Valentine’s Day Wish List? NO UTIs Please
What’s the connection between making love (having sex) and developing a UTI? While sex does not cause UTIs, sex can increase the chances of UTI-causing bacteria getting into your urinary tract and generating trouble. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health gives a couple reasons why:
- Sexual acts can push bacteria into your urethra.
- Certain contraceptives (such as condoms, diaphragms and spermicides) can cause irritation of sensitive tissues (especially at your urethra opening, where your urine comes out) which can then become a location more susceptible to infection.
But sex and UTIs don’t have to be connected. There are things you can do to encourage the two to break-up.
- Drink water and other hydrating fluids. When you are well hydrated, you pee more often and your urine will likely be more diluted – so potential UTI-causing bacteria have a harder time sticking around.
- Avoid alcohol which can irritate your bladder and negatively impact hydration.
- Urinate before and after sex to help flush out bacteria.
- Gently clean your external genital and anal areas before and after sexual activities. Wash with just warm water and mild soap. If you use a cloth, use a clean one for your vaginal area and another clean one for your anal area.
- Always wipe front to back after using the toilet to help prevent bacteria from around your anus hitching a ride towards your urinary tract.
- Don’t use douche other ”feminine” cleansing products, fragrant sprays or powders. These products can cause irritation and make it easier for an infection to take root. Your vagina has its own natural cleaning system and, in most cases, it does not need special help. If you have any concerns about odor, itching or any other symptoms “down there,” discuss them with your doctor.
- Take more showers, not baths. Soap, bubbles and other products often used in the bathtub can irritate tissues (much like the douches and sprays mentioned above.) Also, when you sit in the water soaking, bacteria may have a chance to travel to your urethra. If you must take a bath, avoid bubbles and other potentially irritating soak-additives and keep the water-lounging relatively brief.
- Stay dry by changing out of wet, sweaty, or damp bathing suits, sports wear, and underwear promptly. Bacteria can grow and thrive in warm, moist environments. Even if you can’t change your whole outfit, dry undies can go a long way.
- Talk to your doctor. If you have frequent or recurring UTIs, be sure to discuss them with a physician and also mention what type of birth control you are using. As mentioned above, some types of birth control can increase UTI risks in some women who are perhaps prone to either UTIs themselves or to irritation from birth control. Perhaps a different birth control method would be advised, or sometimes doctors recommend preventative medication options. Either way, you won’t know your choices until you ask.
- Talk to your doctor. Yes, we are repeating ourselves but this point is worth it. Sex and UTIs happen and when they do, you’ll need a doctor’s help to make the problem go away. The only treatment for a UTI is a prescription antibiotic. So, if you have burning when you pee, a frequent urge to pee (and maybe little comes out), cloudy, strong-smelling urine, or pelvic pain, reach out to your medical provider for care – soon.
Waiting for a call back, for your prescription, or for your antibiotic to start working? You can get temporary relief from your symptoms with Cystex® Urinary Pain Relief Tablets. Choose Cystex for help with the pain associated with a UTI and to help keep the infection from progressing while your prescription treatment gets all sorted out.
One more parting shot before you head out for a Valentine’s date night (pssst, it might make a great Valentine’s gift to yourself)…
Consider Cystex Urinary Health Maintenance to help maintain your urinary health. One tablespoon contains ingredients that can benefit your urinary system including a prebiotic to help promote healthy bacteria, an anti-inflammatory to help prevent tissue damage, an anti-adherent to help keep bad bacteria from sticking around, and an anti-oxidant to generally bolster your body’s protections.
Have a great Valentine’s Day whether you celebrate with a special someone, friends, your family, or peacefully on your own. Love one another and love yourself!