UTIs, sex and alcohol
October 17, 2008 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Questions about drinking and sexing before a UTI is completely treated.

20-something female, ended up with a raging UTI after a fun weekend with the boyfriend. Went to the doctor first thing Wednesday morning (the UTI showed up Tuesday night) and had ciprofloxacin prescribed, which has worked wonders. Have also been taking a powerful probiotic to counteract the dreaded GI/diarrhea side effect, and that has worked amazingly well too.

I'm taking 2 500mg doses of cipro per day. Started Wednesday and will be finished Tuesday. My doctor told me that if my symptoms cleared up, I could finish the course of medication on the 5th day (Sunday) instead of the 7th and final day (Tuesday). I'm already feeling pretty spiffy, but don't plan to stop the meds early; I want to be sure I knock this sucker out.

I am, however, curious about two things.

1. Is it safe to drink a little this weekend? I've heard mixed perspectives on mixing alcohol and antibiotics. Are there dangerous side effects that could occur, or is it cautioned against because the drug will be flushed out of my system sooner if I drink alcohol? I've already been peeing a helluva lot with all the extra water I've been drinking, so I imagine that's been flushing out the drug somewhat, too. Is it safe to have one beer? It'd be on the 4th day of my meds.

2. I've also heard mixed opinions about having sex while recovering from a UTI. I've heard everything from "It's totally safe; just pee afterward" (from my doctor) to "Abstain for 2 whole weeks AFTER your symptoms disappear." I don't get to see my boyfriend very often, so we're always eager for sexy time. Is it okay to romp around before my meds are finished? If not, is it just penetration that's a no-no or is everything (oral, touching) off-limits? I imagine that if penetration isn't okay then nothing is, but it'd be nice to know exactly what our options are.

It wouldn't be difficult for me to abstain from alcohol and sex if absolutely necessary, but naturally it'd be great I could have a little fun this weekend. I'm NOT looking for answers that say "why risk it?" -- if that were the case, I'd abstain without bothering to ask my question. I'd actually like to arm myself with knowledge. Thanks for any info you can offer.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)

Alcohol is a bladder irritant, so you'll likely want to stay away from that while you're healing, irrespective of the antibiotics. My doctor tells me to give it two weeks of no alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and spicy food every time I get a UTI in order to give my system a chance to recover.
posted by decathecting at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2008

Ciprofloxacin is not one of the antibiotics usually associated with alcohol side effects (known as disulfiram-like effects). Personally, I would have a drink or two if I wanted, but not more. Still, mixing alcohol and antibiotics is never advisable.
posted by Brennus at 8:17 AM on October 17, 2008

One drink wouldn't be the end of the world, but keep in mind that Cipro is incredibly dehydrating. Be cautious.

As far as sex goes, when I had a UTI my doc said it was whenever i felt up to it. Just be sure to urinate both before and after.
posted by susanvance at 8:19 AM on October 17, 2008

If you are on birth control, remember that its effects are limited by both antibiotics and diarrhea, so you'd be wise to use some back-up as well.
posted by rossination at 8:36 AM on October 17, 2008

Been there, done both the drinking and the sexy-time, and lived to tell about it on the Internet. Pee, and don't drink too much.
posted by coppermoss at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2008

Clean parts first, use ample lube so you don't stress, irritate or tear the urethral area, and pee and rinse afterward. I highly doubt you'll see a recurrence caused just from any kind og sexual contact. Now might be the time to start being faithful about getting all your vitamins, getting regular sleep and drinking all your water. Being in good health is your first defense.

Worrying about abstaining from penetration is something for you to do later on, if you find you have the curse of the stubborn, recurring UTI. You do not, now.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2008

I've had many a UTI and I've had sex as soon as the *symptoms* disappeared and it's been fine, so long as I pee afterward (which I always do - I'm especially UTI prone).
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2008

Ditto, grapefruitmoon....just make sure you have your boyfriend pee, too, so he doesn't get an infection. My boyfriend was not a happy camper when he contracted one.
posted by messylissa at 1:49 PM on October 17, 2008

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