Can You Have Sex with a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere along the urinary tract. The urinary tract is made of organs that store, transport, and remove waste and excess water in the form of urine. The organs include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. When you develop symptoms of a UTI, it is common to wonder “can I have sex with a UTI?” Find answers to questions around UTI and sex, including whether its recommended to have sex during UTI treatment.
What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
The most common cause of a UTI is when bacteria enters the urinary tract from the urethra. The bacteria that is responsible for about 90 percent of all UTI cases is Eschericha coli, or E.coli that is usually found in our colons and fecal waste. Unprotected anal sex is a common way to spread E.coli into the urinary tract through the urethra. Increased likelihood of an infection occurs when there are minimal opportunities to flush bacteria out or factors creating an environment good for bacteria growth.
When wondering can you have sex If you have a UTI? It is important to consider that UTI’s start with an inflamed urethra, and the friction from sexual intercourse can create an environment that helps bacteria stick to the tissue walls, grow, and spread to other areas of the urinary tract. The friction and dryness from frequent sex combined with improper lubrication during vaginal sex can also increase the risk of urethral inflammation.
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Is a UTI a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?
UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can share similar symptoms. This is because a UTI can be caused by the same bacteria that causes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These diseases include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. When asking the question can you have sex with a UTI? It is generally not recommended to have sex in order to avoid further aggravations of the urinary tract.
It is also important to ensure that your symptoms are not actually being caused by an STD. If your partner has an STD, you are at risk of contracting it and shouldn’t have sex until your partner is fully treated. You can order a STD test to determine if your symptoms are from an STD. Indications of an STD that are not usually present in UTIs include discharge of pus or fluid from the penis or vagina.
Can I Have Sex With a UTI?
When symptoms of a UTI flare up, it is common to wonder can you have sex? When you have a UTI with mild symptoms that is not caused by an STD, it is possible but not recommended. To avoid complications from a recurring UTI, it is suggested to wait until you have fully recovered from the UTI before engaging in sexual intercourse. This is mainly because having sex can increase chances of bacteria entering the urinary tract. Bacteria on your partner’s penis or a penetrating toy can enter the urinary tract during sexual activity. Sometimes bacteria that is in or near the vaginal opening can also be “shoved” into the area of the urethra during penetration. Although there is no link between sexual positions and UTI development, the friction during sex can further irritate your urethra. An inflamed urethra is also often accompanied with a lot of pain that can be intensified during sex.
Sex during UTI treatment could be possible with mild cases and if the proper precautions for UTI prevention are taken. Some methods you can try for relief from common UTI symptoms include using a heating pad on your belly, back, or side to soothe pains. It is also recommended to keep your body hydrated. Drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces can help create a healthy flow of urination to properly flush out bacteria. Dehydration and constipation makes it difficult to empty your bladder and allow trapped bacteria to grow. Urine is normally sterile and an infection occurs when bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract. Drinking fluids before sex so you have a strong flow of urine after sex can significantly reduce risks of infection.
Lower Your Risk of Infection
To prevent sex and UTI complications, there are various preventative methods you can start adopting today. For those who have had a UTI, these habits can also help prevent recurring UTIs from turning into complications. They include:
- Urinating when you need to and always trying to empty your bladder fully
- Practicing safe sex to avoid contracting any bacteria from sexually transmitted diseases
- Taking showers instead of baths
- Urinating soon after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra
- Washing your genital area after sex
- Wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing that don’t trap moisture because moist areas are a good environment for bacteria to grow
- Drinking plenty of fluids to flush out the bacteria and prevent dehydration; passing pale-colored urine that has a strong flow is a good sign bacteria is being flushed
A method to flush out toxins and microorganisms in the urinary tract is to drink parsley juice. One study found that parsley juice leads to increased urine amounts when compared to water. This allowed for a stronger urine flow and more bacteria flushed. Parsley also contains multiple nutrients including vitamins A, B, and C that can support your body’s immune defenses when they fight against bacteria. Since parsley may interact with some medications, consult your doctor prior to trying this method.
Women with recurrent infections that are postmenopausal can opt to have vaginal estrogen therapy if hormonal reasons are the cause of their vulnerability to infection. If you frequently have UTIs following sex, you can also consult a doctor about taking a certain type of antibiotic as a preventative measure.
If you experience any symptoms of UTI or STD, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.