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UTIs and Sex

By HERWriter
 
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Say UTI and most women know exactly what acronym you’re talking about. Urinary tract infection.

Typical unpleasant symptoms include burning when urinating, frequent urination, and an intense urge to pee, even if only a few drops come out. Approximately 50 percent of all women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime.

The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. It’s the body's filtering system and removes liquid wastes. When bacteria get in there, it can cause infections. The most common cause of UTIs is bacteria from the bowel that live on the skin near the rectum or in the vagina, which can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.

About 75 percent of the UTIs in women are triggered by sexual intercourse. During sex, bacteria in the vaginal area may be pushed into the urethra and eventually end up in the bladder, where urine provides a good environment for it to grow. Intercourse can also irritate the urethra making it more likely for bacteria to enter the urinary system.

Using a diaphragm can lead to infections because it pushes against the urethra and makes it harder to completely empty the bladder. When urine stays in the bladder, it’s more likely to grow bacteria and cause a UTI.

Unfortunately some women frequently get UTIs. It’s estimated that four out of five women who develop UTIs will have another within 18 months. This has nothing to do with hygiene. Recent studies show most women who suffer frequent UTIs have bladder cells designed to attract and hang onto the bacteria that cause them.

UTIs can be painful, but most are not serious. Fortunately, they are easy to treat with antibiotics and only last a few days. For women who tend to have frequent UTIs, some physicians will prescribe an antibiotic to be taken immediately after sex.

There are several things to do to prevent UTIs. Empty your bladder before having intercourse and urinate within 30 minutes after sex to help wash away bacteria.

Use a small amount of lubricant before sex if you're a little dry. Any water-based, over-the-counter product can replenish vaginal lubrication and relieve urethral irritation.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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