Overheard On Campus: Can my girlfriend still have sex if she has a urinary tract infection?

Contributed by Erin Kaufmann, B.A.
Introduction by Tyler Achilles, B.A.

I think I’ll just let Erin Kaufmann, a senior health promotion and behavior major at the University of Georgia, take a crack at answering this question. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. However, I will say that should she be able to still have sex with a urinary tract infection, never pressure her to have sex if she isn’t comfortable. Erin says …

Couple walking with arms around each other

A urinary tract infection, or a UTI, occurs when bacteria (usually E. coli) get into the body through the urethra, moving up into the bladder (and possibly on to the kidneys) and causing an infection and inflammation. A woman is much more likely than her male partner to get a UTI because women have shorter urethras and the bacteria can travel to their bladders faster. These infections are common among women; approximately 1 in 5 women will have a UTI in her lifetime. Sometimes women who have recently begun having sex or having more frequent sex can develop a UTI because intercourse can push bacteria into the urethra and bladder.

Symptoms of a UTI include painful urination, a burning sensation during urination, and feeling like you need to urinate but not being able to go. Feeling tired, having a fever, and feeling pain in the back and abdomen can also happen with a UTI, so having sex while your girlfriend has one may be unpleasant, uncomfortable, or painful for her. While the infection is not contagious, it is better to wait to start having sex again after the infection has been treated. A UTI is easily treated with a full round of antibiotics, and the infection should be cleared up in a few days.

There are several ways to prevent another UTI after you and your partner start having sex again. It is important to keep your hands and the tip of your penis clean (especially if you are uncircumcised). It is also very important for your girlfriend to drink plenty of fluids and not hold her urine for long periods of time. Women should urinate before and after having sex to expel any bacteria from the urethra in order to prevent a bladder infection.

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National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2005). “Urinary Tract Infections in Adults.” Retrieved from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/#treatment.

Rhodes, Monica. (2009). “Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults.” Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/urinary-tract-infections-in-teens-and-adults-topic-overview.

4 thoughts on “Overheard On Campus: Can my girlfriend still have sex if she has a urinary tract infection?

  1. I would agree that it’s insensitive. Seriously, you can’t wait a couple days for her infection to clear up before you start pressuring her? Besides, like the article mentioned, it’s likely that intercourse is what caused the infection in the first place.

    Make sure she goes to the bathroom right after sex. that will help a lot.

  2. I also suffered from the infection too about weeks ago and it happened that I felt better and started to have sex again,it was good at first round but coming to second one I wasn’t in the mood and did for my partner. After that second round after sex i felt itchy irritation in my vagina, this itching pain its been going for like 7 days now after sex. Till that incident I want nothing to do with sex and my partner he’s not happy about it. I don’t know what’s happening

  3. gosh some people are harsh! who says she isn’t the one wanting to have sex and doesn’t want to wait… yes it’s smart to wait.. will ensure the bacteria has fully cleared up and will not spread it’s self and start all over again!

    • I agree cause my girlfriend want to have the sex and I asked her to wait, and ask her doc how long can we wait. It sucks but I feel its the right thing.

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