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UTI After Sex: Treatment and Prevention

UTI After Sex: Treatment and Prevention

A lot of things could increase the risk of developing a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and sex is one of them. What’s the link between UTI and sexual intercourse? More importantly, if you obtain UTI after sex, what’s the best treatment option?

How Can Sex Increase Your Risk of Getting UTI

Before we proceed with learning more about UTI after sex treatment, let’s first establish that the most common cause of UTI is a bacterial infection. The bacteria that live in the genital and anal area may get “pushed” into the urethra to the bladder and cause an infection during sexual activity. Note that UTI is not a sexually-transmitted disease, but having sex can cause and worsen it.

Reports say that women are 10 times more likely to get a UTI than men, primarily due to their shorter urethra.

This means that, in women, bacteria can travel faster from the urethra into the bladder, ultimately leading to a bladder infection (cystitis).

uti after sex treatment

While it’s easy to say that sex causes UTI, it’s quite misleading.

Sex doesn’t exactly cause UTI. The reason why many people, especially women, associate UTI with sex is because thrusting during penetrative sex “pushes” the bacteria on the skin to the urethra and up into the bladder.

This means that with each sexual encounter, there’s a risk of UTI. However, some factors could further heighten the risk. These factors are:

  • Frequent and intense sexual intercourse. Research says that frequent sexual intercourse is one of the greatest risk factors in RUTI or recurring urinary tract infection among women.
  • Wearing a contraceptive diaphragm. This is because it could irritate the urethra, making it more prone to infection.
  • Using spermicide. The reason for this is that spermicide could also irritate the skin of the vagina, making it a better environment for bacteria to thrive.

Finally, it’s important to note that UTI is not contagious. Hence, you cannot “catch” it from someone else.

What can happen, however, is that you could get the infection-causing bacteria from your partner’s skin.

UTI After Sex Treatment Options

If you contract UTI after sex, you have a wide array of treatment options, such as the following.

General Therapies

General therapies mostly include home remedies such as avoiding tight-fitting clothes, not having bubble baths, and drinking plenty of fluids a day. Generally, habits to boost your bladder health can keep UTIs and other infections at bay.

Antimicrobial Therapies

In most cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria that caused the urinary tract infection. Many health experts consider this as the core treatment for UTI.

However, depending on your case, you may also receive the other “versions” of antimicrobial therapy.

For example: if you have a recurring UTI (RUTI), the doctor may advise a continuous antibiotic prophylaxis therapy.

In this treatment, you might receive a low-dose antibiotic daily for 6 months or longer. The doctor may also opt to give you antibiotics thrice a week, weekly, or monthly.

In sexually-related RUTI, the doctor might order a post-coital antimicrobial prophylaxis treatment. Here, you’ll need to take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse.

Alternative Treatment Options

Aside from the general and antimicrobial therapies, some women also use alternative treatment options such as acupuncture, cranberry juice, and probiotics.

If you want to learn about the herbals that can help you treat UTI, you can read this article.

How to Prevent UTI After Sex

Now that you know about the different treatment options for UTI after sex, let’s proceed with prevention.

Below are some things you can do to reduce the risk of getting UTI through sexual intercourse:

Practice Good Hygiene

Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after any sexual activity.

Remember that you can get the bacteria from your partner’s hands and fingers. Thorough handwashing helps get rid of the bacteria so that it wouldn’t get into the urethra during foreplay.

Additionally, if you engage in anal sex, don’t forget to change the condom before switching to vaginal sex.

Of course, you must also thoroughly (but gently) wash your genital area before and after intercourse. Just be careful with your cleansing products as they might remove your body’s natural protective secretions.

Void Before and After Sex

To prevent UTI after sex, urinate before and after engaging in sexual intercourse.

Urinating before sex relieves pressure from the bladder. On the other hand, peeing within 15 minutes after sex helps wash away the infection-causing bacteria.

Prevent Irritation

Irritating the vagina, urethra, and bladder may make you more vulnerable to infections. That’s why, as much as possible, try to:

  • Avoid intense and prolonged clitoral stimulation during sex or masturbation.
  • Lubricate the vagina using water-based lubricants.
  • Avoid positions that put pressure on the urethra and bladder. For example, rear-entry positions, as well as prolonged and vigorous thrusting, add stress to the bladder and urethra.

Rethink Your Choice of Birth Control

To prevent UTI after sex, you can consult your doctor about your choice of contraceptives.

As mentioned, diaphragms might press the rim of the urethra, thereby irritating it. Choosing a diaphragm with a different size and rim-type may solve the problem.

Some contraceptive foams, vaginal suppositories, and condoms that are not lubricated may also cause irritation.

Be Careful with Sex Toys

To prevent UTI after sex, be careful with your sex toys, as it could be contaminated. Hence, make sure that you’ll clean them before and after use.

Additionally, stop using a sex toy if they are causing pressure and irritation on the genital area, urethra, or bladder.

uti after sex treatment

Is it Safe to Have Sex When You Have UTI?

After discussing the UTI after sex treatment options, you must be wondering: Is it okay to have sex when you have UTI?

Even though a urinary tract infection is not contagious, doctors still advise people with UTI to refrain from having sex until their symptoms have cleared up.

This is because sex could contribute to increased irritation and might worsen symptoms.

Moreover, sexual intercourse when you already have UTI might cause reinfection with new bacteria.

Key Takeaways

To prevent UTI after sex, always practice good hygiene, void before and after sex, and prevent irritation to the vagina, urethra, and bladder.

You can also consult your doctor about the possibility of changing your birth control method.

UTI after sex treatment options vary, but to get the best care, you must seek medical help.

Learn more about Urological Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

What is the Link Between Urinary Tract Infections and Sex?
https://www.byramhealthcare.com/blogs/what-is-the-link-between-urinary-tract-infections-and-sex
Accessed September 15, 2020

Why What You Thought About UTIs and Sex is Probably Wrong
https://www.cystex.com/thought-utis-sex-probably-wrong/
Accessed September 15, 2020

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749018/
Accessed September 15, 2020

Preventing UTIs and Avoiding Reinfection
https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/preventing-utis-and-avoiding-reinfection/
Accessed September 15, 2020

Urinary Tract Infections
https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/uti.html
Accessed September 15, 2020

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/urinary-tract-infections-utis#:~:text=It’s%20pretty%20easy%20to%20get,gets%20pushed%20into%20your%20urethra.
Accessed September 15, 2020

Urinary Tract Infection
https://www.urologysanantonio.com/urinary-tract-infection
Accessed September 15, 2020

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/urinary-tract-infections-utis, Accessed September 24, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 25
Medically reviewed by John Paul Ferolino Abrina, M.D.
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