Sex and recurrent UTIs

If you are someone who has been plagued by urinary tract infections (“UTIs”), you know how disrupting they can be to daily life.  Otherwise known as recurrent UTIs, these are bladder infections that occur more than three times per year.  Often, they are associated with intercourse and have commonly been referred to as the “honeymoon disease.”  Some severe UTIs can cause razor sharp pains in the lower abdomen and pelvis, and the associated symptoms of frequency and urgency can even cause incontinence, or missed days at work.

Up to 20% of women suffer with recurrent cystitis and it can have a big impact on one’s sexual relationships.  Women who get UTIs with sex are often avoidant, and admit that their relationships have suffered as a result. 

So, what can you do if you suffer with recurrent cystitis, and it is affecting your quality of life and your relationship?  First, you should be evaluated in person by a urologist or urogynecologist.  That clinician will likely take a look at your kidneys using an ultrasound.  She may also want to look inside your bladder with a tiny camera called a cystoscope.  If both tests are negative, she may ask you to keep track of how many infections you get immediately after having intercourse or other sexual relations.  The next step will be to discuss preventative strategies.  Cranberry juice has long been touted as a helpful way to keep UTIs from occurring.  However, the juice itself is very high in sugar and will likely not help.  Certain high potency cranberry extracts, such as Theracran, may be helpful although the evidence is somewhat unclear.   If all else fails, your doctor may prescribe you an antibiotic to take BEFORE sex to help prevent the bacteria from tracking up in the bladder and causing an infection. 

Sex is an important part of relationships, so don’t let your recurrent UTIs stop you from maintaining this vital part of your overall wellness.  Contact us for ways to maintain a healthy sex life.