It hurts, right? After having that mind-boggling time with your partner, you feel pain, discomfort, and general ill health.
You don’t know why it keeps happening. I’ll tell you why then throw in some knowledge on how to prevent UTI after sex.
What is UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that attacks the urinary system.
This type of infection can affect your urethra (urethritis), kidneys (pyelonephritis), or bladder (cystitis).
Your urine doesn’t contain bacteria. It is only a by-product of our filtration system, the kidneys.
When the kidneys drain excess water and waste products from your blood, urine is formed.
Usually, urine passes through the urinary system without contamination.
However, bacteria can infiltrate the urinary system from the outside, causing problems such as inflammation and infection, ultimately known as urinary tract infection (UTI).
UTI is a common occurrence in your urinary system, especially in women.
This is because of the short distance between the urine opening and other genitalia of the feminine body.
What Are the Symptoms of UTI?
A urinary tract infection affects the lining of the urinary tract, making it red and irritated (inflammation).
Symptoms may include the following:
- Pain in the side (flank), pelvic area, or abdomen.
- Pressure in the lower pelvis area.
- Frequent urination and incontinence.
- Painful urination (dysuria) and presence of blood in urine.
- The urge to urinate at night and tingling sensation during urination
- Unusual urine color (cloudy urine) and strong odor or foul-smelling urine.
Other symptoms that may come with a urinary tract infection include:
- Pain during penetrative sex
- Penis pain
- Lower back pain or flank pain
- Fever and chills
What Are the Possible Causes of UTIs?
The urethra is that tube connected to the bladder through which urine flows out of the body.
In women, this tube is short. In fact, many women have shorter urethras.
This makes it easier and faster for bacteria to penetrate the opening and attack the bladder.
The bacteria that cause UTIs thrive in the anus area. Sex can move these bacteria toward the vulva and urine dot.
From there, it’s just a short journey up the urethra and into the bladder, where it multiplies, thus begetting UTI.
This bacterial growth can sometimes travel further into the body and infect the kidney. E. coli, a bacterium usually found in the intestine, causes more than 90% of cystitis (bladder infection).
Why Are Some Individuals Prone to UTIs After Sex?
1. Anatomy and Genetics
Women are more susceptible to UTIs, basically because of their anatomy.
The distance between the anus and urethra of a woman is shorter compared to that of a man. Plus, the urethra is in very close proximity to the openings of the vagina.
This structure gives bacteria more liberty to spread or be wiped from both areas into the urethra.
Naturally, some women have cells that are more receptive to bacteria infection, meaning the natural body functions are less likely to flush out the bacteria.
A 2009 case study of more than 1,200 women recorded that those who experienced recurrent UTIs and kidney infections had a genetic variation in their cell receptors.
2. Bathroom Habits
Because a woman’s urethra is so close to the vagina and anus, wiping from front to back after using the restroom is crucial.
This decreases the risk of fecal matter or bacteria moving from the anus into the urethra.
It’s also essential to ensure you are clean and dry before wearing your underwear. Any fecal matter or bacteria can spread on your underwear as you move about.
3. Sexual Activity
Bacteria can spread a whole lot faster during sexual activity. It can be from your partner’s genitals, tongues, fingers, or even sex toys.
Such activity can also move bacteria from your anus or vagina into your urethra.
This is why doctors advise individuals to pee after sexual intercourse constantly.
That little action will go a long way to flush wandering bacteria out of the urethra. This is a vital step when thinking of how to prevent UTI after sex.
4. Other Health Issues
A chronic health condition or suppressed immune system can make one prone to recurring UTIs and other infections.
Diabetic patients have a high risk of UTI, like those with certain neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases, and kidney or bladder stones.
People who have undergone surgery on any of their urinary systems (kidney, bladder, ureter, urethra), which may have resulted in scar tissue or anatomy alterations, are prone to contracting an infection.
8 Easy Steps on How to Prevent UTI After Sex
You don’t have to stop your beautiful union with your partner to prevent UTI.
Here are some easy steps on how to prevent UTI after sex to minimize the build-up of bacteria and decrease your risk of contracting UTI from sex.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
You can prevent UTIs by practicing good personal hygiene. This is especially vital for women.
We already know how close the urethra is to the vagina and anus and how easily E. coli can move from the rectum to the urethra.
After a bowel movement, it is recommended that you wipe from front to back and not the other way around.
Women should maintain good hygiene practices during their menstrual cycle to counter infections.
Pads and tampons should be changed regularly. Wash your underwear frequently.
At night, that is, after having bathed, avoid putting on underwear. This is to allow your intimate area to breathe fresh air.
Avoid tightly fitted ones to reduce skin irritation if you must put on your underwear.
2. Avoid Using Feminine Deodorants or Scented Products that Irritate Your Skin.
Practice good hygiene before and after sexual activity. Wash your intimate area, hands, and fingers before and after sex. Properly clean sex toys before and after using them.
Use of spermicides, diaphragm, and condoms may increase your risk of UTI, especially when you are prone to recurrent infections.
However, visit your gynecologist to proffer solutions. You may be advised to take a low-dose antibiotic for six months every time you have sex.
3. Drink Plenty of Water and Fluids
Add extra fluids, especially lots of water, to your daily routine. This will help flush out excess bacteria from your urinary system.
Doctors recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.
4. Change Your Urination Practices
Urinating can play a massive role in ridding your body of harmful bacteria. Each time you empty your bladder, bacteria are flushed out.
Please do not wait for your bladder to get filled up to the point of hurting before you release them, as this may damage your bladder.
Damaged bladders cannot function properly, leaving you at the mercy of UTI and other infections.
Yes, we established taking in fluids expunges bacteria; however, certain fluids irritate the bladder.
They may include alcohol, caffeinated drinks, citrus juices, and spicy food.
Also, urinating right after sex can help rid them of bacteria present or introduced during intercourse.
You can as well wash your genital area with warm water before sex.
Avoid douching (rinsing the inside of your vagina with water and other liquids).
5. Change Your Birth Control
Some women who use diaphragms have an increased risk of developing a UTI. Consult your healthcare provider for other birth control options.
6. Use Water-Based Lubricant During Sex
You should opt for water-based lubricants if you use a lubricant during sex because of vaginal dryness.
You should also avoid spermicides if you get infections easily and frequently.
7. Consult Your Health Care Provider
Healthcare providers may suggest vaginal cream containing estrogen for postmenopausal women.
This may reduce the chances of a UTI caused by changes in vagina PH. Consult your healthcare provider if you’ve gone through menopause and have recurrent UTIs.
8. Use of Supplements
Supplements, such as cranberry supplements, are also used to prevent UTIs.
These are recommended for people who have recurrent UTIs as another method to avoid them. Before starting any supplement, speak with your healthcare provider.
The above steps on how to prevent UTI after sex would stop you from spending money on constant treatment while giving you healthy sex life.
How is UTI Treated?
To treat urinary infections, you’d need antibiotics. Antibiotics, as we know, fight and kill bacteria.
Your healthcare provider would run tests to determine the appropriate dose of antibiotics to defend against and eliminate the infections.
Not only before sex, consider taking antibiotics after sex.
Some commonly prescribed antibiotics include:
- Sulfonamides (sulfa drugs).
It is of utmost importance you follow your healthcare provider’s prescription and directions for taking these antibiotics.
Even after your symptoms go away, do not stop taking medicine. This prevents drug abuse and your body from growing resistant to that particular antibiotic.
Undue discontinuation of the medicine can make the infection return.
Can One With UTI Have Sex?
It is best advised you abstain from sexual intercourse if you have any infection. When you begin treatment, ask your doctor for the right time to commence sexual activity.
Depending on the type of infection, you may be permitted to kiss and have other emotional connections.
Once free of UTI, you should be able to dive in with your sex partner and have bliss. But, take heed of how to prevent UTI after sex.