Sometimes, UTIs can feel unavoidable. The fact is, around 40-60% of us will get a urinary tract infection in our lifetime and since sex is one of the leading causes, we did a deep-dive to answer all your questions.
How do you get a urinary tract infection?
Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can cause a UTI. UTIs happen when bacteria enter the urethra, travel up the urinary tract, and multiply. As the bacteria spread, your urinary tract becomes inflamed and infected. 90% of the time, this bacteria is E. coli. E. coli normally lives without harm in our intestinal tract but becomes harmful once it enters the urinary tract.
The most common cause of a UTI is improper wiping after going to the bathroom and sexual intercourse. It’s important to always wipe front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra. During sex, bacteria from either partner can be introduced to the other’s body and travel up the urethra into the bladder. Peeing right before and after sex helps eliminate bacteria in the urinary tract and reduces its spread.
UTIs are most common in the summertime for a few reasons. First, swimming pools and hot tubs allow germs and bacteria to float around and reach your body. Additionally, wearing a wet bathing suit or clothing creates moisture near your urethra and breeds bacteria. Similarly, if you’re sweating more near your underwear during the summer, you’re more likely to develop a UTI. Finally, dehydration in the summer leads to less urination and makes it harder for your body to fight off an infection in the urethra.
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Can you get a UTI from sex?
Sex can play a big part in contracting a UTI. Bacteria from the anus and genitals come into close contact with the urethra during sex, making it easy for that bacteria to travel up the urinary system and cause infection. An easy way to help protect against a UTI caused by sex is to pee before and after intercourse, flush out any bacteria that may have entered by drinking lots of water, and use condoms when having penetrative sex.
Most doctors recommend waiting to have sex until after your UTI is healed because it can cause further irritation and make the infection worse. Depending on how severe the infection is, you might not feel up for sex either. Listen to your body and try to refrain from sex until symptoms are gone. If you are someone who gets UTIs frequently, Stix offers a daily protection supplement that helps protect against future UTIs.
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Are UTIs contagious?
UTIs are more common in women than in men because a woman’s urethra (the tube from your bladder to where you pee from) is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to multiply. This being said, it’s still possible for men to get urinary tract infections. Infections from the prostate can travel up to a man’s bladder and cause a UTI.
UTIs are not a sexually transmitted disease and are not considered to be directly contagious. The bacteria that cause a UTI can be passed from your body to your partners, but not the UTI itself. In other words, your partner won’t get a UTI if you have one but could obtain some of the bacteria associated with a UTI. Remember to use condoms, pee before and after sex, and drink lots of water to avoid this bacteria progressing into an infection.
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Difference between UTI and bladder infection
A bladder infection is the most common type of UTI, but not all UTIs are bladder infections. A bladder infection occurs when the bacteria that caused a UTI reaches the bladder. Symptoms of a bladder infection are the same as UTI symptoms, but sometimes more severe. You’ll feel a strong and frequent urge to pee, a burning sensation when you urinate, and pressure in the lower abdomen. Sometimes, bladder infections can lead to hematuria, or blood in the urine. If not treated correctly, a bladder infection can spread to the kidneys causing a kidney infection that can be more serious. If you feel any of these symptoms, contact your primary care provider immediately.
Like UTIs, bladder infections are most commonly caused by E. coli that enters the urethra and eventually the bladder. If you are someone who gets a lot of UTIs, your chances and frequency of getting a bladder infection are higher. If you suspect you have a UTI, bladder infection, or kidney infection, contact your primary care provider.