Can Sex Cause a UTI?

Sex and UTIs Image

Some health professionals consider urinary tract infections (UTIs) to be the most common type of infection. For some, a UTI might not cause any noticeable symptoms while others experience a lot of pain. If a UTI isn’t treated it can become worse and spread. Anyone can get a UTI but females are especially prone to them due to the anatomy of the female genitalia. Females have a shorter urethra and it is easier for bacteria to travel up to the bladder. A female’s urethra is also typically closer to the anus than a man’s, which could be a source of bacteria. Since UTIs are so common, there are often questions about what causes a UTI and how to prevent them. Another common question is how does sex affect a UTI and vice versa. Let’s dive into some of those questions.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a general term used to describe an infection anywhere in the urinary system. This could be anywhere from the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra. The infection is usually caused by bacteria and sometimes fungi. These invaders usually get into the urinary system by sexual activity, wiping your genital area from back to front, poor hygiene, and urinary structural issues.

What are the Symptoms of a UTI?

Symptoms of a UTI will vary depending on the person. Some people may have no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms include burning pain with urination, frequent urination, urge to urinate, blood in the urine, abdominal / pelvic pain or cramping, cloudy urine, foul-smelling urine, fever, and flank pain.

Can Sex Cause a UTI?

Yes, any type of sexual activity could introduce bacteria into the urinary tract system and could cause a UTI.

Can You Have Sex With a UTI?

You can have sex with a UTI but it may be uncomfortable and possibly make the infection worse. Also, it is possible for you to spread the bacteria causing your UTI to your partner during sexual activity. It is advisable to avoid sex until the infection is gone.

How Do You Prevent a UTI After Sex?

The key to preventing UTIs is stopping bacteria from being introduced to the urinary tract system. If you tend to get UTIs after sexual activity, try urinating after sex, this will help clear the urethra of any bacteria that could cause a UTI. Remember to wipe front to back. If you wipe back to front, it could introduce the bacteria from the anus to your urinary tract. Don’t have to urinate? Take a shower after sex, this will help wash bacteria away from the urinary tract. During sex, avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to the urethra. These methods are not scientifically proven but are recommended by many women and healthcare providers.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 6). Urinary tract infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 20, 2022
  2. Urinary tract infections: Causes, symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2022

Posted in: Women's Health

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