SOMETIMES the memory of a steamy sex session is tainted by the arrival of a woman’s worst enemy – a UTI.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) can happen to anyone of any age or gender, but they are notorious for striking women after a night between the sheets.
GettySome women are plagued by UTIs that are triggered by sex[/caption]
That’s because bacteria that live in the genital area may enter the urethra – which has a small opening near the vagina – during the throes of sex.
The bacteria travels to the bladder and causes an infection, which leads to symptoms of pain with urination and a constant “need to go” feeling.
There are some tips women can follow to try and avoid a UTI creeping up on them post-sex.
Going for a wee straight after intercourse is usually recommended to instantly flush out any bacteria hanging around.
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But experts suggest many women are unaware that their favourite sex position could be the problem.
Sex expert Ruby Rare said: “The general rule is that positions with greater friction between bodies equals a higher chance of UTIs.
“While the act of grinding up against your partner can be incredibly pleasurable, it’s the grinding movement that can spread bacteria more easily.
“Sex is meant to be exciting and enjoyable. Even if these positions and activities can increase the chance of getting a UTI, you shouldn’t stop doing them, unless advised by your GP.”
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Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen is the Chief Medical Officer of TestCard – which offers at-home UTI testing for £15.
He said: “The urethra is located in between the clitoris and the vaginal opening.
“Based on proximity alone, the risk of sexual fluids and bacteria coming into contact with, and potentially infecting, the urethra is high.”
So which positions should we be aware of?
The worst sex positions for UTIs
The ever-reliable missionary position puts the women’s urethra and man’s penis close together.
This increases the bacteria travelling to the urethra, bladder or kidneys and thus risking an infection.
Try placing legs over the partner’s shoulders to help reduce the risks.
When a woman sits on top of a man, it brings the urethra into close proximity with the penis.
Friction is sky high here, thus helping bacteria to spread far more easily.
“A common misconception is that UTIs only occur through penis in vagina penetration,” Ruby said.
“Fingers can also easily transmit bacteria, especially when you think of how many germs your hands come into contact with on a daily basis.
“Before things get too hot and heavy, remember to wash your hands, in order to limit risks.”
Ruby said: “If we’re talking about the spread of bacteria, then we’ve got to talk about anal sex.
“Anything that’s been in and around the anus needs to be washed thoroughly before it makes its way to the vulva and vagina.
“To limit the transmission of bacteria, use a new condom. Latex gloves are also great if you’re using your hands.”
Best sex position for avoiding UTIs
Given the location of the urethra, doggy style is one of the positions least likely to result in a UTI.
Both the penis and friction moves further away from the urethra.
A warning on…
Dr Vallance-Owen said it’s not just sex with someone else that can trigger a UTI.
“While UTIs may occur after sex, it’s also possible that they may occur after masturbation or the use of sex toys, as these could help push bacteria towards the urethra,” he said.
“Your chances of your sex toys causing a UTI are low if they are cleaned properly each use.
“Avoid porous toys made from materials like PVC as they can gather bacteria even after cleaning them.
“However it’s worth remembering that over-cleaning can also cause problems, as harsh soaps and chemicals can kill off the good bacteria in the vagina, upsetting the balance of good and bad bacteria.”
Another consideration is to check your condoms.
In some cases, unlubricated and spermicide-treated condoms can increase your risk of contracting a UTI.
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Research suggests that spermicides can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and urinary tract.
When something disrupts your vaginal flora and causes an unhealthy ratio of good to bad bacteria, you could be more predisposed to contracting a UTI.
The symptoms of a UTI
- Needing to urinate more frequently and more urgently than usual
- A burning sensation or discomfort when you pee
- Pain in the abdomen, accompanied by a sickly and tired feeling
- Getting up to pee in the night
- Stronger smelling urine or a colour change appearing darker or cloudy like apple juice
- Vaginal irritation or discharge