UTIs After Sex – Your Questions Answered

Rebekah Kuschmider
Rebekah Kuschmider
January 19, 2023
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Julie Birgbauer
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 tips on prevention and how to avoid a UTI after sex.

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.

can male sperm cause uti in females?
Semen or sperm is not a cause of UTI. However, semen can alter the pH of vagina, making it less acidic and more prone to infections.

Can Oral Sex Cause a UTI?

Bacteria transfer can also occur with oral sex, so it's not just penetrative sex you need to be careful about. Oral sex, hand-to-genital contact, anal sex, and the use of sex toys can potentially lead to UTIs.

Are UTIs Sexually Transmitted?

UTIs are not sexually transmitted infections and don't pass between partners. However, sexual contact can increase the risk of getting a UTI. The bacteria that cause UTIs always live on your body, so your partner isn't exposing you to a new microbe. Instead, sexual activity can move the bacteria around your genital region and allow the bacteria to enter your urinary tract. [1]

Can Sperm or Semen Cause a UTI?

UTIs are caused by microbes, not by sperm or semen, which is the fluid that contains sperm. Whether your sexual partner ejaculates inside you doesn't affect your chances of getting an infection. However, certain kinds of contraceptives have 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.

Can Condoms Cause a UTI?

Condoms themselves do not cause UTIs. However, many condoms are lubricated with a spermicide, which can promote the growth of the bacteria E. coli. The most common cause of bacterial urinary tract infections is E. coli. The spermicidal gel used with diaphragms and any spermicide for vaginal insertion can also increase the risk of UTIs. If you are prone to UTIs, you may want to talk to your doctor about birth control options that don't rely on spermicide. For sexually transmitted infection prevention, you can choose unlubricated condoms and use a separate water-based lubricant if needed. [2]

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 in 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.

How Long Does It Take for a UTI To Develop?

A UTI develops because harmful bacteria are growing in the urinary tract. There is an incubation period between when the bacteria is introduced and when you start to feel symptoms. This time frame varies depending on the bacteria. The most common cause of UTIs is E. coli, which has an incubation time of three to eight days. That means you will notice UTI symptoms anywhere from three to eight days after sex or other exposure to bacteria. [3]

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.

How Soon Can I Have Sex After a UTI?

There is no hard and fast rule about when you can resume sexual activity after a UTI. Since the infections aren't transmissible, there is no need to worry about lingering bacteria affecting your partner. However, the symptoms associated with a UTI can make sex uncomfortable. Any kind of vaginal penetration, whether it's a penis, a finger, or sex toys, might irritate sensitive tissues in your pelvic region. Having sex too soon might make symptoms worse. Waiting until your symptoms are completely gone is usually the best plan. [4]

You can ask your doctor for guidance on when to have sex again after a UTI.

Can a UTI Cause Bleeding During Intercourse?

Vaginal bleeding due to a UTI is not very common, but it is possible. One of the effects of infection of any kind is inflammation. Inflammation may spread beyond the site of the infection to surrounding tissue. In the case of a UTI, other areas in the pelvic region may become inflamed, sensitive, and prone to irritation. If the tissue of the vagina or vulva is affected, sexual contact may cause irritation or bleeding. [5]

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 aUTI?

To get a diagnosis, you generally have to provide your doctor with a urine sample so they can check for levels of white blood cells and bacteria in urine. However, our Urinox-UTI test panel makes diagnosis much easier and can give you the same assessment at-home results in just two minutes. It can check for signs of inflammation and bacterial activity in the urinary tract. Urinox-UTI test is an easy-to-use urine dipstick test that you can use at home to assist in the diagnosis of UTIs. It is the same test used by doctors worldwide. You can learn more about Urinox-UTI here.

Buy at home UTI test

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. Bosky, Elizabeth, "Are Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) Contagious?" VeryWell Health, Available online, [Accessed September 1, 2023].
  2. Machalinski, Anne, "Best Ways to Help Prevent UTIs," WebMD, Available online [Accessed August 31, 2023].
  3. Davis, Charles Patrick, "Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?" Medicine Net, Available online [Accessed August 31, 2023].
  4. Miller, Korin. "Can You Have Sex With a UTI, and Can You Possibly Give One to Your Partner?" Prevention, Available online [Accessed August 31, 2023].
  5. Allo Health. "Can a UTI Cause Vaginal Bleeding?" Available online [Accessed August 31, 2023].
  6. NIH Staff, "Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection) in Adults," National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH.
  7. Hooton TM. Recurrent urinary tract infection in women. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001 Apr;17(4):259-68.
  8. 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
Rebekah Kuschmider

Rebekah has been writing about culture, health, and politics since 2010. She has a masters degree in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University. Her work has been seen at WebMD, The Candidly, MedicineNet, YourTango, Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, Salon, Role Reboot, The Good Men Project, SheSaid, Huffington Post, and Mamamia. She is a former cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union. Rebekah lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and a dog who sheds a lot.

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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