Can You Have Sex With a UTI?

A UTI (urinary tract infection) is the most typical outpatient infection in the U.S.

UTI prevalence rate tends to increase with age, with the exception of young women between the ages of 14 to 24, which are often the most affected. 

For women over 65, the prevalence is at around 20%, compared to 11% recorded in the general population.

In fact, lower urinary tract infections are so common that from 50% to 60% of the adult female population have at least one UTI in their lifetime.

Almost 10% of post menopausal women had a UTI in the last year.

The UTI incidence in men is around 5 to 8 per 10,000 annually.

Although UTI prevalence in male patients also increases with age, men are least susceptible to a UTI infection.

The question is, can you have sex with a UTI?

In this guideline, you can see the risks and safety of having intercourse with an infection, plus whether the infection could spread through sex.

Here is a detailed guideline about sex with a UTI.

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Can You Have Sex With a UTI – Is It a Smart Thing to Do?

People with a UTI can experience a temporary loss of interest in having intercourse.

But, can you have sex with a UTI?

Or are you putting your partner in harm’s way? 

Experts recommend people abstain from sex while the infection is still affecting the urinary system.

That way, they can give the body time to recuperate.

The reason why having sex with UTI is not a good idea is that:

  • It can be painful and exacerbate the symptoms.
  • It can introduce new bacteria.
  • And, it can make the partner susceptible to infection. 

A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection.

It can develop from touching sensitive areas, like the vagina, with unclean hands, after being in contact with the skin or anus.

When the infection reaches the urethra, it can get to the bladder and travel to the remaining sections of the urinary tract. 

Since this is not a sexually transmitted disease or a contagious illness, people can’t pass the infection to their sexual partners.

What can happen is sex amplifies the risk of a urinary tract infection by introducing bacteria into the urethra. 

What The Research Says

According to studies, scientists found a 3 to 4-fold increase in the risk of symptomatic UTI on the second day post-sex.

The risk varied from person to person, which later subsided after the third day.

Based on the reports, more than 75% of uncomplicated UTI infections were the result of E coli – a type of bacteria that’s normally present in the intestines.

Sexual intercourse could also cause cystitis.

But, people don’t necessarily need to be sexually active to experience the condition.

Every woman’s urethra is vulnerable to cystitis, primarily due to their anatomy.

The closeness from the anus to the urethra and bladder to the urethral opening is relatively short, leaving them susceptible to the condition. 

When the urinary tract is struck with UTI, intercourse causes pain and irritates the urethra. This is one similarity between a UTI and yeast infection.

In women, the recurrent bladder infections add pressure to the vagina’s internal walls and impact the bladder, aggravating the painful condition.

If there are bacteria in other places close to the genitals, then intercourse can force the bacteria into the urethra, making sex a significant risk factor. 

Regardless of the genital contact, the infection can still get introduced into the urethra with or without vaginal penetration.

As a result, the urinary tract starts experiencing a burning sensation, vaginal dryness, pain, and discomfort. 

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Tips to Stay Safe During Sex

There is a common misconception that wearing a condom can prevent UTI symptoms.

But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Spermicide-coated condoms can elevate the risk of UTI.

This is not a sexually transmitted infection.

Vaginal intercourse forces the condition into the urethra and bladder. So, there isn’t a safe way to have sex with an infection.

At the same time, an enlarged prostate can cause similar urinary complications, like kidney issues or blocked urination. 

It’s best to avoid it altogether while the body heals from the temporary or recurrent infection.

But, some tips may come in handy at reducing the possibility of contracting future lower urinary problems. 

Experts suggest: 

  • Drink plenty of fluids to promote urine flow and flush out the bacteria after sex to clean the urinary tract. With frequent urination, it is easier to manage the urinary pathways. 
  • Consume cranberry juice or extract to reduce the frequency of recurrent UTI
  • Avoid applying products on the vagina like scented bubble baths or douches that irritate the urinary pathways.
  • Get proper UTI treatment with antibiotic medication. 
  • Wash hands before manual sexual stimulation to prevent introducing the infection to the urethra or urinary pathways. 
  • Work on the wiping routine. It is best to wipe from front to back after having worked on the urine flow. That way, the urinary tract is less likely to get affected since the bacteria won’t be moved from the anus.

Certain female patients find that the sudden increase in sexual activity has made them prone to recurring UTI and in need of UTI treatment.

Whether that included anal sex or vaginal sex, this is what experts refer to as honeymoon cystitis. 

Recurrent cystitis can be highly uncomfortable and add significant pressure to the urinary pathways.

Research indicates that highly active sex led to a 10-fold increase in bacteria in urine and predisposition to a urinary tract problem within the next 24 hours.

To prevent that from happening, it is a good idea to slow down with intimate activity for at least a couple of days after recovering from a urinary bacterial infection, particularly if you are having severe pain in the genital area or a frequent UTI

When to Consult With a Specialist

UTI can easily affect the urethra. But, these germs don’t remain trapped inside the urethra. They can travel around the body, reaching the bladder and even kidneys.

The bacteria in the urinary tract (the area responsible for carrying the urine) can multiply and reach a kidney, causing a kidney infection and even a kidney stone.

The same thing can happen to the bladder and trigger a bladder infection. These infections that stir the urinary pathways can be excruciating and uncomfortable to deal with. 

It is best to consult with a specialist if the urinary symptoms include:

  • Severe bladder pain
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely
  • Bad smell coming from the urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Cramping or aches affecting the groin or stomach

If the infection has moved from the urinary pathways to the kidneys, it can trigger some of the following problems:

  • Backaches
  • Weakness or feeling sick
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever or chills

If the patient has already commenced with their urinary treatment, they should contact a specialist if the:

  • Urinary tract symptoms have aggravated 
  • Aches don’t subside in a day or two after antibiotic treatment
  • Fever develops
  • Sexual intercourse is worsening their condition


A UTI doesn’t have to be a severe urinary tract problem.

It can get quickly managed with proper urinary tract treatment.

But, unless you give the body enough time to recuperate, you could potentially trigger further infection.

That’s why doctors suggest people wait until the infection leaves the system before they start having sex.

Explore More

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9 Ways To Prevent a UTI After Sex.


  1. Martha Medina. (2019). An introduction to the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from:
  2. Jennifer L. Seminerio. (2011). 26-Year-Old Man With Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Retrieved from:
  3. Elya E. Moore. (2008). Sexual Intercourse and Risk of Symptomatic Urinary Tract Infection in Post-Menopausal Women. Journal of General Internal Medicine. Retrieved from:
  4. Stephan D. Fihn. (1998). Use of Spermicide-Coated Condoms and Other Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infection Caused by Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Retrieved from:
  5. J. Curtis Nickel. (2005). Practical Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Premenopausal Women. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from:
  6. Drew J. Schwartz. (2015). Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Superinfection Enhances the Severity of Mouse Bladder Infection. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from:

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