bed. Even better, go twice before bed. Pee once and then 15 minutes later.
- Pee at least 30 minutes before and after intercourse.
Want to do a little extra-credit prevention? This stuff can also help fend off a UTI:
- Drink 4-ounces of 100%-natural cranberry juice a day. No added sugar. Vodka-cranberry combos don’t count. Just pure juice.
- Wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement.
- Make sure your underwear has a cotton crotch. Cotton breathes but synthetic lining can trap moisture and spread bacteria.
- Use lube during sex to reduce friction on your urethra. Changing up your sex positions will also help.
- Avoid soaps, douches, sprays, or spermicides that have irritated your vag before.
- Take vitamin C.
Now, if you experience pain or burning while peeing, and a constant feeling that you have to pee, you might have a UTI. Other symptoms include pink urine (from blood), a fever or chills, pain in your lower back, and peeing very little even though you feel like you really have to go a lot. Go see a doctor and have it checked out ASAP. (You don’t want it to turn into a kidney infection or worse, like a 10-day hospital visit!) UTIs are usually treated with a round of antibiotics.
P.S. Need to find a health center for birth control or a UTI? Get a list of locations near you.