Skip

Cunnilingus and UTI: must it be so?
July 21, 2007 6:51 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend gets an UTI after almost every time I go down on her. Help us save our sex lives!

Me and my girl have a great relationship. We are quite comfortable with each other in bed, but a problem has come up: we found out that if I go down on her, with VERY high likelyhood, she develops an UTI.

Stimulating her orally has done wonders for our sex lives -- she loves it, I love it, and it is a great way to get things going. We noticed, however, that she would get UTIs strangely frequently after I started going down on her. She had never had someone go down on her before, so it was a little while before she was comfortable with me doing it, and she enjoys it immensely. It wasn't long before we noticed that oral sex seemed to be the cause of the UTIs, though.

We've have tried everything: brushing our teeth before sex, using mouthwash as well, staying away from the clit and the urethra during oral sex, washing ourselves immediately before and after. The post-oral UTI eventually comes back. We have also followed the standard suggestions too: urinating after intercourse, drinking cranberry juice. But this has had little to no positive impact.

We are clean people. We don't do anal, so I am sure this is not caused by possible bacteria from the anus. There is a very clear correlation between me going down on her and the onset of UTI.

It seems like we invariable find ourselves in the emergency room over a weekend, because for whatever reason that is when the UTI symptoms come up. It causes her incredible discomfort, and I hate to be the cause of it. I love this girl to death, and I want to be able to please her, make her comfortable, and not make her tremble at the thought of horrible pain and discomfort in the days following sex with me. It feels like this is having a serious impact in our sex lives, and I am afraid this will lead to problems in our relationship.

What could be the cause of all this? Is there something I can do to reduce the chances of giving her an UTI to next to nil? If it must be like this, is there anything that comes close to cunnilingus as far as intimacy and pleasure?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You could just use a dental dam. That would keep a barrier between her delicate bits and your mouth, but stil allow you to nibble her nethers.

I'd also suggest having a chat with her gyno to see if there's a way of working out if the bacteria in your mouth is contributing. No matter how clean you are, there is going to be microfauna in your mouth and that may be at the root of the problem.
posted by Jilder at 7:18 AM on July 21, 2007


Is it a UTI, or a yeast infection? If it's a UTI, that's... really weird. Have you tried using a dental dam?

Also, if you have intercourse right after, it could be that your saliva dries up her girly parts, then the chafing from intercourse brings out the UTI.

Anyway, she needs to get herself to a doctor. Frequent UTIs are not something that's normal, regardless of cause.
posted by Verdandi at 7:20 AM on July 21, 2007


All I have to say is how the hell do you "stay away from the clit" and still please her? This is one of the pleasure points for females.
posted by cleo at 7:23 AM on July 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Try it with a dental dam (or if you don't have one of those, some saran wrap) to rule out the possibility of bacterial contamination.

It seems like we invariable find ourselves in the emergency room over a weekend

Is there anything else she does only at the weekend, that could cause it? A hot bath with a certain bath foam, or something?
posted by Rabulah at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2007


When she gets the UTI and gets the antibiotics for the UTI, does she take the full course of medication? Some people stop after they feel better and don't finish the last several pills and that is a very bad idea.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 7:45 AM on July 21, 2007


If you cannot find a way to prevent it after consulting her doctor about what you suspect is the cause, consider asking the doc about prescribing a small dose of antibiotics (e.g., 50 mg of nitrofurantoin) for your gf to take after you go down on her. Medication has side effects. I am not a doctor, I am not your doctor, she should definitely talk to her doctor. Good luck, you sound like a sweet couple. :)
posted by juliplease at 7:48 AM on July 21, 2007


Seconding the 'prophylactic' antibiotics.

And a supply of Pyridium on hand just in case that fails; UTIs don't have to be weekend ER visits. Actually, if they're that bad, have her ask her doctor about 'Pyridium Plus' (now with butabarbital! Heavy stuff, but works a charm). But the prophylactic antibiotic bit should work wonders.
posted by kmennie at 8:08 AM on July 21, 2007


I used to have this exact problem. Made me miserable. It was really frustrating and depressing and always added an element of fear about the consequences I might face after an adventure. I had so many UTIs and ER visits...and I would always be prescribed antibiotics. Doctors/urologists were prescribing "preventative" antibiotics...take one right after sex, etc. And I was becoming resistant to different kinds. This went on for YEARS.

It was such a vicious cycle...before I would feel sick all the time...this was because antibiotics were wiping out both the bad and GOOD bacteria in my system. My body was constantly fighting to produce and adjust the balance. This affects EVERYTHING...digestion, skin, yeast levels, allergies, immunities, and on.

And then I took a look at the whole picture and found that I wasn't actually as healthy as I thought I was. There were lots of other things my body was trying to tell me. I did a LOT of research on antibiotics, allergies, bacteria, yeasts, and natural solutions (including probiotics and prebiotics).

I decided to stop taking antibiotics completely. And to do "the Master Cleanse" fast, and to radically change my diet, and to break the antibiotics cycle...and to never ever take a single antibiotic pill ever again (if I can possibly help it). I also now take probiotics daily (in refrigerated pill form), and include lots of prebiotic foods in my diet (prebiotic foods are the stuff that the healthy/good bacteria like to eat). Oh, and I started to take much better care of my teeth/mouth (I was doing ok before, but now I'm extreme with it) because that's where the bad bacteria starts entering your body and causing a ruckus.

This has changed my life completely. Have not had a single UTI since (and like you, I used to get them EVERY time he would go down on me).

I would seriously recommend trying natural remedies. The medical grade whoopass is freaking your body out and killing all the good guys, as well as the bad ones.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:42 AM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I did the preventative antibiotics for a little while - I got UTIs every time I had sex for about eight weeks before making an appointment and asking if there was anything I could do. I was prescribed low-dose nitrofurantoin to take half an hour before having sex; she told me to do it for a month and then try sex without it. While it kind of didn't do wonders for our spontaneity, at the end of the month I stopped taking the antibiotics and I haven't gotten another UTI since.

I was so thankful I gave it a shot.
posted by crinklebat at 10:26 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


See a dentist. You might have a gum infection that might eventually make you lose teeth.
posted by davy at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2007


Make sure she is not using antibacterial soap when washing up, it will actually do more harm than good. A mild soap like Ivory is much better. In fact, I almost wonder if there's too much washing up going on down there. Soaps and shower gels are very common causes of UTIs because they kill off the good bacteria that are her natural defenses against the bad bacteria.

Oh and "If it must be like this, is there anything that comes close to cunnilingus as far as intimacy and pleasure?"

Try using your hands and fingers instead. When done right, it's damn near mind-blowing.
posted by platinum at 11:36 AM on July 21, 2007


Again, re: correlation is not causality...you haven't mentioned, but you may want to look at what else you/she is using in the bedroom. Try switching lubes/condoms/whatever else (or try using them if you aren't, etc). Hell, try switching toothpaste. The body can react to anything, even if it seems unlikely, so if you're thinking "nah, it can't be that..." try it anyway.

Also, make sure that when she does get UTIs, the doctors are running a culture (to make sure it is a UTI and not another problem...family doctors in Ontario usually do this, but it's covered by the government, so I'm not sure how standard it is elsewhere) and a sensitivities test (as above). What kind of bacteria it is will make a huge difference, as she might be getting the wrong antibiotics for it, and it also might tell you where it's coming from. E. coli is a not-uncommon source. (IANAD, but I do work for one...)
posted by sarahkeebs at 11:52 AM on July 21, 2007


Follow-up from the OP

cleo: Look, I am just following orders, alright? I am pretty sure she
knows what she likes, and if she can do without it and still feel
pleasure, that is good enough for me. I imagine that there is more to
the whole sexual pleasure business than the "push the one button"
approach.

Rabulah: the fact we end up in the ER on weekends is just a very
inconvenient coincidence. Duet to our schedules, more often than not
we get to see each other only at the end of the week, and invariably
by the time the symptoms make themselves noticeble, it is the weekend
or late at night, and the discomfort is such that she cannot wait.
There has been no occurence of UTI with her that has not followed sex
with me :(

mustcatchmooseandsquirrel: she always takes the full course of
antibiotics, and the UTI always goes away, only to come back next
time. Our schedules can be kinda hectic, and since we don't get to
see each other as often as we'd like, usually after the UTI there will
be a few days where we can be sure it is gone before we even get to
see each other again.

juliplease & kmennie: the idea of preventive antibiotics seems
somewhat troubling to me, especially if it will be something to be
taken with such frequency -- antibiotic resistence is not something I
would like to encourage in this forever returning UTI. But I am not
doctor, so I will bring up the possibility to one and see what they
say.

iamkimiam: could you give pointers to natural remedies? (I assume you
mean a change of diet) also what do you mean by taking better care of
your teeth/mouth? Just regular and consistent use of
toothbrush/mouthwash? I agree with the idea of avoiding antibiotics
if ever possible, so any change in diet that would help that would be
great, as long as it comes from sound medical sources.

crinklebat: that sounds extremely interesting. I will bring it up
with a doctor. I wonder if there is anything *I* should take, to
maybe kill off some quasi-harmless bacteria I have in my body that
just happens to cause havoc in my gf's urinary track ...

Thanks for all the helpfull comments!

And if your prefer to e-mail me directly, my throw away anonymous account is

this is me anonymous at gmail dot com

[also, from jessamyn, I can't mark favorites but the OP says "if it is possible for you to "check" criklebat's and iamkimiam's replies as "answers" to my question, I'd greatly appreciate it."]
posted by jessamyn at 1:19 PM on July 21, 2007


is there anything that comes close to cunnilingus as far as intimacy and pleasure?
As someone said, hands and fingers, with a little lubrication seems to work well with practice.
posted by edgeways at 1:36 PM on July 21, 2007


could you give pointers to natural remedies? (I assume you mean a change of diet

A friend who gets UTIs regularly reports that cutting down on concentrated sources of sugar (candy bars, chocolate, cookies, desserts, whatever) helps tremendously.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:05 PM on July 21, 2007


IANAD
If the lady is not having this reaction to contact with fingers and dangly bits and other body parts, then it would seem the commonality here is your saliva. So I'd be tempted to find out what's growing in your mouth and if that is part of the problem.
In the short term, my lesbian friends like saranwrap, and it may turn out to be an OK enough idea to use for long term as well, at least while you work on the problem.
Many ladies who have had repetitive UTIs get some scar tissue and it makes it difficult to void the bladder completely. Residual urine is a great culture medium, kept at the optimum incubating temperature. It's an easy thing to push a couple of extra times after the stream stops and see if there's more urine in there and get rid of it. The women I know who do this routinely never seem to get UTIs.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:44 PM on July 21, 2007


I know folks who have had some luck with D-mannose preventing and treating recurring UTIs. Google it and you'll find a ton of information.
posted by jennyjenny at 5:25 PM on July 21, 2007


Frequent UTIs are normal for many couples, that doesn't mean it is acceptable. It can lead to long term problems..

I say couples, because even though it is her that gets them, it has more to do with him than he likes to think.

Not doing anal, and being clean people, may be missing the point.. I've heard it said that anywhere between the top of the knees and the bellybutton is a high bacteria zone.

Take a break from the oral, to make absolutely certain that the correlation is real.
Well, you still won't be certain.. But, if you don't take a break to see, you are just guessing.

Here are some previous AskMes on the topic: Finding a natural treatment for urinary infections; Allergic to another person physically/sexually? Does this really exist?; Help with recurrent UTIs?; antibiotic dangers (this last one is probably not interesting..).

Here is what looks to be a very good article on the problem - Bladder Infections, How to Find Relief. One interesting passage:
Problems with Doctors

Unfortunately, many women receive unsympathetic—or even hostile—reactions when asking their physicians for advice on how to treat urinary complaints, because some medical "experts" assume incorrectly that all UTI is sex-related . . . while others consider the patient's problem psychogenic. This is complicated by the fact that, in many cases, bacterial counts in the woman's urine specimen aren't high enough to be considered—by some standards—symptomatic of a bladder infection.

Then again, recent studies have indicated that recurrent UTI is often caused not by E. coli , but by Chlamydia, a micro-organism that doesn't even grow in urine cultures (and therefore can't be detected by standard UTI tests). Physicians who are unaware of the Chlamydia- cystitis link—and surprisingly, quite a few are—may believe the negative test instead of the woman and give her tranquilizers for her "imagined" symptoms. Therefore, if you know you have a bladder infection, don't accept a prescription for Valium. Instead, inquire whether your urine specimen contained white blood cells (which, of course, would indicate an infection) and suggest that Chlamydia might be the cause. The proper medication for such cases would be tetracycline or erythromycin.
posted by Chuckles at 7:23 PM on July 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I read on a list of home remedies that drinking Alka Seltzer (the regular stuff for an upset stomach, not the cold medicine) helps stave off a UTI before it gets serious. I didn't believe it, but then I moved to the UK, where the first line of treatment for UTIs (known as cystisis over here) is a sodium citrate powder mixed in water. Apparently it acts by making the urine less acidic. Since alka seltzer is cheaper, and tastes less vile than the cystisis remedies, I go with alka seltzer, and it works great.

So perhaps before going to the preemptive antibiotic, try the preemptive alka seltzer each time you have oral sex, and see if that helps.
posted by happyturtle at 10:27 AM on July 22, 2007


Since no one has explicitly said it, she needs to be urinating after sex. Bacteria is getting pushed into the urethra, and that's the way to get it out. She should be staying hydrated and drinking water beforehand so that can happen.

I have had this problem myself, and I am also one of those people that is concerned about antibiotic resistances. There have been several times I have been given antibiotics (for colds) by doctors and did not fill the prescription because it seemed unnecessary to me. I do not even buy anti-bacterial soap for my home. I get where you're coming from.

However, it is truly miserable to deal with the kind of 'urgency' and pain that comes from recurrent UTI's. I did the same thing she is for a while, getting antibiotics and treating each one. But if this keeps happening, she could end up with a kidney infection, which I can tell you is many times more miserable and potentially harmful than a bladder infection. Other problems can come from recurrent UTI's as well, which have already been mentioned. This is a more serious health problem than it is a sex problem.

The fact that this is happening repeatedly is reason enough for her to see a doctor (a urologist is best, and she can get a referral to one from a GP or OB/GYN if needed if she tells them how many UTI's she has had in the previous year; there are standards in place for what is normal there).

As my urologist explained it, recurrent UTI's can bring about a situation in which standard treatment simply does not end the infection on its own anymore. It's as if a low-grade infection is always present in the lining of the bladder, and all you have to do is irritate the bladder during sex to cause another full-blown UTI. Different treatment is required to return the urinary system to a healthy state.

Please do not discount prophylactic antibiotics, or whatever treatment the doctor recommends. I was given a three month course of daily antibiotics when this happened to me, and even though I thought the doctor must be crazy at the time, I haven't had a single UTI since.

Also, I second what platinum said.
posted by zebra3 at 8:13 AM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Find a good urologist. Here is what mine told me:

Recurrent UTIs cause inflammation to build up in the urethra / vagina. This inflammation makes you more susceptible to infection, and the only way to break the cycle of recurrent UTIs is to decrease this inflammation (ie, not get another UTI).

I was very reluctant to try the prophylactic antibiotic route (I was already allergic to two antibiotics), but after talking to the urologist I decided to try it. I take a pill right after I have sex, and I haven't had a UTI since I started.

The trick though is to also eat lots of yogurt and drink cranberry juice. The yogurt gives you good bacteria and the juice has a compound that keeps bacteria from sticking to your bladder. It also acidifies your urine to prevent bacterial growth. My urologist (he's awesome) was a big advocate of natural remedies in addition to the standard medical ones. The combination seems to be working great for me (and my husband!).

Best of luck to you and your girlfriend.
posted by jenne at 8:36 AM on July 23, 2007


You guys should really go see a doctor together. When me and my boyfriend have a problem we go to the doctors together. this helps me calm, realaxed and I have the assurance that he will be there for me. It just feels nice to go through it with someone eles. I also have UTI often and we are clean too.. some women just have it more often than others. DO not let her take antibiotics because when she has other serious problems, the antibiotic will become immune to the body and will not work as well when you really need it. Cranberry juice does not work well. I drink at least 10 bottles of water a day and urinate constantly. She just to let the infection out of her system and in order to do that water is the best.
posted by ahreumee at 2:58 AM on August 5, 2007


« Older I'm compiling a few questions ...   |  Best (indoor) grade school gam... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post