Can You Have Sex with a UTI?

Medically Reviewed By Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
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Typically, your doctor will advise against having sex while you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). There are a few reasons behind this, including worsening the symptoms and passing bacteria to your partner. This article answers whether you can have sex with a UTI. It also explains the symptoms of a UTI, when to contact a doctor, and how to prevent a UTI from sex.

Can I have sex with a UTI?

A view from above a couple embracing on an orange sofa
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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. While these infections can affect many parts of the urinary tract, cystitis or bladder infection is the most common type. Another type of UTI is a kidney infection. These are less common but more serious than bladder infections.

Q:

Can I have sex with a UTI?

Anonymous

A:

Is it possible to have sex with a UTI? Of course. Would I advise it? Probably not, more for the comfort of the affected person.

I explain it this way: During sex, bodily fluids are exchanged, typically including bacteria from the rectum of both parties. The distance from the outside of the body of a person with a vagina to the bladder is much shorter than the distance for a person with a penis to their bladder. This is why persons with vaginas are more likely to get a UTI than persons with a penis.

Having sex with a UTI doesn’t change this, and the antibiotic given to the person with a UTI should work against all bacteria in this area of the body. The exception is if the symptoms are due to an STI, in which case both parties need to be treated simultaneously.

Meredith Goodwin, M.D., FAAFP Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Learn more about urinary tract infections.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

If you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • having a burning sensation or pain when urinating
  • having the urge to urinate often, but not much comes out when you go
  • having pressure in your lower abdomen
  • having bad smelling or cloudy urine
  • feeling tired, shaky, or weak
  • having a fever

Read about how to tell if you have a urinary tract infection.

When should you see a doctor for a UTI?

If you notice blood in your urine, contact your doctor right away. Tell them if you have a fever as well. This may indicate that the infection has spread to your kidneys.

If you believe you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI), contact your doctor. UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics, and your doctor will need to give you a prescription for them. Be sure to take all the medication as instructed, even if you begin to feel better.

Read more about when to see a doctor for a UTI.

How can you prevent a UTI from sex?

There are ways you can help prevent the development of a urinary tract infection (UTI). These include the following:

  • Wash the area around your vagina with water before and after sex.
  • Urinate as soon as you can after having sex.
  • Wipe from front to back.
  • Keep your genital area clean and dry.
  • Stay properly hydrated.
  • Do not use scented soaps in your genital area.
  • Do not hold your urine. Go as soon as you can, and empty your bladder fully.
  • Do not use condoms or a diaphragm with spermicidal lube.

You can also try drinking at least 20 ounces (oz) of water immediately before you have sex. This may help you have a full bladder after sex, which can help rinse out the bodily secretions that may get into your bladder during sex.

Summary

Generally, your doctor may advise you to avoid having sex when you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). This is mainly because it can make your symptoms worse. It can also potentially spread the bacteria to your partner.

Contact your doctor if you notice symptoms of a UTI, such as burning or pain when urinating and the urge to urinate often. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics. Take all the medication as directed, even if you begin to feel better.

You can help prevent UTIs by urinating after sex, washing your vaginal area before and after sex, and not using condoms or diaphragms with spermicidal lube.

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Medical Reviewer: Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 10
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