UTIs After Sex – Your Questions Answered

Elizebeth O’Neill
Elizebeth O’Neill
January 19, 2023
min read
UTIs After Sex – Your Questions Answered

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, or the tubes connected to them. UTIs are common; 1 out of 5 adult women will experience this type of infection at some point in their lifetime, although they can also occur in men and children.

UTIs develop when microbes - usually bacteria - enter the urethra, which is the tube from which you expel urine. The infection often remains within the urethra and bladder but can sometimes travel up to the kidneys.

What are the Symptoms of a UTI?

The symptoms of a UTI can include:

  • Pain in your stomach or pelvis
  • Pain or pressure in your sides
  • Urinating more often
  • Urinating more suddenly
  • Urinating at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain when having sex

UTIs are common in sexually active individuals. Even so, there can be some confusion among women about UTIs, especially regarding the link between the infections and sex. In the following sections, we answer common questions about the link between sex and UTIs, and give you the tips you need to prevent infection.

Can you get a UTI after sex?

It's not uncommon for women to develop a UTI after sexual intercourse. The thrusting involved in sex can push bacteria into the urethra, increasing your chances of getting an infection. Bacteria transfer can also occur with oral sex, so it's not just penetrative sex you need to be careful about.

can male sperm cause uti in females

Can sperm cause a UTI?

UTIs are caused by microbes, not by sperm. Whether your sexual partner ejaculates inside you doesn't affect your chances of getting an infection. However, the use of certain kinds of contraceptives has been linked to UTIs. For example, diaphragms or condoms coated with spermicide can kill off protective bacteria in the vagina, increasing the chance of UTIs.

Are UTIs contagious?

UTIs are not contagious in the way that sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are, meaning you you can't catch them or give them to someone through sex or other forms of physical contact.

Can a UTI be transmitted from a woman to a man?

Since UTIs aren't contagious, women can't transmit a UTI to men or vice versa. In fact, UTIs are more common in women because they have a shorter urethra than men and the tube is closer to their anus, therefore it is easier for bacteria to spread.

However, it's important to note that men can also develop these infections. UTIs in men are less common and are often caused by an underlying STD such as chlamydia or gonorrhea rather than microbe transfer as with women.

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Can urinating after sex prevent a UTI?

Yes - urinating after sex sexual intercourse helps flush microbes back out of your urethra, making you less likely to develop a UTI. Ideally, you should use the toilet within 15 minutes of having sex.

How can you prevent a UTI after sex?

While nothing can guarantee you won't develop a UTI, there are some general hygiene practices you can adopt to reduce your chances or prevent UTI after sex. After sex, gently wash your genital area to remove bacteria.

If you have anal sex, make sure to clean your anus thoroughly beforehand, and avoid switching to vaginal sex afterwards, as doing so could transfer bacteria to your urethra. You should also wipe with toilet paper from front to back - never back to front - after using the toilet, to prevent bacterial transfer. Good hygiene is essential to avoid UTI after sex.

In general, make sure to drink enough water every day and maintain good personal hygiene - this means changing your underwear everyday and changing pads or tampons regularly when you're menstruating.

Can you have sex with a UTI?

It's best to avoid having sex with UTI because the movement involved can irritate the urethra and push bacteria further up inside, worsening the infection. UTIs can also make sex feel painful and unpleasant.

Why do I keep getting a UTI after sex every time?

If you've taken the necessary precautions but still develop a UTI after sex every time, ask your doctor to conduct some more tests on your urinary tract. These could include an ultrasound scan or a CT scan to check if there's injury to the area or another disease causing the UTI.

Sometimes, frequent UTIs can be a sign of a more serious condition such as diabetes, so make sure to attend regular health check-ups.

How to diagnose a UTI?

To get a diagnosis, you generally have to provide your doctor with a urine sample so they can check for levels of red and white blood cells. However, our Urinox-UTI test panel makes diagnosis much easier and can give you at-home results in just two minutes.

Urinox UTI Test Strips - At-home urinary tract infection test to detect the presence of inflammation and bacterial activity in the urinary tract.

Final Words

UTIs can be painful and troublesome. However, with proactive testing, prevention strategies, home remedies, and treatment with a course of antibiotics, relief is possible.

It's important to know the science of UTIs and prevention so you can make the best decisions for your health.

  1. NIH Staff, "Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection) in Adults," National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH.
  2. Hooton TM. Recurrent urinary tract infection in women. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001 Apr;17(4):259-68.
  3. Fihn SD, Boyko EJ, Chen C, Normand EH, Yarbro P, Scholes D. Use of Spermicide-Coated Condoms and Other Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infection Caused by Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(3):281–287.
About the Author
Elizebeth O’Neill

Elizabeth O’Neill is a highly experienced nursing professional with a passion for educating others about important health issues. With a degree in nursing and extensive experience in the medical field, she has dedicated her career to helping others live their best, healthiest lives.

In her current role as a medical content writer for Diagnox, Elizabeth is able to utilize her knowledge and experience to inform and educate consumers on the importance of proactive screening and overall health. She is particularly passionate about women's health issues, and loves working with Diagnox to spread awareness about these important topics.

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has consistently demonstrated her dedication to helping others and improving the health of her community. She is highly respected by her colleagues and is known for her professionalism, compassion, and expertise. Whether she is working directly with patients or writing articles to educate the public, Elizabeth is always focused on making a positive impact on the lives of others.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Julie Birgbauer

This blog immensely benefitted from the editorial contributions of Julie Birgbauer. Her detail-oriented review and unique style have helped to make this blog informative and easy to understand.

The blog was also reviewed by the Diagnox content team. Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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