Bladder infections, which are a type of UTI (urinary tract infection), are very common in women. Some women are more prone than others; unfortunately, getting one puts you at a greater risk of having more in the future – and so does sex.
It’s important to know what causes bladder infections, how to prevent them, and how to treat them. Scroll down for our tips on how to prevent bladder infections from sex.
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What triggers a bladder infection?
A bladder infection is caused when bacteria goes up your urethra into your bladder, which then becomes infected. The infection can also travel up your ureter to your kidneys, known as an upper-urinary tract infection. This can be serious, so it’s important to get a bladder infection checked out, and not to leave it. The most common cause of bladder infections is sex, as sex involves a lot of movement and micro-abrasions, and can introduce bacteria.
You may get bladder infections from sex when you get a lot of action, in a short period of time, which doctors refer to as ‘honeymoon cystitis’ – especially if you don’t usually have sex often. Studies reveal that some women who suffer from frequent infections have a genetic predisposition, while pregnancy can also be a trigger due to hormonal surges, and changes in anatomy that make it easier for bacteria to gain access.
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Tips to follow if your bladder is prone to infection
Always pee after sex and, if you can, also pee before sex. Urinating within 30 minutes afterwards will usually flush out any bacteria that has crept in during sex. If you want to, also rinse yourself underneath a shower with warm water after sex. Never put soap inside your vagina though as it alters the pH, which could lead to other problems, like thrush.
Men can also develop bladder infections from sex, so they should always thoroughly clean their genitals before and after sex. Wearing a condom can also help reduce a man’s risk of getting a UTI from sex.
Make sure there’s enough lubrication in the vaginal area to prevent irritation. Any water-based lubricant will help, or you can ask your doctor about prescribing an estrogen cream. This cream helps to replenish vaginal lubrication and relieve irritation.
Remedies for when you already have a bladder infection
Not drinking enough water can prevent your medication from getting where it needs to go, as antibiotics need good penetration into the kidneys and bladder. Drinking a lot of water will help deliver the antibiotics to the urinary tract. It also flushes the kidneys and bladder, plus, it prevents dehydration and kidney stones.
Doctors recommend avoiding foods and drinks that are known to irritate the bladder, including coffee, alcohol, caffeinated sodas, acidic fruits, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners.
Stock up on your vitamin C and good old Citro-Soda. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system so that your body can fight the infection, and Citro-Soda helps relieve the symptoms of a variety of acid-related problems, including a bladder infection.
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It’s also recommended to avoid having sex until the infection has cleared, as this could possibly lead to more bacteria being pushed into the vagina, causing a new infection. Having sex during a bladder infection can be painful, and sex should never be painful. Rather wait it out until the antibiotics have worked their magic.