Is it okay to have sex when you have a UTI? Our medical team hears this question from patients sometimes, so we turned to Dr. Betty Acker, a Nurx OB-GYN, for answers.
Is it safe to have sex with a UTI?
“A UTI shouldn’t prevent sexual activity, unless it causes pain. I know that some doctors recommend against it, but if there is already an infection present, whether it’s being treated with antibiotics or not, there’s no reason that sex would make the infection worse.”
What if sex caused the UTI?
“If you suspect your UTIs are caused by sex you might want to make adjustments: Be sure to drink plenty of water before sex, always urinate after sex, and stay hydrated the day after sex. You might want to minimize vaginal contact, especially prolonged intercourse, and focus on other sex acts. It’s not uncommon to get UTIs when you are having sex frequently or having sex with a new partner, which used to be called ‘honeymoon cystitis’. There’s no evidence behind this that I’m aware of, but it’s possible that the vaginal biome needs to adjust to a new partner, and then sex-related UTIs subside.”
What do you wish more people knew about UTIs?
“People should know that they should be able to access UTI treatment without going to the doctor to get a urine culture. Unless there are complicating factors, like pregnancy or recurrent UTIs, a medical provider can diagnose based on your symptoms, even via telemedicine. If you are pregnant or have recurring UTIs then you should see a doctor in person and get a urine culture so your medical provider can see exactly what’s going on and determine the best way to treat you. And if you’re prescribed antibiotics for a UTI, please always take them as prescribed and finish the whole course, even if your symptoms get better.”
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