If you’ve ever been caught with a post-coital case of the lazies, there’s nothing worse than feeling that obligation to run to the bathroom to pee. You weigh the options: Rally and get yourself out of bed to go or risk getting a urinary tract infection by holding it until morning. Inevitably, you wonder, Can you get a UTI from not peeing after sex, anyway? Because you never really questioned it when you first heard it in middle school from your friend’s older sister, or your camp counselor, or anyone else, for that matter.
Well, according to a pro, peeing after sex, specifically, certainly doesn’t hurt and may even help your chances of avoiding a UTI. “Urinating immediately after sex is beneficial, since the urine stream mechanically flushes bacteria away from the urethra,” says gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MD, OB/GYN.
“Urinating immediately after sex is beneficial, since the urine stream mechanically flushes bacteria away from the urethra.” —Alyssa Dweck, MD, OB/GYN.
And, it’s not just after penetrative sex that said bacteria needs to be flushed. “Keep in mind that during intercourse, thrusting, or manual stimulation, bacteria like E. coli that normally resides near the anal and vaginal openings can migrate toward the urethra and contaminate the bladder, causing a UTI. After all, the three structures are in close anatomic proximity to each other.
So while it stinks a bit that we have to worry about the bacteria circus that lives down there at all, it’s nonetheless pretty cool that the body can flush itself out to stop the bacteria from making an Oregon Trail–type journey up our urethra.
But let’s say the question of can you get a UTI from not peeing after sex is irrelevant because the sex already happened, you didn’t pee, and now you’re experiencing symptoms; well, even if you’re feeling kind of funky, don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, first get clear on what your symptoms are telling you. For instance, yeast infections are often confused with UTIs, and while neither is particularly pleasant, UTIs are more likely to give you a tough time when going to the bathroom.
“It’s important to note that bacteria and yeast normally reside in the vagina, but that UTI and yeast infections present with different symptoms and are treated differently,” Dr. Dweck says. “A UTI typically involves urgency, frequency, pain with urination, and is treated with an oral antibiotic, whereas a vaginal yeast infection usually involves a thick white vaginal discharge with intense itching and is treated with an anti-fungal, such as over-the-counter Monistat.” If you believe you may have a UTI and would benefit from an antibiotic, call your health-care provider for an appointment (which may utilize telemedicine).
So while not peeing after sex won’t guarantee that you get a UTI, taking that post-romp tinkle is definitely a proactive choice for avoiding the situation of ending up with one. Do yourself and your urinary tract a favor and heed those doctors orders to live on the safe side and answer nature’s calls that are beckoning you to the bathroom.