Burning Love: The Sex and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Connection
Often known as “honeymoon cystitis,” increased sexual activity is actually one of the top reasons women contract UTIs. In a recent Cystex®/Harris Survey, many women reported that sexual intercourse was the cause of their last urinary tract infection (UTI) - definitely not romantic!. The UTI-sex connection is not clear cut because sexual activity, itself, does not directly cause a urinary tract infection (UTI), however, it can increase the introduction of bacteria into the urethra and cause irritation to that area. This, in effect, can increase the chances of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly among women who are more prone and whose urine stream isn’t typically strong enough to flush the bladder of this increased bacteria.
Use of certain types of barrier contraception can also increase the risk. Women who frequently develop urinary tract infections (UTIs) after sexual intercourse reported using condoms, diaphragms or spermicides while engaging in sexual activity. A common belief amongst the urological community is that these barrier contraceptive methods irritate the sensitive tissue in the vaginal and genital areas in women who may be allergic. This irritated tissue then helps create an environment where bacteria can thrive.
Here are some of other myths and misconceptions about urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexual activity:
Myth: “Marathon lovemaking” causes UTIs.
- Fact: For the average women, the frequency or duration of sexual episodes does not contribute to urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Myth: Urinating after sex can prevent UTIs.
- Fact: This is only true if the bladder is full enough to produce a powerful stream. Squeezing a few drops of urine out after sex will not move any bacteria out of the bladder. Drink adequate amounts of water before sex, or wait until you really have to go. Proper urination after sex is the key.
Myth: Certain sexual positions can cause UTIs.
- Fact: There is no known sexual position that can be blamed for directly causing a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, if a male partner is riding high (in any sexual position) on the woman’s pelvis, it can cause an awkward alignment that can be irritating to the woman’s urethral opening, which can swell and slow down her ability to empty her bladder, leaving bacteria to begin multiplying in the urine, or make it more susceptible to bacteria being introduced. Also make sure that no matter what the position, there is proper lubrication to keep any irritation to the urethral opening to a minimum.
Myth: There is nothing you can take to help prevent recurring UTIs.
- Fact: If you feel you are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), you can take charge of your urinary health by taking one tablespoon per day of new Cystex® Liquid Cranberry Complex, which has been clinically-proven safe and effective in preventing recurring UTIs. If you do contract an infection after sexual intercourse, remember to take Cystex® PLUS Urinary Pain Relief Tablets to reduce pain and contain the progression of infection while you wait to see your physician.
Myth: Oral sex causes UTIs.
- Fact: The typical germs that are transmitted during this activity should have nothing to do with causing a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Myth: A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Fact: While some sexually transmitted diseases, such as trichomoniasis and chlamydia, can cause irritation to the urethra, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is not transmitted from one partner to another.