Do you take antibiotics after sex to prevent UTIs?

February 27, 2018 Kaitlyn Matousek

Antibiotics for UTI prevention

Prophylactic antibiotics after sex

When does it make sense to take antibiotics as a preventive measure, if ever?

What does it mean to take antibiotics prophylactically?

A Prophylactic can be defined as a preventive measure. The word originates from the Greek word for "an advance guard.” Think back to your mom slathering you with sunscreen when you were a kid. Sunscreen is a prophylactic because it prevents you from being burned. An antibiotic is a substance used to fight off bacteria and infection. That means prophylactic antibiotics are antibiotics given to patients before they are sick to prevent them from getting sick. Prophylactic antibiotics are most commonly used before surgery to prevent surgical site infections, but as Urinary tract infections become more common,  physicians have turned to long-term prophylactic antibiotics as a way to prevent recurring UTIs.   

Why are prophylactics used to prevent UTIs?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common serious bacterial infection and are unfortunately very common. Out of every woman who gets a UTI, one in five women will suffer from repeat infections. While Prophylactics antibiotics can be effective at preventing UTIs, the more they are used, the less effective and more dangerous they become.

Taking antibiotics for prevention can have negative health consequences

Cipro (AKA ciprofloxacin) is an example of a prophylactic antibiotic used to treat UTIs. A study done by the University of Patras School of Medicine in Greece tested the effectiveness of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin used as a prophylaxis to treat recurrent UTIs. 125 mg of ciprofloxacin was given to each woman with a history of recurrent UTIs every day for a year and then the women were monitored to see how many UTIs they contracted. The results showed that the antibiotic is effective in preventing UTIs. Where the woman on average contracted an average of 3.7 UTIs a year before the treatment a vast majority of the women didn’t contract any during the year with the treatment.

While Cipro may be an effective prophylactic antibiotic it is not perfect. Many negative health effects can come with the regular use of this antibiotic. Negative effects of Cipro can range from short-term discomfort to permanent severe damage and varies person to person. The most common negative effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but has also been known to lead to serious long-term effects of stroke and nerve damage.  

Not only does repeat antibiotic use put your health at risk it can also lead to the creation of superbugs that are completely resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance increases as we use more antibiotics

A recent study shows that “urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to multidrug-resistant= Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) strains are increasing worldwide and have become a major public health problem.”

Klebsiella a bacteria and common culprit of UTIs and is becoming resistant to common antibiotics doctors prescribe UTIs. As a result, it is more and more common to find individuals who are infected with bacteria resistant to almost all currently available antibiotics.

How do bacteria become resistant in the first place?

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that reproduce very quickly. Based on natural selection, only the best bacteria will survive and pass on their genes to their offspring bacteria. That means the bacteria that survive are the ones that are more resistant to antibiotics.

The more liberally we use antibiotics, the quicker the cycle of antibiotic resistance happens.

You have options for UTI prevention without daily antibiotics

Inevitably bacteria will find ways of resisting antibiotics developed by humans, but a significant way to slow down the process of resistance is to not take antibiotics when it isn’t absolutely necessary.

If you suffer from recurring UTIs, there are other effective strategies to prevent recurring UTIs not associated with prophylactic antibiotics. After any strenuous sweaty workout, sex or any other activity common to cause UTIs, take precautions to avoid UTIs. Simple things like clean, loose underwear, urinating after sex and drinking Uqora regularly can make all the difference in fighting off recurring UTIs. Get more tips on UTI prevention here.



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