How Can I Stop Getting Frequent UTIs?

Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
By Kellie Spilman

Someone asked us:

I have a question. I recently lost my virginity, and now I’ve developed a Urinary Tract Infestion (UTI). Did the sex cause it, or was it just a coincidence? If it was the sex, how can I prevent it from happening in the future?

There are a lot of things that can up your chances of getting a UTI. The sex may have contributed to it, or it may have been something else. A UTI can happen anytime bacteria comes in contact with the vulva or urethra. But, you’re definitely not alone! About one in five people with vaginas will experience a UTI at some point in their lives. Anyone with a penis can get a UTI as well, although it’s less common since the urethra is farther from the bladder (so it’s harder for bacteria to reach the bladder), and the urethra is farther from the anus (so it’s harder for bacteria from the anus to spread to the urethra). Rarely, a UTI can be caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), so make sure to get tested regularly for STDs since you’re having sex.

Here are some tips on how to keep those UTIs at bay:

Urinate immediately before and after sex.
Use condoms during vaginal sex.
Drink whenever you feel thirsty.
Urinate as soon as you feel the urge. Don’t hold it in!
Keep your vulva clean and dry.
Drink unsweetened cranberry juice or take cranberry supplements. (Cranberries contain an acid that helps prevent bacteria from growing.)      

If you have recurring UTIs, talk with a doctor or nurse about what might be causing them and if there’s anything more you can do to avoid them. 

The staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center can help. Feel better!


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