Should You Have Sex With a UTI?

Healthline says sex can worsen your UTI symptoms by irritating the area. Additionally, penetration can push bacteria further into the urinary tract.

Men can get UTIs too, but they’re more common in women because their urethras are shorter.

Women can still have sex, but it’s important to take precautions. These include:

1. Avoid penetrative sex.

It’s important to avoid penetrative sex while you have a UTI – This piece of text comes from the portal UTIs happen when bacteria — often from the anus, dirty hands or skin — travel up the urethra and into the bladder (cystitis), kidneys (pyelonephritis) or a combination of all three. The urethra is closer to the anus than the vagina, so penetrative sex increases your risk of infection by pushing bacteria further up into your urinary tract.

According to Healthline, you shouldn’t also receive oral sex without a dental dam, as bacteria from your anus may transfer into your mouth. You should also try to avoid sexual practices that can spread bacteria from the anus to your genitals or urethra, such as masturbation and pelvic tucks.

The good news is that, if you can avoid penetrative sex and make sure to pee before and after sex, your UTI should clear up within two weeks. But it’s still a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.

Some women get frequent UTIs because they have a genetic predisposition to them, use certain birth control methods (like diaphragms or non-lubricated condoms), have frequent or prolonged intercourse, or both. It’s also possible to have a UTI caused by chlamydia or trichomoniasis, which are contagious infections that can be passed between partners. In those cases, it’s better to abstain until the antibiotic treatment has been completed.

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2. Pee before and after sex.

Many women have heard the oft-repeated advice to pee before and after sex, which they may feel pressure to comply with if they want to avoid a UTI. But in fact, that could actually be counterproductive. “It’s not necessarily true that you should always pee before sex, as some women’s immune systems can handle the bacteria and prevent infection just fine without preemptively going to the bathroom,” says New York City urologist David Kaufman, MD. What’s more, waiting to pee after sex can be risky because it means the bacteria are allowed to sit in the vagina longer, which can cause them to move up into the urethra. That can irritate the urethra and lead to a UTI.

But while urinating after sex does help flush out any bacteria that may have been in the urethra, it doesn’t really reduce the risk of pregnancy or STIs. So if you’re worried about those, make sure to use a proven form of birth control.

It’s also worth noting that having sex while you have a UTI can cause pain or irritation because of how close the urethra is to the clitoris and vagina, says gynecologist Lakeisha Richardson, MD. If you’re doing oral sex, your partner’s tongue or fingers could inadvertently rub against your urethra, and that can lead to itching or discomfort.

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3. Don’t use lubricants or toys.

Using lubricants and other toys to get intimate increases the risk of bacteria entering your urethra during sex. That’s because if you or your partner are touching the anus, uro-genital area, or vagina during sex (especially with penetrative sex) you’re spreading bacteria back and forth between the two of you. This bacteria is the main cause of UTIs, so by introducing more of it during sexual activity, you’re making it more likely that you’ll get another one—and prolonging your UTI recovery time.

You also want to avoid giving or receiving oral sex. This also introduces foreign bacteria into the urinary tract. Plus, it can irritate the area of the pelvis where your UTI is located and make symptoms worse.

It’s not completely off-limits to have sex when you have a uti, but it isn’t ideal. It’s usually best to wait until your symptoms are gone and you have completed a full course of antibiotics, especially since UTIs can easily recur.

It’s important to remember that a UTI is a bacterial infection, and it’s not a sexually transmitted disease. So, you can safely have sex without a uti as long as you take certain precautions like not having penetrative sex and using lubes that are free of excess chemicals and fragrances. You should also be sure to pee before and after sex, as well as after any prolonged intimate contact with your partner, to help flush out the bacteria in your body.

4. Avoid oral sex.

While UTIs aren’t sexually transmitted, the bacteria that cause them can get pushed close to the urethra during sex. Oral sex, especially with a man who has a UTI, can introduce that bacteria into the urinary tract system and push it further up toward the kidneys — which can cause more pain and a longer infection time.

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That’s why it’s important to avoid oral sex when you have a UTI. Women are more likely to develop a UTI after sex because their anus is closer to the urethra than men’s. And women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.

Even if you don’t have penetrative sex and don’t use lubricants, you may still be at risk of developing a UTI because harmful E. coli bacteria can get transferred from the anus to your mouth, hands, genitals, and sex toys during oral sex or vaginal intercourse. These bacteria can then be transferred to your partner, who could also develop a UTI.

Having sex while you have a UTI isn’t necessarily unsafe, but it is recommended that you wait until your symptoms have subsided and you have completed your antibiotic treatment. It’s also best to skip sex until you are completely feeling better. And remember, peeing before and after sex is always a good idea.

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