While sex doesn’t directly cause UTIs, it’s an easy way for bacteria to be introduced to your urinary tract. Your doctor may suggest taking antibiotics after sex as a preventative measure against an infection, and you should know how antibiotics influence your odds of getting a UTI and what it means for your health.
UTIs are caused when bacteria infiltrate the urethra which is connected to your bladder. Because a woman’s urethra is close to their genital area, it’s easy for bacteria to reach the urethra during sex and result in an infection.
This is also why women are more prone to contracting a UTI after sex than men; a shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Sex, combined with this anatomical difference, increases the risk of developing a UTI.
Your doctor may recommend taking prophylactic antibiotics after sex because they’re a proven to be effective in treating UTIs, and that same logic can apply for prevention.
It’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of taking medicine to prevent UTIs. Your body can build a resistance to antibiotics, making medication ineffective for treating the infection should it reoccur, and also potentially complicating your treatment options in the future.
While taking antibiotics regularly for prevention can help with recurring UTIs, it can also be a slippery slope. Antibiotics often wipe out all of the bacteria in your body, good and bad, which means that other infections, like yeast infections, can thrive in the way of a cycle of antibiotics or regular usage. For more information on the potential risks of taking antibiotics after sex, read our other article on prophylactic antibiotics after sex here.
Regardless of whether or not you’re taking antibiotics after sex to prevent a UTI, there are other ways you can reduce the risk of an infection, including:
Even if you're doing everything right after sex, some people are just more susceptible to UTIs. That's why we've developed Uqora—we have you covered.