A bladder infection is an ailment that is quite common. Especially in people who are sexually active and in the elderly. Improper hygiene during sex can be a cause. That’s why it’s good to know how to catch a bladder infection, how to prevent it and what to do if you have it.
Read all about cystitis and sex here.
What is a bladder infection and how to know if you have it?
In cystitis (bladder infection), the mucous membrane of the bladder is inflamed by bacteria. Often bacteria that live in the intestine have entered the bladder through the urethra. These E-coli bacteria cause the inflammation. A bladder infection is not contagious.
You notice that you have a bladder infection when you experience a burning sensation or pain when urinating. Especially in women, it can arise from sex. In women, the cystitis usually goes away on its own. Men can also get a bladder infection. In men, treatment with antibiotics is necessary.
How can you get a bladder infection from sex?
Wait a minute. So you get a bladder infection because intestinal bacteria get into the urethra? What does that have to do with sex?
The distance between the urethra and the anus is very small in women. As a result, a wrong wiping motion can cause bacteria to enter the urethra. If during sex you wipe with a finger, tongue, or with the penis (accidentally) along the anus and then along the urethra, you run the risk of unintentionally moving bacteria. Also, if you have anal sex and then vaginal sex, you are at risk.
So if you are sexually (very) active you are at risk. But also if there are fewer ‘good’ bacteria in the vagina that can fight the ‘bad’ bacteria. This happens when you get older, after menopause, or when you use medication or have reduced resistance.
You can prevent a bladder infection from sexual activity by urinating before and after sex. By doing so, you are flushing the urethra, so to speak. Be careful not to penetrate the vagina with fingers, the penis or sex toys after they have been in or near the anus. Put on clean underwear after sex. Do not wash with soap (soap also kills the good bacteria). Wipe from front to back. Clean the penis after anal sex, or change condoms.
And if I have a bladder infection, can I still have sex?
A bladder infection can be quite painful, so it is quite possible that you do not feel like sex at all. But if you still want to have sex, nothing or no one will stop you. A bladder infection is not contagious and sex will not make things worse.
A bladder infection usually passes within a week. Drink a lot. Go pee often (don’t hold it up) and empty your bladder completely. For pain, you can take a painkiller, such as paracetamol. There are also some studies that show cranberry juice helps. If it doesn’t go away, or if you get a fever, see your doctor immediately.