UTI after sex: Why does it happen and how to prevent it

UTI after sex is very common and there are basic lifestyle changes and habits that one can adopt to avoid this.

One night of passionate sex can more often than not result in a week of discomfort! Yes, we are talking about urinary tract infections and how they are more common after sex. Getting UTI after sex is an annoying side effect of intercourse and you should try your best to avoid it with the best hygiene practises..

Basic lifestyle changes and habits can lead to you avoid catching UTIs after sex. Health Shots got in touch with internal medicine specialist Dr Suchismitha Rajamanya, who tells us why UTIs happen after sex and how to avoid them.

What is UTI and why does it happen after sex?

UTI is an infection that happens in a part of the urinary system. The common symptoms of UTI include abdominal pain while passing urine, sensation of burning and a feeling of wanting to pee again and again.

A couple in bed
having multiple sexual partners and frequent sex increase the chance of UTIs. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

While a big cause of UTI is holding your urine for long, sex is another common reason for UTI. “Sex, especially frequent sex, and using of diaphragm-associated spermicide increase chances of UTI after sex. In normal individuals, most UTI-causing bacteria come in the urethra, and ascend to the bladder. Increasing evidence suggests that the alteration of the normal vaginal flora, may predispose women’s vaginal opening to be infected with E. coli and other urinary infections. It’s possible that these pathogens may be introduced into the urinary system during intercourse,” explains Dr Rajamanya.

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How to prevent UTI after sex?

While UTIs after sex are very common, there are various steps that can be taken to reduce the risk.

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1. Hydradation

Generous fluid and water intake of 2 to 3 litre per day is recommended as it dilutes the urine and clears bacteria.

2. Don’t use spermicide

Women who use spermicide, a cream or gel that can stop sperm from getting to the egg, can opt for an alternate form of contraception to reduce the destruction of normal vaginal flora.

3. Urinate before and after sex

Early post-coital voiding of urine can help flush out bacteria and reduce the chance of infection.

A woman maintaining intimate hygeine
It is important to maintain hygeine to avoid UTI. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Be clean

Maintain genital hygiene by wiping from front to back, before and after sex. This also helps to avoid contamination with bacteria from stools. You can also wash your genital area with warm water before sex. This stops the bacteria from entering the urethra.

5. Cranberry supplements

Taking cranberry supplements can help reduce the frequency of infections. This can also help in curing it faster.

Do some people have a higher risk of UTIs after sex than others?

Yes! According to a research published in Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, women are at a higher risk of catching UTI. However, this does not mean that men cannot get it. “People who have more than one sexual partner, or come with a history of sexually transmitted infections, or women using spermicide, and a history of renal stones or previous urinary infections are at a higher risk,” explains Dr Rajamanya.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

There are some signature symptoms of this infection which will make it certain that you have UTI. “However, UTI can only be confirmed through a urine routine and urine culture,” says Dr Rajamanya.

1. Burning sensation while passing urine
2. Frequency of urine increases
3. Blood in urine
4. Hesitancy, or poor flow in urine
5. Lower abdominal pain, fever, and chills.

How to treat UTI at home?

There are home remedies to treat UTI as well that can be tried. It is recommended to drink adequate water and use paracetamol for fever control. “An alkalizing syrup such as disodium citrate can also be considered. This increases the pH of urine and reduces bacterial growth and provides relief from burning sensation while passing urine,” explains Dr Rajamanya.

Also Read: Urinary tract infections in monsoon: Signs of UTI and tips to avoid it

When can I have sex after UTI?

It all depends on how sick it makes you, really! “It is not a good idea to have sex when your infection is at its peak as it can cause discomfort. It can also worsen the infection. If the patient is on treatment and symptomatically better, there is no contraindication to having sex. Post-sex voiding of urine is recommended,” says Dr Rajamanya.