UTI, commonly known as Urinary Tract Infection is a type of bacterial infection of the body. Though sex is not the only cause of UTI, it can increase the chances of getting a UTI, but with proper treatment and precautions, it is possible to cure.
1. What Are Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary tract infection (UTI), is a type of bacterial infection that affects the urinary system and includes the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. UTIs can happen anywhere along the urinary system, either in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) or the upper urinary tract (kidneys and ureters), or both at the same time, there are three types of UTIs,
- Bladder infections (cystitis)
- Urethra infections (urethritis)
- Kidney infections (pyelonephritis)
Cystitis is the most common among these infections, followed by urethritis. While Urinary tract infections are annoying and uncomfortable, they are generally mild, however, if left untreated, then they can cause kidney infections or pyelonephritis, which can cause serious complications.
Typically a Urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria living on the body or around the anus are introduced to the urethra. Once it is introduced, it multiplies inside our organs, causing inflammation and irritation. Although Urinary tract infections are not sexually transmitted, there are risks of getting a UTI through a partner who already has it.
Though UTIs can happen to anyone, they are most likely to infect women than men due to anatomical differences. Since the opening of a woman’s urethra is closer to her anus, bacteria can easily transfer and also can travel much faster along the urinary tract as it is shorter compared to a man’s.
According to a 2013 source study, 50 to 60 percent of women are likely to get UTI from sex, compared to men. Though men have a lower risk of getting urinary tract infections, it is not uncommon.
2. Can You Get a UTI from Sex?
Absolutely! One can get a UTI from sex, although sexual activity can increase the odds of getting the infection or worsening the infection, it is not the only culprit. You can get a UTI when bacteria near your anal region, like Escherichia. coli are brought to the wrong place, namely your urethra.
80 percent of UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, that are shifted into the urethra during sex. Hence UTI is also known as ‘honeymoon cystitis’.
Even though anyone can get a UTI from sex, women are at a rather higher risk of being affected. This is because the urethra is much closer to the rectum than a man’s. So when thrusting happens during sex, bacteria from the rectum are pushed into the urethra.
From there on, it is a short trip to the other internal organs, as the urethra is also shorter in women, and thus bacterial spread is much quicker. Though UTI is uncommon among men, those who engage in anal sex are more susceptible to it.
Further, sex itself makes it easier for bacteria to grow inside the urethra, due to the chafing that takes place during sexual activity.
Finally, it is also important to note that oral sex can also lead to UTI, as bacteria from the mouth can also get introduced to the urethra.
Once you are infected with UTI you can experience pain while urinating or in the lower abdomen, talk to your doctor immediately if this happens, and they can prescribe you antibiotics that usually cure UTI.
2.1. Can You Have Sex When You Have UTI?
While it is generally recommended to not engage in sex with a UTI. You can ask your doctor when to resume sexual intercourse, as engaging in it might aggravate the infection.
3. What Are the Causes of Urinary Tract Infections?
Getting a UTI from Sex is the most common way to get infected, but not the only one. During sexual activity, bacteria from fingers, anus, sex toys, or from your partner’s genital area are pushed inside the urethra. Apart from getting a UTI from sex, other causes of Urinary tract infection include:
- Problems in completely emptying the bladder when urinating.
- Using urinary catheters
- Frequent use of antibiotics that disturbs good bacterial growth.
- Obstructions in the urinary tract are caused by enlarged prostrate or Kidney stones.
Other possibilities that cause a UTI are
- Abnormal anatomy of the urinary tract
- Conditions like cancer, diabetes, or autoimmune disease that affect the immune system.
- Other infections like HIV
- Poor hygiene
4. Symptoms of a UTI
Frequent urge to urinate is the most common symptom of urinary tract infection. Even if the person has urinated, they might feel a strong urge to use the restroom again. UTI symptoms include:
- bad-smelling or cloudy urine
- pain or burning sensation when urinating
- soreness, cramps, and pressure in the lower belly, sides, or back
- blood or puss in urine.
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI, and can easily be cured through antibiotic prescription recommended by a doctor, although if the bacteria travels to the kidney then symptoms of a UTI may include:
- pain in the id back region, right or left to the spine
- feeling tired
If you have been facing any of these symptoms lately, then rush to the doctor, as these are risk factors and needs to be treated immediately.
However, it should also be noted that these symptoms are not common for urinary tract infections and can also be caused if you have sexually transmitted infections (STI) or sexually transmitted disease (STD), or vaginitis since frequent or painful urinating is common in both the infection.
Only a doctor or a nurse can tell whether you have a UTI.
5. Who Are More Prone to Developing UTIs?
Some individuals are more prone to getting a UTI than others. Through various medically reviewed articles, there is a consensus that women are at a higher risk of getting a UTI from sex than men, because of their anatomical differences, nevertheless, men are also at risk of getting Urinary Tract Infections though less than women.
Although most people can not exactly pinpoint the actual cause of a UTI, the following are the symptoms of individuals who are at an increased risk of developing UTIs
- Have had a UTI before, or have frequent UTIs
- Have Diabetes
- Transitioning to menopause, as it increases dryness in the vagina due to lowered estrogen levels.
- Are obsess
- Have a family history of UTI, especially among the women of the family.
- Using birth control like Spermicides and Diaphragms
- Multiple pregnancies
- Frequent and Intense sexual activity
- Abnormalities in the urinary system or genital area
- Weakened immune system
- Kidney stones or obstruction in the urinary tract
- Those who have sex with a new partner
6. How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?
Incorporating various preventative measures in your daily routine can lower the chances of getting the infection. Following are the ways that one can incorporate to prevent UTIs.
6.1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking lots of fluids like water and fruit juice will keep you hydrated for longer. Drink plenty of water 6-8 glasses a day, this will help increase urine production in the body that will flush out any bacteria in the body. You can also drink a glass of water before engaging in sex to prevent getting a UTI from sex.
6.2. Practice Good Hygiene
Look to always maintain good hygiene. This includes regularly cleaning your anal areas and your vagina. Cleaning from the back to the front will introduce bacteria to the vagina that can cause a UTI, and hence clean from front to back at all times, to keep UTI-causing bacteria at bay.
6.3. Wash with Gentle Products
Avoid harsh products near your genital area. Scented products like deodorant, feminine washes, and douche irritate the skin near the urethra, making it more prone to infection. Instead, clean your genital area with lukewarm water and mild soap to avoid irritation and a burning sensation when passing urine.
6.4. Cranberry Juice
If you have recurrent UTIs, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements may reduce the risk of getting an infection.
6.5. Changing Birth Control
Birth control like spermicide or diaphragm-treated condoms induces bacteria in the vagina by disrupting its natural flora. If you suspect that your birth control could be the reason for recurring UTIs, talk to your doctor for alternatives.
7. Preventing UTI When You Are Sexually Active
- Clean your genital area, front to back after sex
- Always urinate before and after sex
- Fiction during sex can irritate the urethra, use vaginal lubricant to avoid this
- Pee when you feel the urge to, do not hold it in.
- Change condoms after every use, especially if you want to engage in vaginal sex after anal sex.
If you are more prone to recurring UTI, consult your doctor for a further treatment plan, which could be:
- A single dose of antibiotic consumed immediately after sex
- Vaginal estrogen therapy for postmenstrual women
- low-dose antibiotics that are to be taken for 6 months
UTIs are pretty common, among those with a vagina, and getting a UTI from sex is also common, but they are also easily curable, the easiest way to cure UTI is to urinate before and after sex, even if you are using sex toys by yourself try to keep them clean to avoid bacteria to get inside of your system.
Always practice safe sex to keep UTI from Sex at bay, and contact a doctor when experiencing pain