Why peeing after sex is important

While not eliminating the risk of contracting a UTI, peeing after sex significantly reduces the risk.

Here’s some life advice — pee after sex. Especially for people with vaginas, peeing after sex helps to flush any bacteria out of the urethra that may have been pushed around there during intercourse. The biggest benefit from this is that it prevents urinary tract infections.

UTI is an infection of the urethra, bladder or both that may turn into a kidney infection if left untreated. UTIs are very common — in fact, 50 percent of people with vaginas will get one during their lifetimes. But because they can turn into a much more serious infection, it's important to take them seriously and seek medical attention if you believe you may have one.

UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urethra, travels to the bladder and causes an infection. Most commonly, this bacteria originates from another region of a person's genital area. The spreading of this bacteria can occur during any sexual activity when your partners' genitals, fingers, mouth or anus come into contact with your genitals. Less commonly, UTIs can be caused by some sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Unlike STIs, UTIs cannot be spread from person to person via intercourse but may be made worse during sex if more bacteria enters the urethra. UTIs are also not only caused by sex. Any activity in which bacteria gets near the urethra can cause UTIs. Swimming in public pools or lakes, pregnancy, improper hygiene and use of antibiotics are all other common causes of UTIs.

People with vaginas, those who are sexually active, people who use diaphragms and spermicide as a contraceptive and those who are pregnant or going through menopause are all at greater risk for contracting a UTI. In addition, people who have had UTIs in the past are more likely to get another one than those who have never had one.

Symptoms include pain or burning while urinating, foul-smelling or cloudy urine, blood or pus in the urine and cramping or soreness in your lower back and sides. If a UTI is left untreated and moves into the kidney, additional symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and sharp pain in the mid back to the right or left of the spine may occur. If these symptoms occur, it is incredibly important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as kidney infections can be very serious and lead to greater complications.

Treatment for UTIs may include the use of antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria. Drinking lots of fluids, like cranberry juice and water, is also recommended in conjunction with antibiotics as it helps to flush out bacteria faster than antibiotics alone.

Prevention is also very important when it comes to not getting UTIs. This can include making sure to drink enough fluids, using the restroom when you feel the urge, taking cranberry pills if you are prone to UTIs and, of course, peeing after sex. All of these things will reduce your risk of contracting a UTI.

It’s advised to go to the bathroom as soon after sex as possible. While you may have some wiggle room depending on how susceptible you are to contracting UTIs, it’s still better to urinate sooner rather than later. This will make sure as much bacteria is expelled from your urethra. Don't worry — your partner(s) will still be there for post-coital cuddles when you get back.

One common myth is that peeing after sex will “rinse out” a vagina and prevent pregnancy. Since the urethra and the vagina are two separate holes, peeing after sex will not rinse out your vagina because you don't pee out of your vagina. If you are trying to prevent pregnancy while engaging in penetrative sex with someone with a penis, it's important to use other contraceptive methods.

Peeing after sex will not eliminate your chance of getting a UTI. UTIs can result from a myriad of other causes, many not having anything to do with sex. So, if using the bathroom right after sex isn’t a part of your post-coital routine, it might be time to reconsider this and start telling UTIs to piss off.

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

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