Maybe your friends told you to stock up on cranberry pills for your honeymoon (don’t bother, cranberry doesn’t help!). Or maybe you’ve pre-booked your doctors appointment for when you get back. There’s a reason people have linked honeymoons and urinary tract infections — and why it's more commonly called honeymoon cystitis! Although sex doesn’t cause UTIs, it is a primary risk factor for most women as it can increase the introduction of bacteria into your urinary tract (1).
In fact, almost 80% of premenopausal women with a UTI have had sex within the previous 24-hours (2).
So where there’s sex — there’s a chance of a UTI. And where there’s honeymooning, there’s probably lots of sex (hopefully?).
Diaphragms don’t help either, as they prevent the bladder from emptying itself entirely (2). Peeing is one of the best ways to get the bacteria back out, so if it’s being held up, so is the bacteria. Spermicides, including those found on condoms, can also increase the risk (2). This appears to be related to the toxic effect of spermicides on the vaginal flora (3), which helps defend against bacteria naturally.
No, you don’t need to stop having sex, don’t worry. But if you’re heading off for your honeymoon or mid-winter-all-inclusive-resort-adventure, consider other preventative measures (2):
The reality is that the pain might be enough to put you off sex for a while, but either way you and your partner need to understand what’s going on. Remember that this isn’t an STD, it’s not contagious.
You’ve just had irritation and inflammation in the worst place ever and you are at risk of reinfection. Some health professionals recommend that women with a UTI avoid sex until symptoms have been gone for at least two weeks just to be safe and to avoid re-infection (4). Booooo.
If you’ve identified sex as a key UTI risk factor for you, we recommend drinking one glass of MINGO an hour before “getting it on” and one within 4-6 hours afterwards. The goal is for MINGO to be doing its UTI-fighting thing while you pee after sex. So go get wild girl, but take care of yourself too!
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(1) Kodner, Charles, and Emily K. Thomas Gupton. “Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women: Diagnosis and Management.” American Family Physician, 15 Sept. 2010.
(2) Rodriguez, Diana. “The Link Between UTIs and Sex.”EverydayHealth.com, 29 Oct. 2010.
(3) MPH, Stephan D. Fihn MD. “Use of Spermicide-Coated Condoms and Other Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infection Caused by Staphylococcus saprophyticus.”Archives of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, 9 Feb. 1998.
(4) “Sex with urinary tract infections (UTIs)?”Sex with urinary tract infections (UTIs)? | Go Ask Alice!, goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/sex-urinary-tract-infections-utis.