The Link Between Utis And Sex: Causes And How To Prevent Them
One common way women get urinary tract infections is by having sex. But that doesn’t mean you have to banish sex from your life to prevent painful infections.
Pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections arent the only consequences of having sex. For some women, a urinary tract infection can also be a result.
Blame it on anatomy, which makes a UTI more likely for women than for men, says Sujata Yavagal, MD, a urogynecologist at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami.
Other Things To Remember For Faster Relief From Urinary Tract Infections
- Spicy and pungent foods can cause more irritation and inflammation of the urethra
- Avoid having caffeinated and carbonated drinks such as coffee, colas, etc.
- Practice abstinence from alcohol.
- Regular exercising and staying clean greatly reduces symptoms of any UTI
- Artificial sweeteners can promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract.
- Change the underwear every day or if required, twice a day.
- Avoid wearing synthetic underwear, choose cotton ones for comfort.
How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 255,104 times.
Experts say urinary tract infections typically affect your bladder and urethra but could become serious if they spread to your kidneys. UTIs occur when bacteria enters your urethra and multiplies in your bladder. While women are more at-risk, UTIs can happen to anyone.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Research suggests that simple changes like showering, limiting personal care products around your genitals, and maintaining good hygiene may help prevent UTIs.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Back pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, or your other symptoms continue after treatment, call your healthcare provider. A UTI can spread throughout your urinary tract and into other parts of your body. However, treatment is very effective and can quickly relieve your symptoms.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms usually bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.
More than 90% of bladder infection cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.
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Preventing Urinary Tract Infections With Urology Specialist
If you have any further questions about urinary health or UTIs and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call.
Dr Arianayagam is a highly skilled urological surgeon who treats cancers and other disorders of the urinary system.
After training in NSW further training in Urologic Oncology, he was undertaken at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He completed a two-year fellowship accredited by the Society of Urologic Oncology.
Learn about some other health issues Dr Arianayagam can help resolve:
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body .
Women have a shorter urethra than men. This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:
- having sex
do not use scented soap
do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go
do not rush when going for a pee try to fully empty your bladder
do not wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon
do not drink lots of alcoholic drinks, as they may irritate your bladder
do not have lots of sugary food or drinks, as they may encourage bacteria to grow
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Uti Tests And Diagnosis
If you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection, go to the doctor. You’ll give a urine sample to test for UTI-causing bacteria.
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If you get frequent UTIs and your doctor suspects a problem in your urinary tract, they might take a closer look with an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. They might also use a long, flexible tube called a cystoscope to look inside your urethra and bladder.
Does Taking An Antibiotic After Sex Prevent Utis
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, having sex three or more times a week increases your risk for recurrent UTIs. Your risk is also increased if you use a diaphragm or spermicide products, regardless of the frequency of sexual activity. If you experience recurrent UTIs, changing your method of contraception should be the first thing you consider.
If you continue to suffer from UTIs and they are getting in the way of living a normal life, taking a preventive antibiotic could be an option. Taking regular antibiotics is not a risk-free treatment though, so have a conversation with your provider about whether this is right for you. Taking an antibiotic before or after sex can prevent recurrent UTIs especially if UTIs repeatedly show up 24 hours after intercourse.
During sex, bacteria can get into the urinary tract and cause infections. Antibiotics work by fighting these bacteria. E. coli is the most common bacteria that causes UTIs. Common antibiotics used to treat UTIs are nitrofurantoin, cephalexin, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole .
A clinical trial showed that only 2 out of 16 women who took TMP/SMX right after sex had recurrent UTIs compared to 9 out of 11 women who had a sugar pill. The results were the same regardless of how often the women had sex.
Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease pain:
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
It’s important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.
It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.
You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.
Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.
Avoid Holding Your Pee
Avoid holding in your urine, as this can encourage bacterial growth. Try not to wait more than 3 to 4 hours to pee, and completely empty your bladder each time.
This is even more important if youre pregnant as pregnancy puts you at an increased risk for a UTI. Holding your pee can further increase the risk.
Read Also: Why Am I Prone To Urinary Tract Infections
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
Not surprisingly, some of the symptoms of a UTI involve the frequency and quality of pee. Women suffering from a UTI, whether they get the infection from sex or other ways, can have a strong urge to urinate, have cloudy or red or pink urine, and may experience pain or burning during urination.
You might also get fever, shaking, or chills, and even pain in your upper back, your side, or the pelvic region.
Stick To Unscented Feminine Hygiene Products
Though they may smell nice, scented soaps, sprays, powders, tampons and pads can irritate your urethra and up your chances of developing a UTI. So be kind to your urinary tract, and try to avoid putting anything scented down there â there’s nothing wrong with the natural scent of your vagina. If you’re anxious about your smell, just make sure to practice good vaginal hygiene, and you’ll be in the clear.
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Always Wipe From Front To Back
You probably already know to do this, but just in case you don’t, know that wiping from front to back is crucial to preventing UTIs. Wiping from back to front pushes all the bacteria from your anus right into your vagina and your urethra, then up into your bladder from there. Wiping wrong is basically a bacteria-riddled recipe for developing a urinary tract infection, so be sure to wipe correctly.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:
- Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
- Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.
If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:
- Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesnt typically need any preparation.
- Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
- CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body . This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.
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Home Remedies To Treat And Prevent Urinary Infections
Just like many other afflictions, urinary infections can be treated at home. But be careful! Home remedies only help in cases where a urinary infection is quickly diagnosed and is in its early stages.
If the urinary infection has already spread and home remedies havent helped, its recommended you visit your medical care provider. Below youll find some of our recommended home remedies.
When symptoms first appear, you should immediately treat with the following remedy. Dissolve 1/4 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate in 8 ounces of water.
Drink two full glasses of only water, then the sodium bicarbonate mix.
Water is an excellent purifier when consumed daily. In the case of urinary infections, it plays an important role in eliminating germs that build up in the bladder. Because of this it can help to cleanse the urinary tract.
Studies have shown that cranberry juice can help prevent and eliminate the bacteria that attach themselves to the urinary tract, and contribute to the spread of infection in the area.
Coconut water helps keep your kidneys cleansed of toxins. Another effective antibacterial is coconut oil, which has been proven to eliminate E. coli, even the antibacterial resistant strains.
Can You Have Sex If You Have A Uti
In general, it is recommended that you avoid having intercourse when you have an active urinary tract infection. When you get an antibiotic prescription, ask your doctor when the right time to resume sexual activity would be. Of course, you can still kiss and have other intimate and emotional connections.
Once you have completed a course of antibiotics and the UTI has cleared away, you should be able to resume sexual activity. But be sure to take the careful steps necessary to prevent the sex from putting you on the road to yet another one.
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Why Kids Get Urinary Tract Infections
There are a few main reasons kids get UTIs.
You can help your child reduce their risk of developing an infection, just by changing certain behaviors. Here are some suggestions to help your child practice healthy bathroom habits, which in turn, could help prevent infections down the road:
Urinary tract infections are not fun and can be preventable using the suggestions in this blog post. I hope you found this helpful and I encourage you to share this with other parents!
Eight Ways To Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
Last week I talked about the signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections . Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms can help you get the care your child needs as quickly as possible. I see some children in our office, the Division of Pediatric Urology, who get frequent UTIs. This is frustrating and scary for families. Because of this, I feel compelled to do as much as possible to help parents know how to prevent UTIs from happening. Your child doesnt need to experience and pain and discomfort of an infection.
How To Prevent A Uti
Unfortunately, some people are at a higher risk for developing UTIs than others. Due to anatomical differences, women tend to experience more UTIs and are more likely for recurrent infections. However, men can suffer from urinary tract infections as well. If you have heightened risk factors or suffer from recurrent infections, there are a few preventative measures you can take. Here are the top 10 tips to prevent UTIs.
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent a UTI. When you drink enough water, youll constantly be flushing out your urethra along with any harmful bacteria thats inside. Make sure that you hydrate with water and avoid sugary sports drinks or soda.
While there is conflicting information about the efficacy of cranberries to prevent UTIs, it doesnt hurt to try. Cranberries may help prevent UTIs as they can keep bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. Try drinking pure cranberry juice, adding whole cranberries to meals, or finding a doctor-approved cranberry supplement to add to your daily regimen.
Bladder irritants can cause problems with your urinary system, which could increase the prevalence of a UTI. If you suffer from frequent infections, try limiting your intake of alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, and acidic juices.
Risk Factors That Make Utis More Likely
- Being female
- Having new sexual partners in the past year
- Having recent or frequent sexual intercourse
- Not urinating before or after sexual intercourse
- Using spermicide or spermicide-coated condoms
- Using a diaphragm
- Wearing non-cotton underwear
Bacteria are normally found both inside and outside the human body. But a UTI can develop when bacteria from the gut or skin travel up the urethra to the bladder where they multiply, causing an infection, explained Randall Stafford, MD, PhD. E. coli, regularly found in the gut, is the most common bacteria that causes UTIs.
Some women are more likely to get UTIs no matter what they do. However, some of the most powerful prevention techniques are actually very simple.
What can Elizabeth do to prevent her UTIs from recurring?
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Can Vaginal Estrogen Products Prevent Utis
For women near menopause or who have gone through menopause and get 3 or more UTIs per year, vaginal estrogen may be helpful, according to the American Urological Association . Vaginal estrogen comes as a ring , an insert , or a cream . It is both safe and effective for women in this population who are looking to prevent recurrent UTIs.
That said, in a head-to-head trial of vaginal estrogen inserts compared to a daily preventive antibiotic, vaginal estrogen was not as effective as daily antibiotics. More on this below.
Estrogen works by making the vagina more acidic and increasing the number of healthy bacteria in the vagina. This makes it hard for E. coli to live and hide in there, which prevents them from showing up in the urinary tract later.
If you are being treated for breast cancer or have had breast cancer, vaginal estrogen is considered safe, but you should speak with your oncologist before starting any estrogen-based products.