For many women, sex can pose a risk of UTIs. Read on to learn more on the link between sex and cystitis, and how to get treatment during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cystitis is a term used to refer to inflammation within the bladder which, in most cases, is caused by a bacterial infection. While the symptoms are typically limited to a painful, burning sensation when urinating — and an increased urge to urinate — it can also cause discomfort in the low abdomen and pelvic area, aches throughout the body, and fatigue.
Both women and men can contract a urinary tract infection, but women’s urethras are significantly shorter than men’s, and they are also positioned in closer proximity to the bacteria that live around the anus. All this means is that the vast majority of cystitis cases are experienced by women and, although they can be experienced at any age, being sexually active can significantly increase the risk.
Read more about the connection between increased sexual activity and cystitis — and how to find the right cystitis treatments online during the current COVID-19 crisis — below.
Why Does Sex Cause Cystitis?
While cystitis has many potential causes, and some women are naturally far more prone to experiencing it than others, there is a significant causal link between sexual activity and urinary tract infections.
During vaginal sex, bacteria can get pushed into the urethra. While this bacteria is quite harmless when present on the skin, it can cause inflammation and discomfort within the urinary tract, leading to pain and the frequent need to urinate.
Furthermore, frequent sexual activity can cause bruising and irritation to the urethra, making it more susceptible to infection — particularly if the vaginal opening is not sufficiently lubricated.
It is important to remember that cystitis is not a sexually transmitted infection, despite the fact that sexual activity can increase your chances of developing the condition. You cannot pass on the condition but should consider abstaining from sex until the infection has passed.
How Can You Avoid UTIs After Sex?
Since sex can introduce unwanted bacteria into the urethra, the best way to ensure that you are minimising your risk of developing an infection is to urinate as soon after sex as possible. This will help to flush the bacteria back out of the urethra before it can cause a problem for you. Do not use douches or sprays in an attempt to ‘clean’ the vagina, as this will eliminate the good bacteria found in there, which will increase your risk of suffering from an infection.
Take a bath or shower before engaging in any sexual activities in order to make sure that the area is as clean as possible; use an unfragranced, pH balanced soap on the vulva and, before sex, apply a good, water-based lubricant if dryness is an issue as this will minimise friction.
Furthermore, be sure to remain well hydrated after sex, as this can also help to keep the bad bacteria from spreading further up the urinary tract and developing an infection.
Can Men Get Cystitis?
While the vast majority of cases are attributed to women, it is possible for men to experience cystitis. Typically, however, it is much more serious, as it can suggest a separate, underlying health condition such as an obstruction or an infection within the prostate.
Men suffering from cystitis should speak with their GP in order to find the right treatment.
COVID-19 and Cystitis Treatments Online
Since the 24th March 2020, a nationwide lockdown has been enforced in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As many of us face significantly more time at home, this is leading to increased sexual activity across Britain. Unfortunately, this means that many women — particularly those who are more susceptible to urinary tract infections — are at an increased risk of suffering from cystitis.
As the NHS is put under strain with the rise in cases requiring hospitalisation, our usual access to medical care for non-emergency conditions is significantly limited. Understanding how to find the right cystitis treatments online will help you to remain safe within your home, while ensuring that your urinary tract infection is treated quickly and effectively.
Both Nitrofurantoin and Trimethoprim are available as cystitis treatments online. Since cystitis is caused by bacteria entering into the urinary tract, these antibiotics are very effective at helping the body to fight off the infection and prevent further discomfort.
If left untreated, a urinary tract infection can spread to the kidneys; this becomes far more likely during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you should consult your GP on the appropriate course of treatment.