Here’s what a quick trip to the loo really means for vaginal and bladder health.
By Amanda Khouv
There’s a good chance you’ve heard that you should always pee after sex to help protect against a urinary tract infection (UTI). But is that really necessary? And, what happens if you don’t immediately sprint to the loo to answer the post-coital call of nature? Here, GP Dr Sarah Brewer explains whether urinating after intercourse really impacts the health of your nether regions.
Yes, you need to pee after sex—if you’re a woman
During intercourse, bacteria may travel up the urethra, the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body. There, the bacteria can multiply and cause a type of UTI (yes, there’s more than one) called cystitis, which is an inflammation of the bladder.
“Cystitis is more common in women than men as the passage leading from the bladder to the outside world is much shorter in females than in males,” says Dr Brewer. That means the bacteria don’t have to travel as far to reach the bladder. Plus, in women, the urethra is located much closer to the bacteria-ridden anus than in males.
Urinating after sex flushes harmful bacteria away from your bladder
Going for a wee after sex can help to stop bacteria from ever reaching the bladder. “Urination flushes the urethra to help wash out any bacteria pushed up during sex,” Dr Brewer explains.
Some women are more prone to a UTI after sex
UTI symptoms can include a frequent urge to urinate, pee that’s dark or bloody, and a burning sensation when you go—but with antibiotics, they typically clear up in a couple days, and don’t come back. But some women are unlucky enough to suffer from recurrent UTIs, commonly caused by kidney stones, menopause, or a genetic disposition.