Getting a UTI a few times in your life is both the worst and truly inevitable. It’s almost a rite of passage to text your mom at least once since you left the nest asking, “Why does it hurt when I pee…?” Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned vet (bless your soul), knowing what’s exactly healthy and allowed while you have a UTI isn’t well-known information. The biggest Q you might need an A to: Can I have sex with a UTI?
We did the research and asked the experts so you don’t have to make the awkward call to your doctor to ask. Behold: the final answer, plus the #1 tip you can do to prevent UTIs in the future.
What is a UTI and its symptoms?
To understand if it’s possible, we’ll first need to understand what exactly a UTI is and its (horrible) symptoms. According to MedicalNewsToday, a UTI is a bacterial infection that occurs when bacteria (could be from unwashed hands, skin, not wiping properly, etc.) get into the urinary tract and bladder through the urethra. UTI symptoms include a painful, burning sensation while urinating; feeling the need to urinate a lot; cloudy urine; red or dark pink urine; and pelvic pain.
How to prevent and treat a UTI
Although getting a UTI is common, there are few simple steps you can take to improve your urinary tract health and decrease your risk. Dr. Terry Dunn, M.D., FACOG, FPMRS, urogynecologist and owner of Foothills Urogynecology in Denver, shared her #1 tip: “It is important to always urinate after sex,” Dr. Dunn said. “This clears the urinary tract and helps to remove any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex … This simple step can make a big difference in a woman’s overall health and overcoming and avoiding UTIs.”
If you currently have a UTI, Dr. Dunn recommended drinking lots of water to make your symptoms go away faster. Also, see a doctor to get the right antibiotics to treat the infection. Don’t rely on over-the-counter alternatives. Although they can definitely help with any pain or discomfort, you’ll need antibiotics to completely get rid of the infection.
When is it OK to have sex again?
Because of these painful, uncomfortable symptoms, you might not have a strong libido anyway—but when they do start to go away, when is it OK to get back in the sack? Dr. Dunn explained that it’s possible to have sex with a UTI, but recommended patients wait until the infection is being treated, as sex with a UTI can “slow down how quickly a woman recovers from treatment” by introducing more bacteria into the urinary tract.
“If you are being treated, you should be fine with no negative effects. If you haven’t been treated, there is risk of causing another infection if you don’t take steps to reduce that risk,” Dr. Dunn said.
About 50 to 60 percent of adult women have had a UTI, and studies say 1 in 2 women will have at least one in their lifetime, meaning it’s safe to assume most people have experienced your pain (literally) or will in the future. This also means it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, so you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide it from a partner or pretend you’re not in pain when you do find yourself with a little burning when you pee. If you are worried about telling your partner that you can’t have sex for a week or so while you get your symptoms under control, don’t be—sex while you’re experiencing uncomfortable side effects won’t be fun for either of you.