You might be in a new relationship, or you've just gone on a romantic trip with your husband, or you're having a long-distance relationship and are finally reunited with your partner. Whatever the reason you're having a sex-filled weekend, it can come with an unfortunate side effect:
Urinary tract infection (UTI).
Don't freak out though, it happens to a lot of women and there are many ways to treat them, from this private urologist
to home remedies. Experts even have a colloquial name for it: Honeymoon cystitis
"The urethra—the tube that goes from outside up into the bladder—is literally right next to the vagina," says ob-gyn Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine. When you have sex, bacteria from the vagina can get rubbed into the urethra, where it travels up to the bladder. So when you have a lot of sex in a short period of time, it makes you more susceptible to these infections.
A common theory is that your body isn't used to the bacteria you're exposed to from a new partner, but Minkin says that might not be the case. In fact, it's usually your own bacteria that's causing the infection. So don't be too quick to blame your partner for your UTI.
To minimize your chances of getting UTI, Minkin suggests plenty of lubrication to prevent any tears or irritation (which can make infections more likely). It also helps if you pee before and after sex. If you're prone to UTIs, drinking cranberry extract on a regular basis can help. "Cranberry actually keeps the bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder," says Minkin. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic that you can take each time you have sex, which will deliver a high level of antibodies to the urine (though not to your blood stream, so you won't get a yeast infection). They could also prescribe you a low-dose of antibiotics to take on a daily basis for a few months to see if it changes the flora
in your vagina.
However, if you have more than a handful of UTIs per year, Minkin suggests seeing a urologist to find out if there's something going on in your bladder that's making you more prone to infections. "If you get frequent UTIs, go to your doctor—you don't have to stop having sex!" says Minkin.