If you are a sexually active female, you must have heard that it’s important to pee after having sex. But why is it important to visit the loo after sex, as it is thought to reduce the chances of UTI or urinary tract infection. UTIs are extremely common, over 60% of women are afflicted by this at least once in their life.
If you had been paying attention in your biology class, you would be aware of the opening of the anus, urethra, and vagina are extremely close in a female body. Thus, the spread of infection and bacteria in the wrong opening can become fatal.
The urinary system consists of the kidney, urethra, bladder, and urinary tract. Women are more susceptible to UTI than men because the urethral opening is much shorter in women than in men. When having sex, a lot of action happens down there, and a condom might protect you against STIs and unwanted pregnancy but it cannot prevent bacterial infection.
Tell-tale signs of a UTI in women
The signs of a UTI is extremely uncomfortable and painful, the symptoms are:
· Frequent urge to visit the loo.
· Burning sensation while urinating.
· The bladder doesn’t empty completely.
· Cloudy appearance of the urine
· Presence of blood in the urine
· Strong odour
· Pain in the pelvic region and lower abdomen
If the bacteria make their way to the kidney, then it can lead to kidney infection, which can make matters quite complicated. The symptoms for it are:
· Nausea and vomiting
· Fever and chills
If you notice any of the above signs, visit a doctor with utmost urgency. An infection of the bladder is known as Cystitis, urethra infection is known as Urethritis and if the kidney is affected then it is known as Pyelonephritis.
The doctor can treat based on symptoms and if required a urinalysis might be prescribed. A course of antibiotics helps in abating the symptoms and neutralising the errant bacterial growth. If you have a recurrent occurrence of UTI having two or more infections in a year, then a prolonged treatment plan might be suggested by the doctor. You might have to take a low dose antibiotic for a long period of time or a single dose after sex.
Who are at increased risk?
An otherwise healthy woman may become prone to recurrent UTIs. The risk factors include:
· Having frequent intercourse, especially with new partners.
· Prior history of UTI
· Using diaphragm during sex
· Using oral contraceptives
· Using spermicides
· If you are diabetic
Pregnant women are predisposed to UTIs, and should immediately contact the OB-GYN. Women undergoing menopause are also at risk due to hormonal change.
Ways to tackle UTI
Doctors would prescribe antibiotics but apart from medication, which can have its own set of side-effects like damaging the good bacteria and making the bacteria resistant to medication.
· Drinking ample water
· Do not hold your pee. Visit the toilet whenever the need arises, also peeing every 3-4 hours is a healthy practice.
· Drinking cranberry juice is beneficial as it has antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
· Probiotics are a way of incorporating good bacteria into your system. Incorporate yogurts, sauerkraut, and certain kinds of cheeses in your diet.
· Always remember to wipe from front to back, so that the bacteria living in your anus don’t get transferred to the urethra.
Practicing sexual hygiene like :
o peeing immediately after sex within few minutes
o wash your pubic area before and after intercourse
o use a separate condom after having anal sex
o avoid sex during an episode of UTI
· Wear cotton underwear and avoid staying in wet clothes or gym clothes.
· Avoid scented feminine hygiene products
· Avoid douching
Can you have sex while having a bout of UTI?
The pain associated with UTI will anyway act as a deterrent to getting intimate. It is best to avoid any kind of sexual activity until the infection abates completely. All the attention down under can irritate the already sensitive urethra and aggravate the pain.
Sex can prolong your period of recovery. Peeing after sex is one of the ways to reduce the chance of UTI. If the urge to pee doesn’t arise, then you can drink some water to assist the process. Ideally, you should visit the toilet within 30 minutes. Not only anal and vaginal sex but oral sex can also lead to the spread of bacteria.
But if you are on medication, then there is no need to observe abstinence.
Also, UTIs aren’t contagious; your sexual partner is not at risk of contracting UTI from you. Firstly, the infection is in your urethra and not the vagina. Secondly, UTIs are ascending infection, the bacteria travels upwards and not the other direction.
If you leave a UTI untreated it can lead to extremely serious health conditions like kidney damage and a life-threatening condition known as sepsis. So, maintain proper sexual hygiene and rid yourself of pestering UTIs.