A urinary tract infection is one of the most profoundly annoying and painful things one can endure. The symptoms are legitimately unbearable: A constant urgency to pee, no matter how many times you pee, along with a burning sensation every time you DO pee. Whyyyyy!!!
Any woman who has had a UTI can attest.
UTIs are very common and nearly half of all women will have at least one at some point in her life. Why? Because the vaginal, anal, and urethral openings are all depressingly near one another. Thanks for nothing, anatomy.
“It’s all about that pesky bacteria from your vagina and anus that can easily travel to your urethra, bladder, and kidneys after sex,” Emily Morse, sexologist and host of the Sex With Emily podcast tells Brides.
Plus, the urethral canal is actually only a few centimeters long. “Any bacteria that exists outside the urethra does not have a long way to travel to get into the bladder,” says Dr. Emily Blanton, OB-GYN, MD.
We all know to pee after sex, right? When you pee after coitus, you flush out all of that bacteria that has traveled to parts unknown. If you let the bacteria fester, you will get an infection. Yet, despite all this religious wee-ing, women are still getting UTIs after sex.
So, we asked for a few tips on preventing these post-sex infections from the bottomless reaches of hell.
1. Pee before sex
“Pee after sex. Pee after sex. Pee after sex.” It is the advice any smart mother teachers her daughters around high school. But, did you know that you should also pee before sex? Since your vaginal, urethral, and anal openings are in such close proximity, there can be bacteria hanging out near the area.
When you have sex, you’re pushing all that bacteria way up in there. Pee before sex to clear the pipes before getting busy. Roger that!
2. Clean up
You don’t have to jump up the second you finish getting down, but cleaning up after sex is important for avoiding UTIs.
Both you and your partner should shower after sex. Morse suggests showering before sex too, if you can. Again with the bacteria! Rise your vulva and vagina with warm water. You can use a mild soap on your butt.
Do not put soap in your vagina or you will be sorry. “Regular soaps and body washes, lotions, anything with very heavy perfumes [are] all are not good to use in your vaginal area,” Morse says. Hello, bacterial vaginosis! Hard pass on that.
3. Don’t use “feminine hygiene products”
Don’t ever use douches, vaginal “washes” or other ridiculous scam products. Ever.
Vaginas smells the way they are supposed to smell so don’t go buying products that promise to turn your cooter into a cherry pie. These products contain harsh chemicals that can throw off your pH, leading to infection.
Your vagina is self-cleaning. Don’t listen to an industry that has made billions of dollars off of making women feel insecure. If you irritate the skin on your vulva, you’re more likely to get a UTI when it comes in contact with bacteria during sex.
4. Stay hydrated
Prone to UTIs? Drink a ton of water. Load up the Swell bottle, ladies, because we are taking down the H2O in buckets.
Staying hydrated is a secret trick to staving off those pesky infections. “This is the fastest way to get rid of bacteria and prevent it from staying in your urinary tract,” Morse tells us.
5. Regular UTIs might mean a regular antibiotic
There is nothing quite as irritating as going to the clinic, peeing in a cup, and getting antibiotics for your delightful UTI. Well, maybe except for the actual UTI.
Blanton tells Brides that for those women who see frequent UTIs after sex, they may need to take a regular antibiotic following penetration. “Usually this is one pill of an antibiotic after sex to help prevent the infections,” she says.
To soothe symptoms, try AZO (Phenazopyridine). Blanton tells us that AZO, “is a type of medication that can soothe the symptoms of a UTI: urinary frequency, urgency and general bladder/urethra irritation.” You can get it at your local pharmacy without a prescription.
You should absolutely go see your doctor ASAP, but AZO can help in the meantime. Anything to stave off that wretched need to pee, right?