Urinary infections and sexual intercourse

Several studies have proven that, in young women, factors such as recent sexual activity, frequency of intercourse and the number of sexual partners, can significantly increase the incidence of urinary infections. Men can also have sex-related urinary infections, which are, especially, associated with anal sex.

No study has clearly proven that the “Escherichia coli” bacteria, which causes 80% of urinary tract infections in women, is transmitted between sexual partners and may be the origin of sexual colonization.

Sex and urinary infections

According to Javier Cambronero, urologist at Quirón Hospital in San José, Madrid, Spain, the bacteria originates from the flora, which colonizes the vagina and the urethra of women. Therefore, it cannot be considered a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).

Urine infections are not sexually transmitted. The man does not transmit the bacteria to the woman during intercourse, nor vice versa. However, these bacteria can promote urinary tract infections. This happens because, during intercourse, the urethra is squeezed and its contents can move into the bladder, favouring and facilitating the entrance of bacteria.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms are:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Urinate in small quantities
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Low-back pain

These symptoms can manifest individually or jointly. However, the infection can also be asymptomatic. In these cases, the person with the infection is not aware of it.

The problem of urinary tract infections is not only the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany it, but also the risk of it developing into other related alterations, such as irreversible renal disorders. The treatment and prevention of these alterations are often complicated.

Prevention

There are some preventive measures, such as:

  • Empty the bladder completely.
  • Wipe from front to back.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Liquids and urinary infections

  • Keep the pelvic area dry.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Use products with cranberry extract and drink dairy products containing probiotics.

Frequency of urinary infections

It is usually said that a person who has ever had a urinary infection is more likely to have it again. People who suffer from urinary infections are more likely to develop it again, especially when compared to people who have never had this alteration. This may happen because there are people whose vaginal environment is more appropriate or favourable to the growth of bacteria.

Besides the above recommendations, here are some other tips to reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse:

  • Cleanse the external genital area before/after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate immediately after intercourse, since some bacteria might have entered the bladder.
  • In the case of menopausal women, sexual lubricants should be used before intercourse.

Treatment

The doctor will indicate medicine needed to treat the infection, according to its cause. If the cause is bacterial (the most common), an antibiotic wil be prescribed. If the cause of the infection is a fungus like yeast, an antifungal will be prescribed. Finally, if it is caused by an infectious agent such a virus (e.g. herpes), then an antiviral will be prescribed.

Medication typically prescribed is taken orally. The treatment has a usual duration of two weeks, but it depends on the infection type, the causative organism and the medication chosen by the doctor. Hospitalization is only needed in severe cases with added complications.

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