UTIs after sex are clearly very common, yet for some reason, people tend not to talk about it much. So I thought, why don’t I help get the conversation rolling?
I promise it’s a good story, but if you’re not up for a read right now, jump to the bottom to see my general tips and more on the products I use to prevent UTIs after sex.
I distinctly remember my first UTI. It was an isolated incident that happened long before my year of hell that saw me through nine or ten. I like to think of it as the time when I was gloriously unaware that UTIs after sex were really a thing.
I had a boyfriend who worked nights so finding moments to shag could be difficult. On this occasion we had sex three times at intervals during the night and I was basically asleep – that type of dreamy, warm copulation that is closely followed by more slumber.
Needless to say, I did not bother going to the toilet. No Sir, it was straight back to sleep for me.
“The next day I awoke busting to pee, but upon urination found that I was still BUSTING! So uncomfortable, and so weird.”
I went straight to the doctor, he informed me I had contracted a UTI due to my failure to clear my urethra of bacteria after sex.
Ok got it.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 1: Always pee immediately after sex.
After sharing this advice, my doctor then issued me with a single pill.
It was like some wondrous, fairytale magic. That was that, no blood, no more discomfort – just done and dusted.
UTIs After Sex – When It Really Kicked In
Years later all was forgotten, including my shift working boyfriend, and I found myself in another relationship with a man who could literally go for hours.
We’re brought up to believe this is the ultimate quality in a lover but apparently excessive friction coupled with a short and narrow urethra does not equate to the best sex of your life – to the contrary this was arguably the worst year of my life.
“I began to realise that every time I had sex, I would get another UTI. UTIs after sex had officially become my modus operandi and post coital intimacy had been replaced by me sitting on a toilet trying to force a decent stream of urine from my body.”
I couldn’t help but wonder why it was happening in this relationship and not others? I’d been in long term relationships and had never had this ongoing problem.
Was my boyfriend carrying bacteria that was reinfecting me each time we had sex? Was something happening in my own body that was causing some kind of imbalance in my urinary tract?
Should My Partner Be Tested For UTI?
I’ve since learned that it is indeed possible for bacteria to be passed back and forth between partners during sex. If you think about it, that makes perfect sense – this is exactly how STIs occur, so why not other organisms?
If I knew this at the time, I would have considered whether my partner should have had his urine tested.
It’s entirely possible for males to carry bacteria without experiencing symptoms, so they wouldn’t necessarily know they were contributing to your own symptoms. Same sex partners can of course pass organisms back and forth too – that’s one area that is truly equal.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 2: Consider whether your partner should also be tested.
Strangely, my boyfriend’s housemate also began to experience recurrent UTIs. That got me thinking about the environment in their share house, or their drinking water or possibly my boyfriend’s fidelity! It seemed like way too much of a coincidence for this to be happening to both of us at the same time.
Antibiotics Didn’t Stop The UTIs After Sex
I was blasting through UTI after UTI and countless courses of antibiotics, resulting in an eventual prescription for prophylactic antibiotics to be taken twice a day for two months, just in case…
“UTIs must follow Murphy’s law because goddamn is there ever a worse time to get one than when they turn up? ‘Hi, it’s me! I thought I’d drop by. I know it’s 11pm on a Sunday night before a public holiday but I just had to come!’.”
During this year of my life they came in blood splattered, painful waves as I went from after hours doctor to after hours doctor, trying to work out WTF was going on!?
I never presented any UTI symptoms when I actually saw my regular doctor which resulted in every urine culture test coming back negative.
This was probably due to the fact that the testing lab was only open during normal business hours – by which time I had already taken antibiotics.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 3: If you are likely to need to provide a urine sample, try not to take antibiotics first, as they can render your urine sterile (according to standard culture). You can either keep a sterile container at home or choose to grit your teeth and wait it out until you can get to a doctor.
I also know now how inaccurate urine tests can be. I would have pushed for better testing had I known then.
I was assured by my own doctor that women “just got them.”
I became “that person” – Googling and Googling, and trying absolutely EVERYTHING. Spoonfuls of cream of tartar, tea made from cornsilk, cranberries coming out my wazoo and nothing… No relief, no end in sight, just stress, while the weight dropped off me.
The Day I Had A UTI Related Run-In With The Police
I’m sure the weight thing sounds good to some, but this was extreme. I had given up sugar due to it being a Life Coach to bacteria, and I was literally climbing the walls.
“I was afraid, terrified that there was no escape and most definitely no definitive answer to why the hell this was happening. Would I suffer from UTIs after sex for the rest of my life?”
I was eventually referred to a urologist who told me he’d take a look inside my bladder to see if anything else was happening (a cystoscopy).
He also told me that after the procedure many women never have another UTI, as the camera can enlarge the urethra, thereby not allowing it to further clog with nasty bacteria. (It turns out this is just a theory, without any hard evidence to back it up). Thanks Urologist!
UTIs after sex prevention tip 4: It would appear that diet can play a part for many people with recurrent UTI. Sugary processed food and drinks. So an unhealthy diet might need to be addressed.
Yay, I thought, as I felt another infection rear its ugly head as I sat in his office. He also told me that his wife drank aloe vera juice (packed with sugar in its readily available form) to sooth the inflamed area. I should have known this was not the answer!
At this stage I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of it all. I wondered whether he usually gave his patients this kind of advice, and whether I should have just spoken to his wife directly.
I left with a prescription for prophylactic antibiotics, tears in my eyes and a searing pain in my crotch… Running to the chemist, desperate to fill the script, desperate to pee, desperate to see the end and find a cure.
“As I clawed my antibiotics from their foil wrappers, clutching my bottle of sickly sweet aloe juice, I was questioned by police. Clearly they saw the desperation in my eyes, my weight loss and a persona of anything less than stable. I was a junkie, an antibiotic junkie.”
Between the prophylactic antibiotics, the invasive bladder inspection and the breakup of my relationship, my UTIs after sex stopped, for a time, for a time…
I have had one since, years after sex had stopped causing me anxiety, and yes, it was late in the evening the night before a public holiday in my slightly provincial home town.
The eye roll I gave the pharmacist who suggested Ural, a urinary alkalinizer, has actually gone down in history. I nearly pulled a muscle in both optic nerves.
I’d just had sex with a new partner, reinforcing my own newly developed theory that there are some men that I am just not compatible with on some basic biological, bacterial level. Swipe left, move along, body says no.
UTIs After Sex Are Worse Than Using The Toilet Around A New Partner
They sometimes refer to UTIs as “honeymooners syndrome”. Historically women became sexually active on their honeymoons.
There was probably already a mixture of fear and trepidation, but then the added embarrassment of showing your new husband that you needed to use the toilet, may have been enough to leave many new brides with a desperately full bladder and bacterial growth flourishing.
New relationships encounter these same problems too. In this last instance the toilet was next to the bedroom and the door did not close, so I was less than enthusiastic about issuing the powerful jet of urine that might have saved me.
And it’s not just not peeing after sex that can cause problems. It turns out it’s about poo too! Constipation is linked to recurrent UTIs, especially in kids.
So if you’re also not making regular bowel movements due to the awkwardness of a new relationship, it’s best to just get over it.
UTIs after sex prevention tip 5: It’s important to avoid constipation. Keeping bowel movements regular can help with urinary tract health.
What I’ve Learned About UTIs After Sex
Fortunately for me, I now know a lot more about UTIs after sex, thanks to the diligent and constant study and questioning of this website.
The last time it happened I immediately recognised what was happening. I was uncomfortable but I managed to flush it out before it developed into the splatter fest, recurring carnage of my previous experiences.
My Tips For Avoiding UTIs After Sex:
- Wash your hands before any sexual activity (hands are germ sanctuaries) and ask your partner to do the same.
- Shower before sex, and ask your partner to do the same, if you find this helps.
- Oral sex can transfer organisms just as any other sexual contact can – I’m still experimenting with different approaches here.
- Always pee immediately after sex to help flush your urinary tract.
- Try using condoms, I find latex free condoms are the best option.
- If the issue seems specific to sex, consider whether your partner should also be tested, and don’t ignore the possibility of STIs – they can cause UTI-like symptoms.
- Don’t let yourself get constipated! This can cause a world of UTI problems.
- Take a look at your health in general. Maybe your diet isn’t helping.
How I Avoid UTIs After Sex
I’ve found that using certain products consistently has helped me avoid further UTIs after sex. For me, the most important have been:
- A pH balanced wash that I use instead of ordinary soap
- A pH balanced lubricant
- A natural antimicrobial that can be taken after sex to help prevent UTI
- Staying hydrated! And pee regularly!
Specific products aren’t covered on this site because it’s about UTI science, but I’ve worked with the team at Femologist to make a bundle of my favorite products. You can find each of the products I use at that link.
If you want more detail on how I use these, send the team an email and they can share more information about my top picks. Make sure you mention me though (Juliet), so they know what you’re talking about.
If there was one other thing I’d pass on to other sufferers of UTIs after sex, or recurrent UTIs in general, it’s to not accept it when you’re told it’s just the way you are, or when you’re offered remedies you don’t believe have validity.
Do your own research and keep track of your symptoms; consider whether your partner may be contributing to the issue, and whether it makes sense for both of you to be tested.
Start with some of the resources on this website:
- Why your UTI test is negative despite your symptoms
- Chronic vs. recurrent UTI
- Recurrent UTI treatment options
UTIs after sex are so incredibly common, it would have been great to learn more about them during sex ed at school. Imagine if everyone fully understood the role sex can play in the UTI department, so that peeing after sex was just the norm?
Maybe then we wouldn’t be terrified when we experience that first UTI. Maybe we’d have some idea how to handle it, and so would our partners.