Sex & UTIs 101

by Haley Rosenberg

Perhaps the most important motto for vaginal intercourse is “Pee after sex, pee after sex, pee after sex!” Even when using condoms, vaginas are still ultra prone to infections, but not necessarily the STIs you’re thinking.

What is a UTI?

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are pesky bacterial bladder infections. Though not exclusively caused by sex, vaginal intercourse can push bacteria from the genitals or anus towards the urethra, which is how the infection starts. They are most common in people with vaginas because the urethra is much shorter than those found in the penis, so there’s a shorter distance for the bacteria to travel to reach and infect the bladder.

The most common symptom of a UTI is frequent urination...and I really do mean frequent. Even directly after peeing, you’ll still feel that tingling sensation that makes you think you’ve never peed at all, and when you try to again, barely anything comes out. In addition to frequent urination, symptoms can include burning during urination, cloudy pink or red urine, fever, chills, and even pain in the back and pelvic regions.

Is This Always Going To Happen?

80% of UTIs are caused by intercourse, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get one every time you have sex. However, some people are more susceptible to them and get them frequently after sex. The recurrence of UTIs can also be a symptom of family history, diabetes, menopause, or existing bladder issues.

Since they are most commonly caused by sex, it’s best to slow your roll while treating the infection. Pressure on the urethra and bladder will exacerbate the pain, and intercourse could prolong the infection with more bacteria and swelling.

How to Prevent

You can’t live your sexual life in fear of UTIs, so what steps can you take to minimize the risk of getting one?

  • Urinate before and after sex to flush wayward bacteria out of your system.

  • Clean your genitals and anal area before and after sex (wipe front to back!)

  • Use lube to reduce urethra-irritation friction.

  • Stay hydrated; this will clear your urinary tract of unwanted bacteria.

  • Don’t use douches or scented sprays (they wash away helpful bacteria in the vagina).

  • Consider drugstore supplements that promote good bacteria growth that helps fight infection.

How to Cure

So you followed all of these steps but still found yourself with the tell-tale burning tingle after some passionate giddy-up. But don’t worry, because a quick visit with a certified healthcare professional through OB/GYN Now™, the integrated OB/GYN network in the Orchyd app, can help you determine whats up. And if that isn't enough, a quick trip to any urgent care or primary care physician will get you a prescription for antibiotics that will clear the infection up within a matter of days. Even though symptoms will subside, it’s very important to take the prescribed antibiotics to completion to make sure it doesn’t come back.

Conclusion

Now that you know the causes and cures of UTIs, you also know that they’re not the end of the world. If you follow steps to practice proper sexual hygiene, you should find yourself with fewer bacterial issues. Luckily, UTIs are incredibly common, and thereby treatment for them is easy and accessible.