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February 07, 2021 4 min read

Sex and UTIs: How to Master Your UTI-Free Sex Life

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Let’s talk about sex. (Cue the Salt-N-Pepa track.) Sex is one of the most common causes of urinary tract infections, especially for women. 60% of women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime, and most will be due to increased sexual activity. 

Here’s why: the vagina is naturally full of bacteria, some good and some bad. Any type of vaginal penetration will shake up that bacteria and force it to move around. From there, the bad bacteria can find its way to the bladder or urethra, where it then multiplies and causes an infection. Plus, penetration can bring new bacteria into the vagina, like E. coli from the intestines. 

While sex is one of the top UTI causes, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many ways to have a healthy, active sex life without getting recurrent UTIs. You ready for ‘em? Let’s dive in. 

How do I know if I have a UTI? 

Let’s start with the basics. A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria enters the urethra and travels up the urinary tract. While most UTIs occur in the bladder, they can also spread to the kidneys and potentially cause serious harm. 

Anybody who has experienced one knows that UTI symptoms are painful and (very) frustrating. You most likely have a UTI if you’re experiencing: 

  • A sudden and constant need to pee.
  • Burning sensation when you pee. 
  • Cloudy, bloody, or discoloured urine. 
  • A strange smell to your pee.  
  • Pelvic pain or cramping. 
  • A fever or high temperature. 

If you think you might have a UTI, call your doctor right away. They’ll most likely prescribe antibiotics (the most common treatment for UTI) to get your urinary tract back in action. 

Can birth control cause UTIs? 

At Utiva, we’re all about safe sex. But if you’re constantly getting urinary tract infections after getting busy, your choice of contraceptive might be the culprit. 

Certain types of birth control can destroy the good bacteria in your vagina, allowing the bad bacteria to take over. Some contraceptives also cause infections by messing with your vaginal pH balance, interfering with your bladder function, or simply irritating the skin in and around your vagina. 

To avoid UTIs from sex, here are the top birth control methods to steer clear of: 

  • Non-lubricated latex condoms: These can irritate the vagina and help bacteria spread. 
  • Spermicides: Used to kill sperm and block the cervix, spermicides can also support bacteria growth (especially when used with a condom). 
  • Diaphragms: Designed as a silicon cup that covers the cervix, diaphragms put pressure on the urethra and make it harder for you to empty your bladder regularly. The longer urine stays in your bladder, the easier it is for bacteria to grow. 
  • Cervical caps: Just like diaphragms, cervical caps can interfere with bladder emptying. 

Can birth control pills cause UTIs?

The short answer is no. Research shows that birth control pills do not inherently cause UTIs. That said, there are ways that birth control pills can make it harder to prevent UTIs. 

Some reports suggest that women who take birth control pills simply have more sex. The more sex you have, the more at risk you are for developing a UTI.

On top of that, certain birth control pills can lower estrogen levels. This drop in estrogen has a negative impact on the bacteria and pH balance in the vagina, which is why so many menopausal women struggle with UTIs on a regular basis. 

If you’re on birth control pills and getting recurrent UTIs, talk to your doctor about switching to a pill that has a lower impact on your estrogen.

What contraceptives should I use to stay UTI-free? 

Now that you know what birth control methods not to use, we’ve got all the deets on which ones you can. Here are the top contraceptives to help you avoid UTIs while protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy: 

  • Condoms (with no spermicide and a water-based lubricant) 
  • Intrauterine device (also known as an IUD)
  • Dep-Provera shot 
  • Contraceptive implant 
  • NuvaRing 
  • Birth control patch 
  • Vasectomy 

At the end of the day, everyone’s contraceptive needs are unique. Talk to your doctor about the best birth control method for you, your body, and your partner. 

How else can I prevent UTIs from sex? 

Okay, so you switched up your birth control. What else can you do to be a UTI prevention pro? 

Most importantly, always pee before and after having sex. This will help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract so that it can’t stick around. 

Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to keep your urine flowing frequently and try not to hold in your pee for long periods of time. If you’re waiting to start treatment for a UTI already in progress, drink lots of water and avoid caffeinated beverages that could irritate the bladder. 

To kill off pesky bacteria, always keep Utiva cleansing wipes on hand to sanitize before, during, and after sex. Make sure to clean off toys and genitals regularly, especially if you’re switching between penetration spots. 

I’ve tried everything, but I keep getting UTIs after sex 

We hear you, sis! If you’re struggling with chronic post-sex infections, a daily UTI prevention supplement could be a major game-changer. 

Utiva’s Cranberry PACs Supplement has 36 mg of PACs in every dose, which is clinically proven to stop bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract. Derived from cranberries, this supplement is 100% plant-based, antibiotic-free, and doctor recommended. 

To start off, take 2 Utiva capsules the day of sex and 2 more 24 hours later. Once your post-sex UTIs are under control, regular daily doses will keep UTIs at bay long-term. 

To master your UTI-free sex life, download Utiva’s UTI Tracker App to get regular UTI prevention tips, track symptoms, share updates with your doctor, and more! For even more UTI info, head to the Utiva blog for helpful tips, resources, and recommendations.

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