Sex is unfortunately a common cause of UTIs in women because it brings bacteria from the genital area and anus (yours and your partner’s) into contact with your urinary tract. This allows bacteria to enter the urethra and the bladder which can cause an infection.
Here are a few things you can do to try and avoid infection:
• Urinate before sex, and immediately after – this flushes bacteria out of your urethra
• Clean and dry your genital and anal areas before and after sex
• Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water – this will help rid your urinary tract of bacteria
• Make sure to wash away any lubricants immediately after sex
• Use a condom to lessen your direct contact with bacteria
• Avoid vaginal penetration after anal sex
While it is important to do everything you can to prevent a UTI, sometimes they just happen and it is nothing to feel ashamed about. UTIs cannot be caught from someone else and are not considered an STD. Some women are also more prone to them than others and unfortunately if you have had one, you are more likely to get another one at some point in the future. If you are prone to getting them often, a clinician might recommend postcoital prophylactic antibiotics to prevent them.
It is worth noting that you can get a UTI in ways other than having sex as well – bacteria can enter your urethra from wiping, from your hands, etc.
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
• Burning with urination
• Foul smelling urine
• Frequent urination
• Cloudy urine
• Dark urine
• Persistent urge to urinate
• Sense of incomplete bladder emptying
• Blood in urine
Do you think you may have a UTI? UTIs can quickly become bladder and kidney infections, so it is important to make an appointment right away for treatment.