Sunday 17 December 2017

Dear Dr Nina: I keep getting kidney infections after sex, how can I prevent this?

Sex could improve your brain function
Sex could improve your brain function

Dr Nina Byrnes

Advice from our GP on how to avoid a urinary tract infection after sex.

Q. I keep getting kidney infections after sex, how can I prevent this?

A. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body. They occur more commonly in women. This is due to the fact that the urethra is much shorter than in men and is also located near to the anal area. This facilitates the passage of bacteria into the body. Sex creates friction and facilitates the transfer of bacteria in the genital area. Thus UTIs in sexually active women are common. They used to be referred to as “honeymoon cystitis”. Most women will have some bacteria in their urine post-intercourse, but this usually clears itself within 24 hours.

If you have a UTI you may feel the urge to urinate more frequently, but only pass a small amount. There may be pain or stinging passing urine and urine may appear cloudy, foul-smelling or blood-tinged. Other symptoms include back pain, fever, nausea or pressure or pain in the abdomen. If a UTI is confirmed an antibiotic will be prescribed.

For those with recurrent infections a low dose of antibiotic taken at night may be prescribed for several months. Another remedy may include taking a single dose of antibiotic after sexual intercourse or taking a short course of antibiotics as soon as symptoms appear. In most cases simple preventive measures can be helpful.

Cranberry juice or vitamin C make the urine more acidic and so make it harder for bacteria to grow. Drink plenty of water. This helps keep the urinary tract flushed through and makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow. Pass urine when the urge occurs and avoid resisting the urge to go. Passing urine after intercourse will help flush out any bacteria that may have entered the body. Wipe from front to back to prevent the transfer of bacteria from the anal area.

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