Don't Get A UTI After Sex
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in females than males and sex increases the risk of UTIs in women. One out of every two females will experience a UTI sometime in their life. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that travel up the urethra and infect the bladder.
Symptoms of UTI include:
But why are females more at risk? Compared to males, females have a shorter urethra, a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the opening outside the body. Basically, it’s easier for bacteria to get into the bladder. And the opening, known as the urethral orifice, is located next to the vaginal orifice which is next to the anus. The close proximity to the anus and vagina is another reason for the increased risk. Not surprisingly, the anal area is not sterile after bowel movements. Bacteria from the anus can move to the urethral orifice by the simple movement of the toilet paper. To prevent UTIs, the best way to wipe after a bowel movement is to start at the urethral orifice with the toilet paper and continue towards the anal area.
How sex increases the risk of UTI in women
In pre-menopausal women, the vaginal area provides an ideal moist environment for bacteria to live. Except for normal vaginal bacterial flora, most bacteria cannot thrive because the area is too acidic, killing them. However, if they are introduced to the vaginal area, soon followed by sexual intercourse, they can be displaced near the urethral orifice, travel up the urethra and cause the infection.
In post-menopausal women, the vaginal area is not as acidic as estrogen levels decline. Bacteria can thrive in the vaginal area and easily migrate to the urethral opening with or without sexual intercourse. Women can benefit from the use of intra-vaginal estrogen cream to prevent UTIs.